Martin Heidegger once wrote that the world had, in the age of modern science, become a world picture. For Rey Chow, the world has, in the age of atomic bombs, become a world target, to be attacked once it is identified, or so global geopolitics, dominated by the United States since the end of the Second World War, seems repeatedly to confirm. How to articulate the problematics of knowledge production with this aggressive targeting of the world? Chow attempts such an articulation by probing the significance of the chronological proximity of area studies, poststructuralist theory, and comparative literature—fields of inquiry that have each exerted considerable influence but whose mutual implicatedness as postwar U.S. academic phenomena has seldom been theorized. Central to Chow’s discussions is a critique of the predicament of self-referentiality—the compulsive move to interiorize that, in her view, constitutes the collective frenzy of our age—in different contemporary epistemic registers, including the self-consciously avant-garde as well as the militaristic and culturally supremacist. Urging her readers to think beyond the inward-turning focus on EuroAmerica that tends to characterize even the most radical gestures of Western self-deconstruction, Chow envisions much broader intellectual premises for future transcultural work, with reading practices aimed at restoring words and things to their constitutive exteriority.
Backward Glances reveals that the passionate love one woman feels for another occupies a position of unsuspected centrality in contemporary Chinese mass cultures. By examining representations of erotic and romantic love between women in popular films, elite and pulp fiction, and television dramas, Fran Martin shows how youthful same-sex love is often framed as a universal, even ennobling, feminine experience. She argues that a temporal logic dominates depictions of female homoeroticism, and she traces that logic across texts produced and consumed in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan during the twentieth century and the early twenty-first. Attentive to both transnational cultural flows and local particularities, Martin shows how loving relations between women in mass culture are usually represented as past experiences. Adult protagonists revel in the repeated, mournful narration of their memories. Yet these portrayals do not simply or finally consign the same-sex loving woman to the past—they also cause her to reappear ceaselessly in the present.
As Martin explains, memorial schoolgirl love stories are popular throughout contemporary Chinese cultures. The same-sex attracted young woman appears in both openly homophobic and proudly queer-affirmative narratives, as well as in stories whose ideological valence is less immediately clear. Martin demonstrates that the stories, television programs, and films she analyzes are not idiosyncratic depictions of marginal figures, but manifestations of a broader, mainstream cultural preoccupation. Her investigation of representations of same-sex love between women sheds new light on contemporary Chinese understandings of sex, love, gender, marriage, and the cultural ordering of human life.
Exploring the emergence and evolution of theories of nationhood that continue to be evoked in present-day Japan, Susan L. Burns provides a close examination of the late-eighteenth-century intellectual movement kokugaku, which means "the study of our country.” Departing from earlier studies of kokugaku that focused on intellectuals whose work has been valorized by modern scholars, Burns seeks to recover the multiple ways "Japan" as social and cultural identity began to be imagined before modernity.
Central to Burns's analysis is Motoori Norinaga’s Kojikiden, arguably the most important intellectual work of Japan's early modern period. Burns situates the Kojikiden as one in a series of attempts to analyze and interpret the mythohistories dating from the early eighth century, the Kojiki and Nihon shoki. Norinaga saw these texts as keys to an original, authentic, and idyllic Japan that existed before being tainted by "flawed" foreign influences, notably Confucianism and Buddhism. Hailed in the nineteenth century as the begetter of a new national consciousness, Norinaga's Kojikiden was later condemned by some as a source of Japan's twentieth-century descent into militarism, war, and defeat. Burns looks in depth at three kokugaku writers—Ueda Akinari, Fujitani Mitsue, and Tachibana Moribe—who contested Norinaga's interpretations and produced competing readings of the mythohistories that offered new theories of community as the basis for Japanese social and cultural identity. Though relegated to the footnotes by a later generation of scholars, these writers were quite influential in their day, and by recovering their arguments, Burns reveals kokugaku as a complex debate—involving history, language, and subjectivity—with repercussions extending well into the modern era.
D. R. Howland explores China’s representations of Japan in the changing world of the late nineteenth century and, in so doing, examines the cultural and social borders between the two neighbors. Looking at Chinese accounts of Japan written during the 1870s and 1880s, he undertakes an unprecedented analysis of the main genres the Chinese used to portray Japan—the travel diary, poetry, and the geographical treatise. In his discussion of the practice of “brushtalk,” in which Chinese scholars communicated with the Japanese by exchanging ideographs, Howland further shows how the Chinese viewed the communication of their language and its dominant modes—history and poetry—as the textual and cultural basis of a shared civilization between the two societies. With Japan’s decision in the 1870s to modernize and westernize, China’s relationship with Japan underwent a crucial change—one that resulted in its decisive separation from Chinese civilization and, according to Howland, a destabilization of China’s worldview. His examination of the ways in which Chinese perceptions of Japan altered in the 1880s reveals the crucial choice faced by the Chinese of whether to interact with Japan as “kin,” based on geographical proximity and the existence of common cultural threads, or as a “barbarian,” an alien force molded by European influence. By probing China’s poetic and expository modes of portraying Japan, Borders of Chinese Civilization exposes the changing world of the nineteenth century and China’s comprehension of it. This broadly appealing work will engage scholars in the fields of Asian studies, Chinese literature, history, and geography, as well as those interested in theoretical reflections on travel or modernism.
