Animators’ Roundtable Forum

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (4/21/22)
Animators’ Roundtable Forum: Hong Kong Animation, Zoom Webinar, May 12-14, 2022

The history of Hong Kong animation has always been translocal and transnational. It can be traced back to at least the late 1940s, when some mainland animators and cartoonists in exile like the Wan Brothers, Zhang Guangyu, Liao Bingxiong, and Te Wei made animated shorts and even experimented with the making of an animated feature film in postwar Hong Kong. But the local animated filmmaking did not begin until the 1950s, when advertising companies initiated the practice of using animation in commercials. Live-action filmmakers also began to skillfully incorporate animated special effects into martial arts cinema and experiment with animation techniques in short films. The early 1980s witnessed the rise of animated feature films with the release of Old Master Q series, which were co-productions between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Tsui Hark’s CGI feature A Chinese Ghost Story (1997) involved the professionals and studios in Japan, Taiwan, and mainland China. It was not until 2001 that a locally produced animated feature film, My Life as McDull, made its debut in Hong Kong. With the digital turn in the 1990s, independent animated filmmaking flourished, characterized by a variety of narrative and formal innovations that enriched the international film festivals around the world. Locally produced but marked by a distinct anime style with Hong Kong flavor, Kong Kee’s Dragon Delusions project (2018-present) opened a new path for Hong Kong independent animation. The co-production of Astro Boy (2009) between Hong Kong and the world also blazed a trail for Hong Kong commercial animation. Amidst the global flows of culture, can we still defend the “Hong Kongness” of Hong Kong animation in a floating city that is disappearing? Continue reading

Behind China’s new botanical garden

Source: Sixth Tone (5/2/22)
Behind China’s New Botanical Garden, a Decadeslong Struggle
Botanist Hu Xiansu spent his life trying to build China’s first national botanical garden. Now, 54 years after his death, he finally got his wish.
By Yang Yang

Visitors to the China National Botanical Garden, Beijing, April 22, 2022. VCG.

On April 18, 2022, the China National Botanical Garden officially opened its doors to the public — almost 80 years after it was first proposed. And while he didn’t live to see it happen, no one loomed larger over last month’s ceremony than Hu Xiansu, the man who spent his entire career trying to bring the garden to life.

Hu was born in 1894 in Nanchang, the capital of the central province of Jiangxi. His intellect stood out from an early age, winning him a coveted spot in an elite overseas exchange program. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1916 with a degree in Botany, Hu was named the vice-director of the Jiangxi Lushan Bureau of Forestry. Not long after, he became a professor of agricultural sciences at Southeast University in the eastern city of Nanjing, where he teamed with zoologist Bing Zhi to found the country’s first ever Department of Biology.

It was an impressive start to his academic career, but Hu wasn’t satisfied. In 1923, he returned to the United States for a Ph.D. program at Harvard University. Continue reading

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (3)

This is my short reply to Yunzhong Shu’s inquiry: I studied both Hu Feng and Lu Ling at that time. It’s not necessary to tell the whole process of how and when I sought its publication, save for the fact that it followed the academic standard and  integrity.  I only want to say that during that process, I find some reviews positive and very helpful, while some others just carelessly brushing my work aside without trying to understand how it organizes its arguments and its major points. Again, I hope to read more substantial and responsible reviews in the future.

Best Regards,

Xiaoping Wang

A Catalog of Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On

New Publication: A Catalog of Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
Dung Kai-cheung. Translated by Bonnie S. McDougall and Anders Hansson
Columbia University Press

Dung Kai-cheung’s A Catalog of Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On is a playful and imaginative glimpse into the consumerist dreamscape of late-nineties Hong Kong. First published in 1999, it comprises ninety-nine sketches of life just after the handover of the former British colony to China. Each of these stories in miniature begins from a piece of ephemera, usually consumer products or pop culture phenomena, and develops alternately comic and poignant snapshots of urban life.

