Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory

Reimagining a Field

Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory

Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society

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Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 8 b&w photographs Published: January 2001

Asian Studies > East Asia, Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory

These groundbreaking essays use critical theory to reflect on issues pertaining to modern Chinese literature and culture and, in the process, transform the definition and conceptualization of the field of modern Chinese studies itself. The wide range of topics addressed by this international group of scholars includes twentieth-century literature produced in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China; film, art, history, popular culture, and literary and cultural criticism; as well as the geographies of migration and diaspora.

One of the volume’s provocative suggestions is that the old model of area studies—an offshoot of U.S. Cold War strategy that found its anchorage in higher education—is no longer feasible for the diverse and multifaceted experiences that are articulated under the rubric of “Chineseness.” As Rey Chow argues in her introduction, the notion of a monolithic Chineseness bound ultimately to mainland China is, in itself, highly problematic because it recognizes neither the material realities of ethnic minorities within China nor those of populations in places such as Tibet, Taiwan, and post–British Hong Kong. Above all, this book demonstrates that, as the terms of a chauvinistic sinocentrism become obsolete, the critical use of theory—particularly by younger China scholars whose enthusiasm for critical theory coincides with changes in China’s political economy in recent years—will enable the emergence of fresh connections and insights that may have been at odds with previous interpretive convention.
Originally published as a special issue of the journal boundary 2, this collection includes two new essays and an afterword by Paul Bové that places its arguments in the context of contemporary cultural politics. It will have far-reaching implications for the study of modern China and will be of interest to scholars of theory and culture in general.

Contributors. Stanley K. Abe, Ien Ang, Chris Berry, Paul Bové, Sung-cheng Yvonne Chang, Rey Chow, Dorothy Ko, Charles Laughlin, Leung Ping-kwan, Kwai-cheung Lo, Christopher Lupke, David Der-wei Wang, Michelle Yeh



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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University. Her books include Woman and Chinese Modernity, Writing Diaspora, Primitive Passions, and Ethics after Idealism.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem / Rey Chow 1

Narrative Subjectivity and the Production of Social Space in Chinese Reportage / Charles A. Laughlin 26

Three Hungry Women / David Der-wei Wang 48

Two Discourses on Colonialism: Huang Guliu and Eileen Chang on Hong Kong of the Forties / Leung Ping-Kwan 78

Beyond Cultural and National Identities: Current Re-evaluation of the Kominka Literature from Taiwan's Japanese Period / Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang 99

Wang Wenxing and the "Loss" of China / Christopher Lupke 127

If China Can Say No, Can China Make Movies? Or, Do Moves Make China? Rethinking National Cinema and National Agency / Chris Berry 159

Look Who's Talking: The Politics of Orality in Transitional Hong Kong Mass Culture / Kwai-Cheung Lo 181

Bondage in Time: Footbinding and Fashion Theory / Dorothy Ko 199

No Questions, No Answers: China and A Book from the Sky / Stanley K. Abe 227

International Theory and the Transnational Critic: China in the Age of Multiculturalism / Michelle Yeh 251

Can One Say No to Chineseness: Pushing the Limits of the Diasporic Paradigm / Ien Ang 281

Afterword: The Possibilities of Abandonment / Paul A. Bové 301

Index 317

Contributors 325
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2597-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2584-0
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