Chinese Reportage details for the first time in English the creation and evolution of a distinctive literary genre in twentieth-century China. Reportage literature, while sharing traditional journalism’s commitment to the accurate, nonfictional portrayal of experience, was largely produced by authors outside the official news media. In identifying the literary merit of this genre and establishing its significance in China’s leftist cultural legacy, Charles A. Laughlin reveals important biases that impede Western understanding of China and, at the same time, supplies an essential chapter in Chinese cultural history.
Laughlin traces the roots of reportage (or baogao wenxue) to the travel literature of the Qing Dynasty but shows that its flourishing was part of the growth of Chinese communism in the twentieth century. In a modern Asian context critical of capitalism and imperialism, reportage offered the promise of radicalizing writers through a new method of literary practice and the hope that this kind of writing could in turn contribute to social revolution and China’s national self-realization. Chinese Reportage explores the wide range of social engagement depicted in this literature: witnessing historic events unfolding on city streets; experiencing brutal working conditions in 1930s Shanghai factories; struggling in the battlefields and trenches of the war of resistance against Japan, the civil war, and the Korean war; and participating in revolutionary rural, social, and economic transformation. Laughlin’s close readings emphasize the literary construction of social space over that of character and narrative structure, a method that brings out the critique of individualism and humanism underlying the genre’s aesthetics.
Chinese Reportage recaptures a critical aspect of leftist culture in China with far-reaching implications for historians and sociologists as well as literary scholars.
This bold collection of essays demonstrates the necessity of understanding fascism in cultural terms rather than only or even primarily in terms of political structures and events. Contributors from history, literature, film, art history, and anthropology describe a culture of fascism in Japan in the decades preceding the end of the Asia-Pacific War. In so doing, they challenge past scholarship, which has generally rejected descriptions of pre-1945 Japan as fascist. The contributors explain how a fascist ideology was diffused throughout Japanese culture via literature, popular culture, film, design, and everyday discourse. Alan Tansman’s introduction places the essays in historical context and situates them in relation to previous scholarly inquiries into the existence of fascism in Japan.
Several contributors examine how fascism was understood in the 1930s by, for example, influential theorists, an antifascist literary group, and leading intellectuals responding to capitalist modernization. Others explore the idea that fascism’s solution to alienation and exploitation lay in efforts to beautify work, the workplace, and everyday life. Still others analyze the realization of and limits to fascist aesthetics in film, memorial design, architecture, animal imagery, a military museum, and a national exposition. Contributors also assess both manifestations of and resistance to fascist ideology in the work of renowned authors including the Nobel-prize-winning novelist and short-story writer Kawabata Yasunari and the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shirō. In the work of these final two, the tropes of sexual perversity and paranoia open a new perspective on fascist culture. This volume makes Japanese fascism available as a critical point of comparison for scholars of fascism worldwide. The concluding essay models such work by comparing Spanish and Japanese fascisms.
Contributors. Noriko Aso, Michael Baskett, Kim Brandt, Nina Cornyetz, Kevin M. Doak, James Dorsey, Aaron Gerow, Harry Harootunian, Marilyn Ivy, Angus Lockyer, Jim Reichert, Jonathan Reynolds, Ellen Schattschneider, Aaron Skabelund, Akiko Takenaka, Alan Tansman, Richard Torrance, Keith Vincent, Alejandro Yarza
Challenging conventional understandings of time and memory, Christopher T. Nelson examines how contemporary Okinawans have contested, appropriated, and transformed the burdens and possibilities of the past. Nelson explores the work of a circle of Okinawan storytellers, ethnographers, musicians, and dancers deeply engaged with the legacies of a brutal Japanese colonial era, the almost unimaginable devastation of the Pacific War, and a long American military occupation that still casts its shadow over the islands. The ethnographic research that Nelson conducted in Okinawa in the late 1990s—and his broader effort to understand Okinawans’ critical and creative struggles—was inspired by his first visit to the islands in 1985 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Nelson analyzes the practices of specific performers, showing how memories are recalled, bodies remade, and actions rethought as Okinawans work through fragments of the past in order to reconstruct the fabric of everyday life. Artists such as the popular Okinawan actor and storyteller Fujiki Hayato weave together genres including Japanese stand-up comedy, Okinawan celebratory rituals, and ethnographic studies of war memory, encouraging their audiences to imagine other ways to live in the modern world. Nelson looks at the efforts of performers and activists to wrest the Okinawan past from romantic representations of idyllic rural life in the Japanese media and reactionary appropriations of traditional values by conservative politicians. In his consideration of eisā, the traditional dance for the dead, Nelson finds a practice that reaches beyond the expected boundaries of mourning and commemoration, as the living and the dead come together to create a moment in which a new world might be built from the ruins of the old.
How might the pornographic be associated with Brecht's and Benjamin's media theories? How are Foucault's and Deleuze's writings on visibilities "postcolonial"? What happens when Rancière's discussions of art are juxtaposed with cultural anthropology? What does a story by Lao She about collecting reveal about political collectivism in modern China? How does Girard's notion of mimetic violence speak to identity politics? How might Arendt's and Derrida's reflections on forgiveness be supplemented by a film by Lee Chang-dong? What can Akira Kurosawa's films about Japan say about American Studies? How is Asia framed transnationally, with what consequences for those who self-identify as Asian?