Dung’s sketches center on once-trendy items that evoke the world at the turn of the millennium, such as Hello Kitty, Final Fantasy VIII, a Windows 98 disk, a clamshell mobile phone, Air Jordans, and cargo shorts. The protagonist of each piece, typically a young woman, is struck by an odd, even overriding obsession with an object or fad. Characters embark on brief dalliances or relationships lasting no longer than the fashions that sparked them. Dung blends vivid everyday details—Portuguese egg tarts, Japanese TV shows, the Hong Kong subway—with situations that are often fantastical or preposterous. This catalog of vanished products illuminates how people use objects to define and even invent their own selves. A major work from one of Hong Kong’s most gifted and original writers, Dung’s archaeology of the end of the twentieth century speaks to perennial questions about consumerism, nostalgia, and identity. Continue reading

PAMLA 2022 Asian Lit and Culture session–cfp reminder

The 119th annual PAMLA Conference will be held in Los Angeles, California at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center and Hotel between Friday, November 11 and Sunday, November 13, 2022.

The Asian Literature and Culture session welcomes proposals on topics pertaining to Asian literature and culture. Proposals that engage with the conference theme of “Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian” are encouraged, but all proposals are welcome and will be carefully considered. Paper topics can include, but are not limited to, the following themes in relation to Asian culture and literature: fantastic spaces in literature and film, urban/rural space and quotidian life, architecture, cartography, travel/journeys, cyberspace and the metaverse, utopia/dystopia/heterotopia, ecocriticism, and studies focusing on the fantastic or quotidian in oceans or waterways.

Submissions may be made at the following URL by May 15th:

For more information about the conference, please visit:

David Hazard <>

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (2)

As I read Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling, I had the impression that the writing, reviewing and production of the book were all done in haste. Professor Wang claims his monograph was completed more than ten years ago as a byproduct of his dissertation, which contains a 44-page chapter on Lu Ling but nothing on Hu Feng. I am curious to know when Professor Wang submitted his manuscript to Lexington Books for review and what kind of review and production processes the manuscript had gone through before publication.

Yunzhong Shu <>

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (1)

Dear Colleagues,

I read Prof. Yunzhong Shu’s review of my monograph, and I would like to thank him for offering the review and I welcome the critique. I would like to provide some feedback.

Firstly, I admit that there are some grammatical errors in my book. The monograph was completed more than ten years ago as a byproduct of my dissertation. And when I revised it, I updated some messages based on some new publications of the same subject in the English world in recent years. Before the formal publication, Lexington Press told me that it would offer professional proofreading service. However, when I received the first version of the proof, I found many problems there and personally made more than 3000 changes by myself. I contacted the assistant editor complaining the ill service of the press’ proofreader, and suggested that either the press’ proofreader goes through the whole text once more, or I could hire a professional proofreader by myself, yet the assistant declined my suggestion and ensured me that the project manager and the team are “very capable and have worked hard to ensure your book went to the press in great shape.” As a non-native speaker, I chose to trust in the professional service of the press. This, to be sure, does not mean that I do not admit my fault of not insisting on more proofreading work by myself.

Secondly, even though the book is not an immaculate work, I do not think the grammatical issues would hinder the comprehension of my arguments for those readers responsible. Otherwise, the major part of the first and the second chapter would not have passed the peer review and was published in the English journal Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory in the year of 2012. Continue reading

Class in China webinar series

Class in China – A series of webinars on the Peasants, the Middle Class and the Dominant Class
Marc Blecher, David Goodman, Yingjie Guo, Jean-Louis Rocca, Tony Saich and Beibei Tang have just published a co-authored two volume study of Class and the Communist Party of China.

Class and the Communist Party of China, 1921-1978: Revolution and Social Change
Class and the Communist Party of China, 1978-2021 : Reform and Market Socialism

In this series, the China Studies Centre will host webinars on the Peasantry, presented by Professor Yingjie Guo, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney; on the Middle Class, presented by Professor Jean-Louis Rocca, Sciences Po, Paris; and David Goodman, Director of the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney. The webinars will be moderated by Professor Kam Louie FHKAH FAHA, former Dean of Arts at Hong Kong University.

