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Visuality and Identity

Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Pages: 257
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  • Book Info
    Visuality and Identity
    Book Description:

    Shu-mei Shih inaugurates the field of Sinophone studies in this vanguard excursion into sophisticated cultural criticism situated at the intersections of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, and transnational studies. Arguing that the visual has become the primary means of mediating identities under global capitalism, Shih examines the production and circulation of images across what she terms the "Sinophone Pacific," which comprises Sinitic-language speaking communities such as the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese America. This groundbreaking work argues that the dispersal of the so-called Chinese peoples across the world needs to be reconceptualized in terms of vibrant or vanishing communities of Sinitic-language cultures rather than of ethnicity and nationality.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94015-4
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-39)

    The ticket cost was NT$250, and I was one of fewer than a dozen people watching the film. The theater was relatively small, with about eight rows of seats, each with fifteen or so seats, and I could easily feel all the empty seats. When the lights dimmed, the twochukou(exit) signs glared conspicuously in green from above the doors flanking the screen. The soundtrack crackled as the volume was turned up to an almost unbearable level, which is characteristic of the theaters in this intimate outpost of Taipei City, known for its hurried replications of Taipei cosmopolitanism. Outside...

  7. 1 Globalization and Minoritization
    (pp. 40-61)

    Much has been said by scholars in the social sciences and humanities regarding the emergence of flexible subject positions in our late capitalist world governed by what David Harvey calls the “flexible regime of accumulation.”¹ We have seen the repetition of the wordflexibilityin such notions as “flexible citizenship,”² which tries to yoke the production of contemporary subjectivities to late capitalist processes. Frequently connected to the notion of flexibility is the widely used metaphor of flow. The mass migration of people; the hypercompression of space-time brought about by advancements in communications and electronic technologies; the hyperreal, disembodied movement of...

  8. 2 A Feminist Transnationality
    (pp. 62-85)

    In this chapter, I examine a particular kind of transnationality in its intersection with feminist subjectivity in what may be called a feminist transnationality. The two terms here,feministandtransnationality,are not givens but points of interrogation. I say “a particular kind of transnationality” as a way to circumscribe my discussion of transnationality as amode of representationconstituted by immigration, not the feminist transnational collectivity or coalition that engages in feminist work across national borders. Thus feminist transnationality should be distinguished from transnational feminism or transnational feminist practice.¹ In designating the work of Chinese immigrant artist Hung Liu...

  9. 3 The Geopolitics of Desire
    (pp. 86-116)

    In the mid-1990s, increasing economic integration of Taiwan, colonial Hong Kong, and China spurred, in both popular and academic arenas, their imaginary fusion into a single entity called “Greater China.”¹ Scholars explored the cultural manifestations and consequences of this integration, especially in light of the developments in mass media such as popular music and film,² where coproductions and cultural “joint-ventures”(hezi)were becoming increasingly commonplace. On the one hand, given the need for strategic market penetration and expansion beyond national boundaries, such coproductions tended to render ambiguous which “state” they were speaking for or against. On the other hand, the...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. 4 The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity
    (pp. 117-139)

    I begin this chapter with a series of anecdotal observations as a way to comment on Taiwan’s haphazard, fragmentary, disorganized, and unstable state of cultural and economic relations with China, which underscores the difficult question of identity for Taiwan. Amid calls to bid “farewell to China,” as well as considerable success in reconstructing local history and culture in Taiwan in its particularity, the question of identity in Taiwan continues to be intimately imbricated with China. This imbrication is the locality of the Sinophone in its struggle to become “Taiwanese.”

    This struggle is a linguistic one to the extent that what...

  12. 5 After National Allegory
    (pp. 140-164)

    After the pomp and spectacle of the turnover ceremony on July 1, 1997, a strange calmness settled on Hong Kong. The rain had been pouring heavily, the People’s Liberation Army had marched in, and Chinese immigrant composer Tan Dun’s symphony had drenched the Hong Kongers with a combination of the Chinese imperial(ist) grandeur of fifth-century B.C. musical bells and postmodern cacophony. And then there had been the inevitable fireworks, the fireworks that, according to an ex-British Hong Kong soldier in Fruit Chan’s filmThe Longest Summer,would reputedly “write words on the sky.” Theories that posit that spectacle is a...

  13. 6 Cosmopolitanism among Empires
    (pp. 165-182)

    It seems again to be the case that the age of empire is upon us, and it behooves us to consider this return of the age of empire in the contemporary historical context in order to ask the question whether a Taiwan cosmopolitanism is possible. The aim of this contextualization is to search for ways of understanding cosmopolitan expressions of Sinophone cultures such as Taiwan’s, even while metropolitan cosmopolitanism at large increasingly exhibits greater and greater imperial intentions, and the pressures of new forms of imperialism appear to be narrowing the space for cosmopolitan potentials from the margins. This chapter...

  14. Conclusion.: The Time and Place of the Sinophone
    (pp. 183-192)

    In coining the termSinophone,my foremost concern has been to challenge specific “regimes of authenticity”¹ which are themselves but constructs that have exercised various forms of symbolic or physical violence against those who are either problematically included or flagrantly excluded. Within any regime of authenticity, inclusion and exclusion often trace violent boundaries, but the difference between inclusion and exclusion can also be a matter of degree. The various fault lines within a politics of inclusion can be just as disempowering and oppressive to those nominally included, such that inclusion can be as problematic as exclusion. The categories known as...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 193-218)
    (pp. 219-230)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 231-243)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 244-244)