These questions are dispersively heterologous yet mutually implicated. This paradoxical character of their discursive relations is what Rey Chow intends with the word "entanglements," by which she means, first, an enmeshment of topics: the mediatized image in modernist reflexivity; captivation and identification; victimhood; the place of East Asia in globalized Western academic study. Beyond enmeshment, she asks, can entanglements be phenomena that are not defined by affinity or proximity? Might entanglements be about partition and disparity rather than about conjunction and similarity? Across medial forms (including theater, film, narrative, digitization, and photographic art), and against more popular trends of declaring things and people to be in flux, Chow proposes conceptual frames that foreground instead aesthetic, ontological, and sentient experiences of force, dominance, submission, fidelity, antagonism, masochism, letting-go, and the attraction to self-annihilation. Boundary, trap, capture, captivation, sacrifice, and mimesis: these riveting terms serve as analytic pressure points in her readings, articulating perversity, madness, and terror to pursuits of freedom.
In discussions of postcolonial nationhood and cultural identity, Taiwan is often overlooked. Yet the island—with its complex history of colonization—presents a particularly fascinating case of the struggle to define a “nation.” While the mainland Chinese government has been unequivocal in its resistance to Taiwanese independence, in Taiwan, government control has gradually passed from mainland Chinese immigrants to the Taiwanese themselves. Two decades of democratization and the arrival of consumer culture have made the island a truly global space. Envisioning Taiwan sorts through these complexities, skillfully weaving together history and cultural analysis to give a picture of Taiwanese identity and a lesson on the usefulness and the limits of contemporary cultural theory.
Yip traces a distinctly Taiwanese sense of self vis-à-vis China, Japan, and the West through two of the island’s most important cultural movements: the hsiang-t’u (or “nativist”) literature of the 1960s and 1970s, and the Taiwanese New Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s. At the heart of the book are close readings of the work of the hsiang-t’u writer Hwang Chun-ming and the New Cinema filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien. Key figures in Taiwan’s assertion of a national identity separate and distinct from China, both artists portray in vibrant detail daily life on the island. Through Hwang’s and Hou’s work and their respective artistic movements, Yip explores “the imagining of a nation” on the local, national, and global levels. In the process, she exposes a perceptible shift away from traditional models of cultural authenticity toward a more fluid, postmodern hybridity—an evolution that reflects both Taiwan’s peculiar multicultural reality and broader trends in global culture.
The Flash of Capital analyzes the links between Japan’s capitalist history and its film history, illuminating what these connections reveal about film culture and everyday life in Japan. Looking at a hundred-year history of film and capitalism, Eric Cazdyn theorizes a cultural history that highlights the spaces where film and the nation transcend their customary borders—where culture and capital crisscross—and, in doing so, develops a new way of understanding historical change and transformation in modern Japan and beyond. Cazdyn focuses on three key moments of historical contradiction: colonialism, post-war reconstruction, and globalization. Considering great classics of Japanese film, documentaries, works of science fiction, animation, and pornography, he brings to light cinematic attempts to come to terms with the tensions inherent in each historical moment—tensions between the colonizer and the colonized, between the individual and the collective, and between the national and the transnational. Paying close attention to political context, Cazdyn shows how formal inventions in the realms of acting, film history and theory, thematics, documentary filmmaking, and adaptation articulate a struggle to solve implacable historical problems. This innovative work of cultural history and criticism offers explanations of historical change that challenge conventional distinctions between the aesthetic and the geopolitical.
Boldly challenging traditional understandings of Heian literature, Tomiko Yoda reveals the connections between gender, nationalism, and cultural representation evident in prevailing interpretations of classic Heian texts. Renowned for the wealth and sophistication of women’s writing, the literature of the Heian period (794–1192) has long been considered central to the Japanese literary canon and Japanese national identity. Yoda historicizes claims about the inherent femininity of this literature by revisiting key moments in the history of Japanese literary scholarship from the eighteenth century to the present. She argues that by foregrounding women’s voices in Heian literature, the discipline has repeatedly enacted the problematic modernizing gesture in which the “feminine” is recognized, canceled, and then contained within a national framework articulated in masculine terms.
Moving back and forth between a critique of modern discourses on Heian literature and close analyses of the Heian texts themselves, Yoda sheds light on some of the most persistent interpretive models underwriting Japanese literary studies, particularly the modern paradigm of a masculine national subject. She proposes new directions for disciplinary critique and suggests that historicized understandings of premodern texts offer significant insights into contemporary feminist theories of subjectivity and agency.
This groundbreaking collection focuses on what may be, for cultural studies, the most intriguing aspect of contemporary globalization—the ways in which the postnational restructuring of the world in an era of transnational capitalism has altered how we must think about cultural production. Mapping a "new world space" that is simultaneously more globalized and localized than before, these essays examine the dynamic between the movement of capital, images, and technologies without regard to national borders and the tendency toward fragmentation of the world into increasingly contentious enclaves of difference, ethnicity, and resistance. Ranging across issues involving film, literature, and theory, as well as history, politics, economics, sociology, and anthropology, these deeply interdisciplinary essays explore the interwoven forces of globalism and localism in a variety of cultural settings, with a particular emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region. Powerful readings of the new image culture, transnational film genre, and the politics of spectacle are offered as is a critique of globalization as the latest guise of colonization. Articles that unravel the complex links between the global and local in terms of the unfolding narrative of capital are joined by work that illuminates phenomena as diverse as "yellow cab" interracial sex in Japan, machinic desire in Robocop movies, and the Pacific Rim city. An interview with Fredric Jameson by Paik Nak-Chung on globalization and Pacific Rim responses is also featured, as is a critical afterword by Paul Bové. Positioned at the crossroads of an altered global terrain, this volume, the first of its kind, analyzes the evolving transnational imaginary—the full scope of contemporary cultural production by which national identities of political allegiance and economic regulation are being undone, and in which imagined communities are being reshaped at both the global and local levels of everyday existence.