The Peasant Class under the Impact of Industrialisation, Urbanisation, and Household Registration
Time: 5PM-6PM AEST
Date: Tuesday 3 May 2022

Between Dream and Nightmare in the Chinese Middle Class
Time: 5PM-6PM AEST
Date: Tuesday 10 May 2022

The Dominant Class after 1978: Elite Persistence and the Ironies of Social Change
Time: 5PM-6PM AEST
Date: Tuesday 17 May 2022

YANPING ZHANG | Centre Administrator
China Studies Centre, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yunzhong Shu’s review of Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling, by Xiaoping Wang. 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 A. Denton, MCLC

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction:
Hu Feng and Lu Ling

By Xiaoping Wang

Reviewed by Yunzhong Shu

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2022)

Xiaoping Wang, Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022. xxxii + 201 pp. ISBN 978-1-4985-6619-3 (cloth); ISBN 978-1-4985-6620-9 (ebook).

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling consists of an introduction, nine chapters, and a conclusion. In the introduction, the author provides a brief survey of the leftist literary world in China during the War of Resistance, a summary of scholarly works on Hu Feng 胡风 and Lu Ling 路翎 published in English, and a section on his methodology and the structure of his book. Chapter 1, titled “Cultural Capital, Hegemony and the Zeitgeist,”  discusses Hu Feng’s wartime struggle for cultural leadership as a spokesperson for realism and his views on subjectivity. Chapter 2, “Intellectuals’ Politics and a Bourgeois Subjectivity,” examines Hu Feng’s views on critical realism, modern Chinese intellectuals, and bourgeois subjectivity. Chapter 3, “Subjectivity in Loss: Disintegration of Traditional Family and Emergence of Desire,” investigates issues such as “primitive unconsciousness” and “political anxieties” in connection with Lu Ling’s Children of the Rich (财主底儿女们) and Hungry Guo Su’e (饥饿的郭素娥). Chapter 4, “Subjectivity in Search of ‘Bildungsroman’ of Modern Chinese Intellectuals,” discusses moral relativism and the notion of “the people” in Children of the Rich.  Chapter 5, “Subjectivity in Vain: A Fable of the Failure of Bourgeois Social Reforms,” analyzes the mental experiences of Jiang Chunzu 蒋纯祖, a main character in Children of the Rich, together with some other characters in the novel. Chapter 6, “Intellectuals in Predicament: Other Stories,” categorizes characters along a spectrum from “weaklings” to those who “bust out by taking violent rebellious actions” (107) depicted in Lu Ling’s wartime stories. Chapter 7, “Politics of Recognition and Politics of Style,” uses concepts from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind as tools to analyze the language and style in Children of the Rich. Chapter 8, “Self-Other Relationship and the Other as the People,” focuses on the mental states of Jiang Chunzu and his brother Jiang Shaozu 蒋少祖 as intellectuals influenced by the May Fourth enlightenment agenda. Chapter 9, “Lu Ling’s Theory and His Fiction,” approaches Lu Ling’s views on realism from a cultural-political perspective and discusses the similarities and differences between Lu Ling and Hu Feng. In the conclusion, the author briefly discusses the general significance of Hu Feng and Lu Ling in their historical context. Continue reading

Manhua Modernity review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul Bevan’s review of Manhua Modernity: Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn, by John A. Crespi. 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 A. Denton, MCLC

Manhua Modernity:
Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn

By John A. Crespi

Reviewed by Paul Bevan

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April, 2022)

John A. Crespi, Manhua Modernity: Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn. Oakland: University of California Press, 2020. xiv + 236 pp., incl. 75 ills. ISBN 9780520309104 (paperback).

