Stories of the White Terror review

Source: Taipei Times
Book review: Fictionalizing Taiwan’s White Terror
Political persecution is revealed as a violence that extends beyond physical abuse to a trauma that scars the soul
By James Baron / Contributing Reporter

Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror, edited by Ian Rowen.

Violence and oppression, we are told in the introduction to this collection of tales, are foundational to modern Taiwan, providing “a legacy that continues to influence its contemporary society.”

It is interesting, then, that an anthology subtitled “Stories about the White Terror,” offers few instances of physical violence, a notable exception being a neighborhood dust-up involving a gossip nicknamed Big Mouth Yang.

This incident, from Sung Tse-lai’s (宋澤萊) “Rice Diary,” is the first snapshot in a montage of quotidian happenings in the village of Daniunan (打牛湳), Yunlin County. The story forms part of a series focusing on life in this village in the 50s and 60s.

At first glance, the squabble is an insignificant personal grievance. Yet, this land rights wrangle points to something deeper. Acknowledging that he could simply divide the disputed property, Big Mouth’s assailant Ban-hok nonetheless concludes that “in this downturn, with so much craziness and thievery all around — well maybe he was thief, too.” Continue reading

Ca’ Foscari University position

Job Announcement: Chinese Ecolinguistics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice!

The Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University is hiring a researcher/assistant professor in ecolinguistics for a three years position (2022-2025). The research project to be carried out by the selected applicant is entitled Ecolinguistics for Green Transitions – China Focus. We are looking for applicants with expertise in Chinese linguistics, preferably with research experience in ecolinguistics and sociolinguistics. The researcher will collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of scholars and ARB Spa Sustainability Consulting in designing a toolkit to explore the role of language in shaping visions for sustainable futures.

Please find the link to the English-language version of the call below:…/download/concorsi/61669a9ba2889 The link for submitting online applications (look for “Online application form[ENG]”) can be found here:

The deadline for application is October 28!

Posted by: Beatrice Gallelli

Fragile Selves–cfp

The symposium Fragile Selves will be held on March 2nd-4th, 2022, and we have the honour to host Prof. Rey Chow, Prof. Dawn Chatty, and Prof. Victoria Philips as our keynote speakers. The symposium does not focus on the Chinese area per se, but it particularly welcomes researchers and young scholars from outside the scholarly tradition of Europe and North America.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the concept of fragility has entered our lives in a much more prominent way. Our social relations and daily habits have become fragmented, and our ‘normality’ now seems to be hanging in a suspended and uncertain temporality. We realized how porous the borders of our identities are, and our definition of the self has become fragile and unstable. However, the idea of fragility — and the broadly related concepts of vulnerability and care — have been part of academic discourses and debates long before the current pandemic. Fragility and the self have been discussed from political, philosophical, literary, social, artistic, and historical perspectives that engaged with these concepts from both theoretical and empirical approaches. This symposium aims to bridge how ‘fragility’ is described, conceptualised, and discussed in various contexts and fields and across different times and spaces.

Applicants are asked to submit their abstract (max 300 words) and a short bio (max 150 words) via e-mail to in .pdf format. The deadline for submission is on 30 November 2021.

Here is the direct link to the symposium page with all the relevant info:

Best regards,

Rossella Roncati |
PhD Candidate, Asian and Transcultural Studies
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice / Heidelberg University
Tel: +393490772285

The Battle at Lake Changjin

Source: Asia Times (10/11/21)
China’s winter warriors rout US Marines, UK’s MI6
Beijing’s macho nationalism bears fruit as epic Korean War movie sets course to be top global film of 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping, besieged by crises from China Evergrande to power outages, may take some comfort in recent news: A human wave of enthusiastic citizens is storming his nation’s cinemas.

The historical blockbuster Chinese are watching in record numbers is state-funded Korean War epic Battle at Lake Changjin. Its popularity suggests that Beijing’s drive to inculcate patriotism and machismo is bearing fruit.

Making the story even sweeter for Beijing mandarins, it is based on the true story of a torrid Chinese victory over America’s premier troops.