The prolonged downturn in the Japanese economy that began during the recessionary 1990s triggered a complex set of reactions both within Japan and abroad, reshaping not only the country’s economy but also its politics, society, and culture. In Japan After Japan, scholars of history, anthropology, literature, and film explore the profound transformations in Japan since the early 1990s, providing complex analyses of a nation in transition, linking its present to its past and connecting local situations to global developments.
Several of the essayists reflect on the politics of history, considering changes in the relationship between Japan and the United States, the complex legacy of Japanese colonialism, Japan’s chronic unease with its wartime history, and the postwar consolidation of an ethnocentric and racist nationalism. Others analyze anxieties related to the role of children in society and the weakening of the gendered divide between workplace and home. Turning to popular culture, contributors scrutinize the avid consumption of “real events” in formats including police shows, quiz shows, and live Web camera feeds; the creation, distribution, and reception of Pokémon, the game-based franchise that became a worldwide cultural phenomenon; and the ways that the behavior of zealous fans of anime both reinforces and clashes with corporate interests. Focusing on contemporary social and political movements, one essay relates how a local citizens’ group pressed the Japanese government to turn an international exposition, the Aichi Expo 2005, into a more environmentally conscious project. Another essay offers both a survey of emerging political movements and a manifesto identifying new possibilities for radical politics in Japan. Together the contributors to Japan After Japan present much-needed insight into the wide-ranging transformations of Japanese society that began in the 1990s.
Contributors. Anne Allison, Andrea G. Arai, Eric Cazdyn, Leo Ching, Harry Harootunian, Marilyn Ivy, Sabu Kohso, J. Victor Koschmann, Thomas LaMarre, Masao Miyoshi, Yutaka Nagahara, Naoki Sakai, Tomiko Yoda, Yoshimi Shunya, Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto
Japan’s Holy War reveals how a radical religious ideology drove the Japanese to imperial expansion and global war. Bringing to light a wealth of new information, Walter A. Skya demonstrates that whatever other motives the Japanese had for waging war in Asia and the Pacific, for many the war was the fulfillment of a religious mandate. In the early twentieth century, a fervent nationalism developed within State Shintō. This ultranationalism gained widespread military and public support and led to rampant terrorism; between 1921 and 1936 three serving and two former prime ministers were assassinated. Shintō ultranationalist societies fomented a discourse calling for the abolition of parliamentary government and unlimited Japanese expansion.
Skya documents a transformation in the ideology of State Shintō in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. He shows that within the religion, support for the German-inspired theory of constitutional monarchy that had underpinned the Meiji Constitution gave way to a theory of absolute monarchy advocated by the constitutional scholar Hozumi Yatsuka in the late 1890s. That, in turn, was superseded by a totalitarian ideology centered on the emperor: an ideology advanced by the political theorists Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko in the 1910s and 1920s. Examining the connections between various forms of Shintō nationalism and the state, Skya demonstrates that where the Meiji oligarchs had constructed a quasi-religious, quasi-secular state, Hozumi Yatsuka desired a traditional theocratic state. Uesugi Shinkichi and Kakehi Katsuhiko went further, encouraging radical, militant forms of extreme religious nationalism. Skya suggests that the creeping democracy and secularization of Japan’s political order in the early twentieth century were the principal causes of the terrorism of the 1930s, which ultimately led to a holy war against Western civilization.
A Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University Kingdom of Beauty shows that the discovery of mingei (folk art) by Japanese intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s was central to the complex process by which Japan became both a modern nation and an imperial world power. Kim Brandt’s account of the mingei movement locates its origins in colonial Korea, where middle-class Japanese artists and collectors discovered that imperialism offered them special opportunities to amass art objects and gain social, cultural, and even political influence. Later, mingei enthusiasts worked with (and against) other groups—such as state officials, fascist ideologues, rival folk art organizations, local artisans, newspaper and magazine editors, and department store managers—to promote their own vision of beautiful prosperity for Japan, Asia, and indeed the world. In tracing the history of mingei activism, Brandt considers not only Yanagi Muneyoshi, Hamada Shōji, Kawai Kanjirō, and other well-known leaders of the folk art movement but also the often overlooked networks of provincial intellectuals, craftspeople, marketers, and shoppers who were just as important to its success. The result of their collective efforts, she makes clear, was the transformation of a once-obscure category of pre-industrial rural artifacts into an icon of modern national style.