I have met John Crespi in person only once. I’ve always thought this a pity, because we work in similar areas and explore the same sort of material in our research. Our one and only meeting took place quite by chance in a reading room in the Shanghai Library more than a decade ago, at a time when scholars from outside China took library research and fieldwork for granted. I’d been told in advance by Michel Hockx that John would be in Shanghai at the same time as me, but I had made no plans to meet him. One afternoon in the library, on seeing what appeared to be an American man holding a copy of Zhongguo manhua (中國漫畫), I immediately guessed that this was John and promptly introduced myself. For both of us, the research into manhua and pictorial magazines that we carried out in Shanghai—on this occasion, and on subsequent visits—eventually resulted in our respective monographs.

In the introduction to his book, Crespi tells the captivating story of how he was introduced to manhua in the mid-1990s through piles of dusty volumes in an underground warehouse, a converted bomb shelter belonging to the “China Bookstore’s Old Periodicals Department” (1). Today, at a time when Chinese historical magazines of all types have become highly sought after as collectables in China and abroad, a story of exciting discovery and acquisition such as this seems like a dream of another age. The magazines John purchased at the time became the basis for his hugely valuable project, the digitization of the magazine Modern Sketch, and related websites at Colgate University and MIT’s Visualizing Culture project. Continue reading

Writing poetry in the workshop of the world

Source: Jacobin (4/26/22)
How China’s Labor Migrants Write Poetry in the Workshop of the World

The labor of hundreds of millions of rural-to-urban migrants has spurred China’s incredible levels of growth. This social transformation has birthed a tradition of migrant worker poetry, documenting the hardship of the workers behind China’s economic miracle.

A woman works in a textile factory in the Pearl River Delta industrial belt. (Qilai Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Time’s giant beak yawns     moonlight on the  machine / turns to rust . . . she sits in her seat / the products flowing by interlock with time     swallow it down     so quickly / she’s old now . . . for many years     she has stood guard / over the screws     one screw     another screw     turn to the left     turn to the right / fixing her dreams and her youth to a product     watching / her pallid youth     running always     from the rural backland / to a city on the seaboard     then to a store shelf in the US / exhaustion and workplace disease pile up in her lungs / stick in her throat     her period no longer on time / her coughing fierce . . . the machines around her / are shaking     she kneads her eyes red and swollen     then takes her self / and sticks it in between the products flowing by

Sticking your self, or what’s left of it, in between the products on the assembly line is the perfect image of alienation. A woman from the Chinese countryside is sucked into the factory workshop, becomes the lifeless export product she is made to assemble, and ends up thoroughly displaced and for sale. This chilling scene comes from Zheng Xiaoqiong’s “Woman Worker: Youth Fixed to a Seat,” the opening poem in Stories of Women Workers (Nügong ji, 2012). (This essay draws on my work on battler poetry since 2017. All translations are mine.) Continue reading

Media, Power, Technological Determinism–cfp

We are looking for proposals in China studies. 

Deadline Extended–May 1st.

Call For Papers: Media, Power, Technological Determinism
University of Washington Graduate Conference
June 4th, 2022, Seattle and Online
Paper Proposal Submission Deadline: May 1st, 2022

Keynote Speaker (Online): Nicole Starosielski (NYU)
Guest Panel Respondent (Online): Weixian Pan (NYU Shanghai)

Does the modern office floor plan of the skyscrapers redefine the division of labor? Does the thermostat in a documents archive secretly manipulate what we can read? We have little doubt in that Google shapes how we search for information, but does Google shape how we think too?

These perennial debates can be traced to Marshall McLuhan’s claims about the unstoppable force of media technologies in shaping our mind, body, and environment. Raymond Williams labels McLuhan as a “technological determinist”, condemning his disregard for the historical development of technology. But does this label of “technological determinist” give the right to abolish the way McLuhan understands media technologies? Indeed, like Williams, many have pointed out that technological objects do not independently exist among us, but are embedded in a cultural and political network. However, when we open the socially constructed “black box”, as Pinch and Bijker described, what is revealed may only be what Langdon Winner calls a “hollow inside”—void of power relations. Continue reading

Taking China to the World

New Publication: Taking China to the World: The Cultural Production of Modernity by Theodore Huters (Cambria Press)
Cambria Sinophone World Series (General Editor: Victor H. Mair). Hardback 9781621966166  $114.99  302pp. (Save 20% off hardback—use coupon code SAVE20 by ordering from Cambria Press).