The December 1950 struggle around the high-altitude Lake Changjin – known in the West as Chosin Reservoir – was fought in one of the harshest battlescapes imaginable. Amid rugged mountain terrain, in sub-zero temperatures, an under-equipped Chinese Army Group forced a division of top-tier US Marines to retreat from North Korea.

And it is not just the US Marine Corps that has fallen to the film’s sword. It has also taken out Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6. Box office receipts for Battle at Lake Changjin outdid those for the massively anticipated but long-delayed new 007 film, No Time to Die. Continue reading

Indigenous Taiwan: Transpacific Connections speaker series

Indigenous Taiwan: Transpacific Connections
A virtual speaker series, October-November 2021
Hosted by the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China

Indigenous cultures make Taiwan and Canada unique. Taiwan has sixteen officially recognized tribes, and, like Canada, is engaged in ongoing public and community discussions about languages, land rights, self-determination, history, and reconciliation. How is indigenous life being represented and experienced by artists in Taiwan today? What commonalities of history, experience, or imagination might be found between Indigenous people of Taiwan and First Nations of Canada? This fall, join us for the first event of its kind in Canada: a series of conversations with writers and filmmakers who have been at the forefront of sharing Indigenous Taiwan with the world.

Guest speakers:

Writer: Badai
Lecture: Thursday October 14 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online)
Conversation: Friday, October 15 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Prof Chiu-Duke Josephine

Filmmaker: Wei Te-sheng
Conversation: Thursday October 21, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), TBA
Conversation: Friday, October 22, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Asst. Prof Aynur Kadir

Writer: Ahronglong Sakinu
TBA: Thursday October 28 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online)
Conversation: Friday October 29, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), TBA

Filmmaker: Laha Mebow
Lecture: Wednesday November 3,
Conversation: Thursday, November 4, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Asst. Prof Aynur Kadir

Register online to reserve your seat and for information on how to access readings and film screenings connected with each live event.

More info: Continue reading

Jia Zhangke and Liang Hong event

Event: Jia Zhangke + Liang Hong: A Conversation about Nonfiction and Documentary Film
Wellesley College and Harvard University co-present:

Walking toward the End of Reality
A Conversation with Liang Hong and Jia Zhangke on Nonfiction and Documentary Film

October 21, 9:00-11:00 p.m. EST
2021年10月22日上午9:00-11:00 (北京时间)
(October 22, 9:00-11:00 a.m. GMT+8)

Free Registration Link免费注册:


David Der-wei Wang 王德威 (Harvard)
Mingwei Song 宋明炜 (Wellesley)

Special Guests 特约嘉宾:

Michael Berry  白睿文 (UCLA)
Jie Li 李洁 (Harvard) Continue reading

The Chinese Atlantic book talk

Virtual Book Talk: The Chinese Atlantic
EASC New Book Series: Sinophone Studies
Sean Metzger and Lok Siu
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | 5:00PM – 6:30PM (PT) | REGISTER

We hope that you will join us for the next EASC New Book Series: Sinophone Studies event on October 20! This monthly series on Zoom will introduce recent publications about Sinophone studies to the USC community and the wider public. In this event, the series will highlight The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (Indiana University Press, 2020) with author Sean Metzger (Professor in the School of Theater, Film and Television, University of California, Los Angeles) and discussant Lok Siu (Associate Professor in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, University of California, Berkeley). We hope to see you on Zoom!

Posted by: Li-Ping Chen

The Stone and the Wireless review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Xuenan Cao’s review of The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861-1906, by Shaoling Ma. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

The Stone and the Wireless:
Mediating China, 1861-1906

By Shaoling Ma

Reviewed by Xuenan Cao

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright October, 2021)

Shaoling Ma, The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861-1906 Durham: Duke University Press, 2021. ix+312 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4780-1147-7 (paper) / 978-1-4780-1046-3 (cloth).