Under globalization, the project of area studies and its relationship to the fields of cultural, ethnic, and gender studies has grown more complex and more in need of the rigorous reexamination that this volume and its distinguished contributors undertake. In the aftermath of World War II, area studies were created in large part to supply information on potential enemies of the United States. The essays in Learning Places argue, however, that the post–Cold War era has seen these programs largely degenerate into little more than public relations firms for the areas they research. A tremendous amount of money flows—particularly within the sphere of East Asian studies, the contributors claim—from foreign agencies and governments to U.S. universities to underwrite courses on their histories and societies. In the process, this volume argues, such funds have gone beyond support to the wholesale subsidization of students in graduate programs, threatening the very integrity of research agendas. Native authority has been elevated to a position of primacy; Asian-born academics are presumed to be definitive commentators in Asian studies, for example. Area studies, the contributors believe, has outlived the original reason for its construction. The essays in this volume examine particular topics such as the development of cultural studies and hyphenated studies (such as African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American) in the context of the failure of area studies, the corporatization of the contemporary university, the prehistory of postcolonial discourse, and the problematic impact of unformulated political goals on international activism. Learning Places points to the necessity, the difficulty, and the possibility in higher education of breaking free from an entrenched Cold War narrative and making the study of a specific area part of the agenda of education generally. The book will appeal to all whose research has a local component, as well as to those interested in the future course of higher education generally.
Contributors. Paul A. Bové, Rey Chow, Bruce Cummings, James A. Fujii, Harry Harootunian, Masao Miyoshi, Tetsuo Najita, Richard H. Okada, Benita Parry, Moss Roberts, Bernard S. Silberman, Stefan Tanaka, Rob Wilson, Sylvia Yanagisako, Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto
Emphasizing how modes of book production, promotion, and consumption shape ideas of literary value, Edward Mack examines the role of Japan’s publishing industry in defining modern Japanese literature. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, as cultural and economic power consolidated in Tokyo, the city’s literary and publishing elites came to dominate the dissemination and preservation of Japanese literature. As Mack explains, they conferred cultural value on particular works by creating prizes and multivolume anthologies that signaled literary merit. One such anthology, the Complete Works of Contemporary Japanese Literature (published between 1926 and 1931), provided many readers with their first experience of selected texts designated as modern Japanese literature. The low price of one yen per volume allowed the series to reach hundreds of thousands of readers. An early prize for modern Japanese literature, the annual Akutagawa Prize, first awarded in 1935, became the country’s highest-profile literary award. Mack chronicles the history of book production and consumption in Japan, showing how advances in technology, the expansion of a market for literary commodities, and the development of an extensive reading community enabled phenomena such as the Complete Works of Contemporary Japanese Literature and the Akutagawa Prize to manufacture the very concept of modern Japanese literature.
Throughout this lively and concise historical account of Mao Zedong’s life and thought, Rebecca E. Karl places the revolutionary leader’s personal experiences, social visions and theory, military strategies, and developmental and foreign policies in a dynamic narrative of the Chinese revolution. She situates Mao and the revolution in a global setting informed by imperialism, decolonization, and third worldism, and discusses worldwide trends in politics, the economy, military power, and territorial sovereignty. Karl begins with Mao’s early life in a small village in Hunan province, documenting his relationships with his parents, passion for education, and political awakening during the fall of the Qing dynasty in late 1911. She traces his transition from liberal to Communist over the course of the next decade, his early critiques of the subjugation of women, and the gathering force of the May 4th movement for reform and radical change. Describing Mao’s rise to power, she delves into the dynamics of Communist organizing in an overwhelmingly agrarian society, and Mao’s confrontations with Chiang Kaishek and other nationalist conservatives. She also considers his marriages and romantic liaisons and their relation to Mao as the revolutionary founder of Communism in China. After analyzing Mao’s stormy tenure as chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Karl concludes by examining his legacy in China from his death in 1976 through the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982, directors like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou transformed Chinese cinema with Farewell My Concubine, Yellow Earth, Raise the Red Lantern, and other international successes. Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy tells the riveting story of this class of 1982, China’s famous "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers. It is the first insider’s account of this renowned cohort to appear in English. Covering these directors’ formative experiences during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution and later at the Beijing Film Academy, Ni Zhen—who was both their screenwriter and teacher—provides unique insights into the origins of the Fifth Generation’s creativity. Drawing on his personal knowledge and interviews conducted especially for this volume, Ni Zhen demonstrates the diversity of the Fifth Generation. He comments on the breadth of styles and themes explored by its members and introduces a range of male and female directors, cinematographers, and production designers famous in China but less well-known internationally. The book contains vivid descriptions of the production processes of two pioneering films—One and Eight and Yellow Earth.
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
Focusing on Japan, France, and the United States, Christopher L. Hill reveals how the writing of national history in the late nineteenth century made the reshaping of the world by capitalism and the nation-state seem natural and inevitable. The three countries, occupying widely different positions in the world, faced similar ideological challenges stemming from the rapidly changing geopolitical order and from domestic political upheavals: the Meiji Restoration in Japan, the Civil War in the United States, and the establishment of the Third Republic in France. Through analysis that is both comparative and transnational, Hill shows that the representations of national history that emerged in response to these changes reflected rhetorical and narrative strategies shared across the globe.
Delving into narrative histories, prose fiction, and social philosophy, Hill analyzes the rhetoric, narrative form, and intellectual genealogy of late-nineteenth-century texts that contributed to the creation of national history in each of the three countries. He discusses the global political economy of the era, the positions of the three countries in it, and the reasons that arguments about history loomed large in debates on political, economic, and social problems. Examining how the writing of national histories in the three countries addressed political transformations and the place of the nation in the world, Hill illuminates the ideological labor national history performed. Its production not only naturalized the division of the world by systems of states and markets, but also asserted the inevitability of the nationalization of human community; displaced dissent to pre-modern, pre-national pasts; and presented the subject’s acceptance of a national identity as an unavoidable part of the passage from youth to adulthood.