Modernity, modernization, modernism, and the modern have all been key, interrelated terms in post-traditional China. For all their ubiquity, however, in previous studies of Chinese culture and society there has been insufficient clarity as to what the precise meanings each term has encompassed from the period beginning in 1895, the year of China’s catastrophic defeat by Japan. The importance of these terms is underlined by their implication in China’s positioning in the world over the course of the past century and a half, as well as the path China will follow in the future.

Looking into a set of concepts and practices that have been instrumental in China’s road to modernity, namely, the definition of the modern itself, a new notion of literature, linguistic reform, translation, popular culture, and the transformation of the publishing world, Taking China to the World explores the various ways in which activity in the cultural sphere shaped Chinese perceptions of both how its historical course might evolve and how all-compassing change needed to be managed. Continue reading

Hu Shih symposium

Dear colleagues,

I am happy to announce that the schedule of “Torch of Freedom: An International Symposium on Hu Shih” (薪火相傳:紀念胡適先生誕辰130周年及逝世60周年學術研討會) has been released. The symposium will be held on the following dates/time via Zoom Webinar.

Please visit our website for the symposium’s schedule and other details:

Eastern Standard Time (EST)
May 6, 2022 (Fri) & May 7, 2022 (Sat), 9:30 pm~00:40 am (+1 Day)
Pacific Standard Time (PST)
May 6, 2022 (Fri) & May 7, 2022 (Sat), 6:30 pm~9:40 pm

This symposium seeks to broaden the analytical scope of the studies of Hu Shih while investigating the meanings of studying Hu Shih’s works in the contemporary world. The symposium will be run in both Chinese and English.

Conference Statement:

It is perhaps a historical irony or tragedy that we are now experiencing an increasingly derailing world just like the time of Dr. Hu Shih (1891-1962). With the outbreak of a pandemic first in China and then the rest of the world, the massive protests of Hong Kong in 2019-2020, and Russia’s invasion into Ukraine in 2022, it is hard for us to pretend that we are still living in the same world and expect to apply the old rules on the new reality. What does it mean to study Hu Shih in the twenty-first century? How do we evaluate his legacy in various social, cultural, and historical contexts? And how do we account for the different ways in which “Hu Shih studies” were performed in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, north America, and beyond? More importantly, how do we, as contemporaries, respond to Hu Shih’s cultural-political agenda proposed nearly a century ago? One key objective of this symposium is to expand our understanding of Hu Shih, and diversify the ways in which we research this important historical figure. As we stand at the crossroads of China and the world today that is marked by increasingly instability and conflict, which is similar to Dr. Hu’s own time, we invite all those who are concerned of our contemporary world to contemplate on Dr. Hu Shih’s writings, and explore our past, now and future through his eyes.

For all questions , please contact

Power of Freedom: Hu Shih’s Political Writings

Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce the launch of a new book:

Power of Freedom: Hu Shih’s Political Writings (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2022). Carlos Yu-Kai Lin and Chih-p’ing Chou, Editors

Dr. Hu Shih (1891–1962) was one of China’s top scholars and diplomats and served as the Republic of China’s ambassador to the United States during World War II. As early as 1941, Hu Shih warned of the fundamental ideological conflict between dictatorial totalitarianism and democratic systems, a view that later became the foundation of the Cold War narrative. In the 1950s, after Mao’s authoritarian regime was established, Hu Shih started to analyze the development and nature of Communism, delivering a series of lectures and addresses to reveal what he called Stalin’s “grand strategy” for facilitating the International Communist Movement. Continue reading