The Stone and the Wireless is a convincing critique of the notion that China lacked communication networks before the advent of Western technoscience. The book undermines any simplistic answer to the Needham Question (a.k.a., “the ‘Needham paradigm’ postulating the supposed absence of modern science in China,” 10), instead tracing a complex web of media technologies in the late Qing period (1861-1906). Ma documents the variety of strategies Qing diplomats, writers, poets, and other media practitioners employed in their efforts to make sense of the era by tinkering with existing technologies through the practical use of technoscience. Ma sheds light on imaginary strategies as well—unrealized media scenarios that nonetheless helped shape the narrative of communication in the late Qing, as found in (gendered) Techno-utopian visions of the future.

The book covers the period from 1861, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established, to 1906, when the Ministry of Posts and Communications centralized all “transmissions.” This unconventional periodization of the late Qing marks the object of study: mediation. Although “media” as a term in Chinese did not exist in the second half of the nineteenth century, devices and technologies weighed heavily on the minds of those who did not have the vocabulary to describe their experience in a time of transition. Ma proposes to synthesize devices, sciences, and sensitivities, defining “mediation” as “the dynamic interactions between the material and technical process or device, and its discursive significations in texts and images” (5). Mediation enacts a “cleaving and bridging of technics and signification,” which Ma describes, citing Xiao Liu, as a “‘worlding’ process” of “temporal and spatial reorganization” and “generates new relations, conflicts, and negotiations” (5). Continue reading

U of Sydney China Studies lectures

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Lecture Series for October and November, 2021

Chinese Asianism: Discussions on China-Centred International Regionalism in the 1920s

Date: Friday 15 October 2021
Time: 12:00PM–1:00PM AEDT
Location: Online

This seminar is free and open to the public!


This event is co-presented with the Department of Chinese Studies, The Australian Society for Asian Humanities and the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at UNSW.

With the rise of China and the development of ambitious international projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, discussions of China-centred international regionalism have found new prominence, but many of these ideas have a long history in twentieth century China.

This talk will examine the rise of a discourse promoting China as the future leader of Asia in 1920s publications. After President Sun Yat-sen made a speech titled ‘Great Asianism’ in 1924, intellectual and political leaders created a number of organisations to forward the ideals of Asian unity in major Chinese cities. Journals with titles such as New Asia and the Asiatic Review provided avenues for publication, while international conferences brought Chinese intellectuals in touch with Asianists from other Asian countries. Although the Chinese intellectuals who established these organizations initially focused upon uniting with Indians and Koreans to further the fight against imperialism, Japanese members of their organizations soon brought them into contact with Japan-based Pan-Asianist organisations. Due to their cooperation with Japanese Asianists, the organizations and their members were highly criticized by the Chinese media. However, these events and the subsequent critical responses set the stage for wartime Chinese Asianism and the belief that China had a duty to lead the oppressed nations of the world in the struggle with imperialism.

About the speaker

Craig A. Smith is Senior Lecturer of Translation Studies at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. He is the author of Chinese Asianism: 1894—1945 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2021) and co-editor of Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931—45 (UBC Press, 2021). Continue reading

Unconventional Storytellers in Modern East Asian Fiction and Film–cfp

CFP: “Unconventional Storytellers in Modern East Asian Fiction and Film,” ACLA 2022 Panel

This seminar discusses how, in modern East Asian fiction and film, atypical narrators add a dimension to the stories they tell. These unconventional narrators are often secondary, insignificant characters with minimal relevance to the main events. Sometimes, they exhibit noticeable inconsistency with the main characters’ emotions and intentions. In some extreme cases, even the events presented are beyond the scope of what they can reasonably see and hear. In other cases, although the narrators are important figures in the narratives, they are distant from the temporality and spatiality of the events and thus display a certain degree of emotional and cognitive detachment. These narrators add structural complexity by constituting a narrative frame outside the main narrative and/or cause instability in the narrative focus and uncertainty in the meaning conveyed.

Is their existence necessary? This is the fundamental question we seek to address. In some cases, they seem to be detrimental to the sense of unity in structure and meaning in the narrative. In other cases, they cause the audience’s doubt in the credibility of the narration and puzzlement about the authorial intent. In this regard, should we view them as an artistic flaw? Or, in fact, do these narrators fill the gaps in the narrative and imply the self-questioning of singular meaning, by which means the diversity and variability of viewpoints are highlighted?