Presenting a vivid social history of “the new woman” who emerged in Japanese culture between the world wars, The New Japanese Woman shows how images of modern women burst into Japanese life in the midst of the urbanization, growth of the middle class, and explosion of consumerism resulting from the postwar economic boom, particularly in the 1920s. Barbara Sato analyzes the icons that came to represent the new urban femininity—the “modern girl,” the housewife, and the professional working woman. She describes how these images portrayed in the media shaped and were shaped by women’s desires. Although the figures of the modern woman by no means represented all Japanese women, they did challenge the myth of a fixed definition of femininity—particularly the stereotype emphasizing gentleness and meekness—and generate a new set of possibilities for middle-class women within the context of consumer culture. The New Japanese Woman is rich in descriptive detail and full of fascinating vignettes from Japan’s interwar media and consumer industries—department stores, film, radio, popular music and the publishing industry. Sato pays particular attention to the enormously influential role of the women’s magazines, which proliferated during this period. She describes the different kinds of magazines, their stories and readerships, and the new genres the emerged at the time, including confessional pieces, articles about family and popular trends, and advice columns. Examining reactions to the images of the modern girl, the housewife, and the professional woman, Sato shows that while these were not revolutionary figures, they caused anxiety among male intellectuals, government officials, and much of the public at large, and they contributed to the significant changes in gender relations in Japan following the Second World War.
Painting the City Red illuminates the dynamic relationship between the visual media, particularly film and theater, and the planning and development of cities in China and Taiwan, from the emergence of the People’s Republic in 1949 to the staging of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Yomi Braester argues that the transformation of Chinese cities in recent decades is a result not only of China’s abandonment of Maoist economic planning in favor of capitalist globalization but also of a shift in visual practices. Rather than simply reflect urban culture, movies and stage dramas have facilitated the development of new perceptions of space and time, representing the future city variously as an ideal socialist city, a metropolis integrated into the global economy, and a site for preserving cultural heritage.
Drawing on extensive archival research, interviews with leading filmmakers and urban planners, and close readings of scripts and images, Braester describes how films and stage plays have promoted and opposed official urban plans and policies as they have addressed issues such as demolition-and-relocation plans, the preservation of vernacular architecture, and the global real estate market. He shows how the cinematic rewriting of historical narratives has accompanied the spatial reorganization of specific urban sites, including Nanjing Road in Shanghai; veterans’ villages in Taipei; and Tiananmen Square, centuries-old courtyards, and postmodern architectural landmarks in Beijing. In Painting the City Red, Braester reveals the role that film and theater have played in mediating state power, cultural norms, and the struggle for civil society in Chinese cities.
New nations require new histories of their struggles for nationhood. Postcolonial Vietnam takes us back to the 1950s to see how official Vietnamese historians and others rethought what counted as history, what producing history entailed, and who should be included as participants and agents in the story. Beginning with government-appointed historians’ first publications in 1954 and following their efforts over the next thirty years, Patricia M. Pelley surveys this daunting process and, in doing so, opens a wide window on the historical forces and tensions that have gone into shaping the new nation of Vietnam. Although she considers a variety of sources—government directives, census reports, statistics, poetry, civic festivities, ethnographies, and museum displays—Pelley focuses primarily on the work of official historians in Hanoi who argued about and tried to stabilize the meaning of topics ranging from prehistory to the Vietnam War. She looks at their strained and idiosyncratic attempts to plot the Vietnamese past according to Marxist and Stalinist paradigms and their ultimate abandonment of such models. She explores their struggle to redefine Vietnam in multiethnic terms and to normalize the idea of the family-state. Centering on the conversation that began in 1954 among historians in North Vietnam, her work identifies a threefold process of creating the new history: constituting historiographical issues, resolving problems of interpretation and narration, and conventionalizing various elements of the national narrative. As she tracks the processes that shaped the history of postcolonial Vietnam, Pelley dismantles numerous clichés of contemporary Vietnamese history and helps us to understand why and how its history-writing evolved.
Koreans constituted the largest colonial labor force in imperial Japan during the 1920s and 1930s. Caught between the Scylla of agricultural destitution in Korea and the Charybdis of industrial depression in Japan, migrant Korean peasants arrived on Japanese soil amid extreme instability in the labor and housing markets. In The Proletarian Gamble, Ken C. Kawashima maintains that contingent labor is a defining characteristic of capitalist commodity economies. He scrutinizes how the labor power of Korean workers in Japan was commodified, and how these workers both fought against the racist and contingent conditions of exchange and combated institutionalized racism.
Kawashima draws on previously unseen archival materials from interwar Japan as he describes how Korean migrants struggled against various recruitment practices, unfair and discriminatory wages, sudden firings, racist housing practices, and excessive bureaucratic red tape. Demonstrating that there was no single Korean “minority,” he reveals how Koreans exploited fellow Koreans and how the stratification of their communities worked to the advantage of state and capital. However, Kawashima also describes how, when migrant workers did organize—as when they became involved in Rōsō (the largest Korean communist labor union in Japan) and in Zenkyō (the Japanese communist labor union)—their diverse struggles were united toward a common goal. In The Proletarian Gamble, his analysis of the Korean migrant workers' experiences opens into a much broader rethinking of the fundamental nature of capitalist commodity economies and the analytical categories of the proletariat, surplus populations, commodification, and state power.