The papers in this seminar will discuss the unique narrator phenomena in modern East Asian fiction and film to explore the multiple roles of narrators in literary and cinematic texts and argue whether these narrators create a meaningful tension between narration and interpretation.

If interested in joining the panel, please submit a 250-word abstract through the ACLA website or contact the organizer Yun A Lee at

Citizenship and Education conference–cfp

Call for Submission: Citizenship and Education in Contemporary Chinese Societies: Contexts, Perspectives, and Understandings
International Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference, January 2022

This international conference will explore the varieties of citizen-making embedded in the socio-educational transformation of Chinese societies. ‘Citizenship’ is a new construct in the modern Chinese context. Since the Republic of China period, scholars have been concerned with the practice of citizenship education and how to indigenise it in Chinese societies. The discursive construction of ‘citizens’ in modern China is intertwined with two opposing ideologies (Guo, 2014). The first is statism, which emphasises the building of a powerful nation-state by shaping the civic consciousness of the Chinese people, while downplaying citizenship rights. The second is individualism, which deviates from Confucian tradition and embraces the Western culture of citizenship to build a more liberal nation-state. While the socialist regime has overwhelmingly emphasised statism and collectivism, individualisation and a consequent rise in individual consciousness of citizenship rights have emerged in post-Mao China (Yan, 2010). Continue reading

Mystery surrounds closure of two Shanghai museums

Source: The Art News (10/5/21)
Mystery surrounds sudden closures of two major Shanghai museums
Long Museum West Bund and Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum both announced they would shut indefinitely for unspecified reasons
By Lisa Movius

Installation view of George Condo: The Picture Gallery, at Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai, 2021. © George Condo. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: JJYPHOTO

Installation view of George Condo: The Picture Gallery, at Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai, 2021.© George Condo. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: JJYPHOTO

Two Shanghai museums have announced closures for vague or unspecified reasons in the past week, eliciting speculation in the Shanghai art world as to the actual causes. First Long Museum West Bund announced on 28 September that it would close indefinitely for reasons only listed as “facility maintenance”, before updating the following day with a notice of reopening from 30 September. Then the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum posted on its official Wechat channel a similar notice announcing its indefinite closure from 1 October, with no reason cited. The museum has not yet provided a reopening date.

Abrupt, unexplained museum closures in China are usually due to political controversies, surprise visits by high-ranking officials, facility safety concerns, or extreme weather conditions. Long’s closure has come on the heels of unveiling a massive George Condo solo exhibition on 25 September. A museum spokesperson declined to specify any reasons for the closure, but confirmed that the 30 September opening of a solo presentation by the Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes on the museum’s second floor proceeded as planned for invited guests. Minsheng did not respond to a request for comment. Continue reading

Chinese Independent Cinema Observer event

Launch Event for Issue 2 of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer: Chinese Avant-Garde Art of the 1980s: A Conversation with Cui Weiping and Wen Pulin

About this event

The second issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, ‘Pre-History of Chinese Independent Cinema’, aims to explore the conditions that allowed Chinese independent films (including documentaries and fiction films, but with more emphasis on documentaries) to emerge. Chinese independent cinema is rooted in the 1980s and was an important consequence of the emancipation of social thought and avant-garde literary and art movements after the Cultural Revolution. The contributors to this issue explore the origins of Chinese independent cinema. Based on historical analysis and their own experience, they push back the start of independent documentary filmmaking from the previously accepted 1990s to the mid-1980s.

This issue also includes an exhibition of photographs and paintings made by the Stars Art Group, a Chinese avant-garde group of artists that emerged in 1979, and reviews of four films in the 1980s that were bold exploratory and controversial at the time. We look at intellectual connections and aesthetic legacies between the 1980s and the 1990s in order to trace the origins or pre-history of independent cinema, hoping to suggest some new directions and offer first-hand research data for future studies in this field. Continue reading