In one of the first English-language studies of Korean cinema to date, Kyung Hyun Kim shows how the New Korean Cinema of the past quarter century has used the trope of masculinity to mirror the profound sociopolitical changes in the country. Since 1980, South Korea has transformed from an insular, authoritarian culture into a democratic and cosmopolitan society. The transition has fueled anxiety about male identity, and amid this tension, empowerment has been imagined as remasculinization. Kim argues that the brutality and violence ubiquitous in many Korean films is symptomatic of Korea’s on-going quest for modernity and a post-authoritarian identity.
Kim offers in-depth examinations of more than a dozen of the most representative films produced in Korea since 1980. In the process, he draws on the theories of Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow, and Kaja Silverman to follow the historical trajectory of screen representations of Korean men from self-loathing beings who desire to be controlled to subjects who are not only self-sufficient but also capable of destroying others. He discusses a range of movies from art-house films including To the Starry Island (1993) and The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (1996) to higher-grossing, popular films like Whale Hunting (1984) and Shiri (1999). He considers the work of several Korean auteurs—Park Kwang-su, Jang Sun-woo, and Hong Sang-su. Kim argues that Korean cinema must begin to imagine gender relations that defy the contradictions of sexual repression in order to move beyond such binary struggles as those between the traditional and the modern, or the traumatic and the post-traumatic.
Sound has given rise to many rich theoretical reflections, but when compared to the study of images, the study of sound continues to be marginalized. How is the “sense” of sound constituted and elaborated linguistically, textually, technologically, phenomenologically, and geologically, as well as acoustically? How is sound grasped as an object? Considering sound both within and beyond the scope of the human senses, contributors from literature, film, music, philosophy, anthropology, media and communication, and science and technology studies address topics that range from Descartes’s resonant subject to the gendering of hearing physiology in the nineteenth century, Cold War politics and the opera Nixon in China, sounds from the Mediterranean, the poetics of signal processing, and the acousmatic voice in the age of MP3s. In the interpretive challenges posed by voice, noise, antinoise, whispering, near inaudibility, and silence and in the frequent noncoincidence of emission and reception, sound confronts us with what might be called its inhuman qualities—its irreducibility to meaning, to communication, to information, and even to recognition and identification.
Rey Chow is Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature at Duke University. She is the author of The Age of the World Target and Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory, both published by Duke University Press.
James A. Steintrager is Professor and Chair of English at the University of California, Irvine. Contributors: Caroline Bassett, Eugenie Brinkema, Iain Chambers, Michel Chion, Rey Chow, Mladen Dolar, Veit Erlmann, Evan Johnson, Christopher Lee, Mara Mills, John Mowitt, Dominic Pettman, Tara Rodgers, Nicholas Seaver, James A. Steintrager, Jonathan Sterne,
James A. Steintrager and Rey Chow, editors Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress QC225.7.S68 2018
Is a sound an object, an experience, an event, or a relation? What exactly does the emerging discipline of sound studies study? Sound Objects pursues these questions while exploring how history, culture, and mediation entwine with sound’s elusive objectivity. Examining the genealogy and evolution of the concept of the sound object, the commodification of sound, acousmatic listening, nonhuman sounds, and sound and memory, the contributors not only probe conceptual issues that lie in the forefront of contemporary sonic discussions but also underscore auditory experience as fundamental to sound as a critical enterprise. In so doing, they offer exciting considerations of sound within and beyond its role in meaning, communication, and information and an illuminatingly original theoretical overview of the field of sound studies itself.
Contributors. Georgina Born, Michael Bull, Michel Chion, Rey Chow, John Dack, Veit Erlmann, Brian Kane, Jairo Moreno, John Mowitt, Pooja Rangan, Gavin Steingo, James A. Steintrager, Jonathan Sterne, David Toop
South Koreans in the Debt Crisis is a detailed examination of the logic underlying the neoliberal welfare state that South Korea created in response to the devastating Asian Debt Crisis (1997–2001). Jesook Song argues that while the government proclaimed that it would guarantee all South Koreans a minimum standard of living, it prioritized assisting those citizens perceived as embodying the neoliberal ideals of employability, flexibility, and self-sufficiency. Song demonstrates that the government was not alone in drawing distinctions between the “deserving” and the “undeserving” poor. Progressive intellectuals, activists, and organizations also participated in the neoliberal reform project. Song traces the circulation of neoliberal concepts throughout South Korean society, among government officials, the media, intellectuals, NGO members, and educated underemployed people working in public works programs. She analyzes the embrace of partnerships between NGOs and the government, the frequent invocation of a pervasive decline in family values, the resurrection of conservative gender norms and practices, and the promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to survival.
Drawing on her experience during the crisis as an employee in a public works program in Seoul, Song provides an ethnographic assessment of the efforts of the state and civilians to regulate social insecurity, instability, and inequality through assistance programs. She focuses specifically on efforts to help two populations deemed worthy of state subsidies: the “IMF homeless,” people temporarily homeless but considered employable, and the “new intellectuals,” young adults who had become professionally redundant during the crisis but had the high-tech skills necessary to lead a transformed post-crisis South Korea.
In Staging the World Rebecca E. Karl rethinks the production of nationalist discourse in China during the late Qing period, between China’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and the proclamation of the Republic in 1911. She argues that at this historical moment a growing Chinese identification with what we now call the Third World first made the modern world visible as a totality and that the key components of Chinese nationalist discourse developed in reference to this worldview. The emergence of Chinese nationalism during this period is often portrayed as following from China’s position vis-à-vis Japan and the West. Karl has mined the archives of the late Qing period to discern the foci of Chinese intellectuals from 1895 to 1911 to assert that even though the China/Japan/West triangle was crucial, it alone is an incomplete—and therefore flawed—model of the development of nationalism in China. Although the perceptions and concerns of these thinkers form the basis of Staging the World, Karl begins by examining a 1904 Shanghai production of an opera about a fictional partition of Poland and its modern reincarnation as an ethno-nation. By focusing on the type of dialogue this opera generated in China, Karl elucidates concepts such as race, colonization, globalization, and history. From there, she discusses how Chinese conceptions of nationalism were affected by the “discovery” of Hawai’i as a center of the Pacific, the Philippine revolution against the United States, and the relationship between nationality and ethnicity made apparent by the Boer War in South Africa.
Maeda Ai was a prominent literary critic and an influential public intellectual in late-twentieth-century Japan. Text and the City is the first book of his work to appear in English. A literary and cultural critic deeply engaged with European critical thought, Maeda was a brilliant, insightful theorist of modernity for whom the city was the embodiment of modern life. He conducted a far-reaching inquiry into changing conceptions of space, temporality, and visual practices as they gave shape to the city and its inhabitants. James A. Fujii has assembled a selection of Maeda’s essays that question and explore the contours of Japanese modernity and resonate with the concerns of literary and cultural studies today.
Maeda remapped the study of modern Japanese literature and culture in the 1970s and 1980s, helping to generate widespread interest in studying mass culture on the one hand and marginalized sectors of modern Japanese society on the other. These essays reveal the broad range of Maeda’s cultural criticism. Among the topics considered are Tokyo; utopias; prisons; visual media technologies including panoramas and film; the popular culture of the Edo, Meiji, and contemporary periods; maps; women’s magazines; and women writers. Integrally related to these discussions are Maeda’s readings of works of Japanese literature including Matsubara Iwagoro’s In Darkest Tokyo, Nagai Kafu’s The Fox, Higuchi Ichiyo’s Growing Up, Kawabata Yasunari’s The Crimson Gang of Asakusa, and Narushima Ryuhoku’s short story “Useless Man.” Illuminating the infinitely rich phenomena of modernity, these essays are full of innovative, unexpected connections between cultural productions and urban life, between the text and the city.
Over the past few decades, many young Japanese women have emerged as Japan’s most enthusiastic “internationalists,” investing in study or work abroad, or in romance with Western men as opportunities to circumvent what they consider their country’s oppressive corporate and family structures. Drawing on a rich supply of autobiographical narratives, as well as literary and cultural texts, Karen Kelsky situates this phenomenon against a backdrop of profound social change in Japan and within an intricate network of larger global forces. In exploring the promises, limitations, and contradictions of these “occidental longings,” Women on the Verge exposes the racial and erotic politics of transnational mobility. Kelsky shows how female cosmopolitanism recontextualizes the well-known Western male romance with the Orient: Japanese women are now the agents, narrating their own desires for the “modern” West in ways that seem to defy Japanese nationalism as well as long-standing relations of power not only between men and women but between Japan and the West. While transnational movement is not available to all Japanese women, Kelsky shows that the desire for the foreign permeates many Japanese women’s lives. She also reveals how this feminine allegiance to the West—and particularly to white men—can impose its own unanticipated hegemonies of race, sexuality, and capital. Combining ethnography and literary analysis, and bridging anthropology and cultural studies, Women on the Verge will also appeal to students and scholars of Japan studies, feminism, and global culture.
Writing Taiwan is the first volume in English to examine the entire span of modern Taiwan literature, from the first decades of the twentieth century to the present. In this collection, leading literary scholars based in Taiwan and the United States consider prominent Taiwanese authors and works in genres including poetry, travel writing, and realist, modernist, and postmodern fiction. The diversity of Taiwan literature is signaled by the range of authors treated, including Yang Chichang, who studied Japanese literature in Tokyo in the early 1930s and wrote all of his own poetry and fiction in Japanese; Li Yongping, an ethnic Chinese born in Malaysia and educated in Taiwan and the United States; and Liu Daren, who was born in mainland China and effectively exiled from Taiwan in the 1970s on account of his political activism.
Because the island of Taiwan spent the first half of the century as a colony of Japan and the second half in an umbilical relationship to China, its literature challenges basic assumptions about what constitutes a “national literature.” Several contributors directly address the methodological and epistemological issues involved in writing about “Taiwan literature.” Other contributors investigate the cultural and political grounds from which specific genres and literary movements emerged. Still others explore themes of history and memory in Taiwan literature and tropes of space and geography, looking at representations of boundaries as well as the boundary-crossing global flows of commodities and capital. Like Taiwan’s history, modern Taiwan literature is rife with conflicting legacies and impulses. Writing Taiwan reveals a sense of its richness and diversity to English-language readers.
Contributors. Yomi Braester, Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, Fangming Chen, Lingchei Letty Chen, Chaoyang Liao, Ping-hui Liao, Joyce C. H. Liu, Kim-chu Ng, Carlos Rojas, Xiaobing Tang, Ban Wang, David Der-wei Wang, Gang Gary Xu, Michelle Yeh, Fenghuang Ying