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China Abroad

China Abroad: Travels, Subjects, Spaces

Elaine Yee Lin Ho
Julia Kuehn
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    China Abroad
    Book Description:

    China Abroad: Travels, Subjects, Spaces is a pioneering work which brings together accounts of the journey and cross-cultural experiences of Chinese travelers in the late nineteenth century with those of more recent migrants and diasporic Chinese subjects in a number of global locations including twentieth-century Hong Kong. The book seeks to address how movements across cultures shape the different ways in which China and Chineseness have been imagined and represented since the beginning of the last century. In so doing, it aims to offer an overview of the debate about Chineseness as it has emerged in different global locations. Through a variety of primary sources in different media, the individual essays discuss different approaches to the nation-diaspora paradigm. Set against the representations of this paradigm is the broader backdrop of the history of an "abroad" shaped by the actual encounter between Chinese and non-Chinese forces, by the transplantation of people, money, labor, and ideas, by frustration and exploitation, and by the ever present attempt to transcend a hierarchy of unequal ethnicities, cultures, and languages to full participatory, polyphonic equality. The collection coheres through its focus on the common interest in "China Abroad" but it is also of particular interest through the variety of critical approaches it adopts. The collection will be of interest to literary and cultural studies scholars, historians, and sociologists with an interest in twentieth-century and current cross-cultural issues and, specifically, China-West Studies

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-10-3
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Rey Chow

    The challenge of the phrase “China abroad” is as timely as its richness is inexhaustible, and I want to begin my brief remarks by saluting the editors and contributors of this anthology for opening up this enormously suggestive intellectual space. What they have provided here is nothing short of an ongoing agenda for interdisciplinary research. From the debates on diasporic/cosmopolitan/transnational identities and the practical and theoretical problems of translation across cultures, to the criticism of literature and film, the work of little-known authors in peripheral enclaves, the strictures and politics of Chinese American writing, and the many scenarios of cross-cultural...

  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Elaine Yee Lin Ho and Julia Kuehn
  6. List of Contributors
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. I Introduction

    • 1 China Abroad: Nation and Diaspora in a Chinese Frame
      (pp. 3-22)
      Elaine Yee Lin Ho

      As a project, China Abroad is situated within a contemporary scholarly and theoretical dialogue on nation and diaspora and the unstable relations between the two. It seeks to address a number of critical issues raised in this dialogue, and how these issues pertain to the different ways in which China and Chineseness have been imagined and represented in the last century. In so doing, it aims to offer an overview of the debate about Chineseness as it has emerged in different global locations. For more than two decades in the recent past, diaspora has been an important epistemological concept organizing...

    • 2 China Abroad: Between Transnation and Translation
      (pp. 23-42)
      Julia Kuehn

      China Abroad succeeds a small number of anthologies on the Chinese diaspora, Chinese transnationalism, Chinese travels, migration and cosmopolitanism, and the changing notion of Chineseness throughout history and, especially, in today’s globalized world. This intellectual heritage calls for a rationalization of our own title, as does the seemingly careless conflation of critical concepts in the above list. I want to respond by briefly reviewing the two most recent collections—at the same time returning to other landmark studies—that not only help delineate the conceptual and critical trajectory of our own compilation but also help to demarcate the remarkable academic...

  8. II Translating China

    • 3 Guo Songtao in London: An Unaccomplished Mission of Discovery
      (pp. 45-62)
      Qingsheng Tong

      Perhaps nothing is more symbolic and representative of a China Abroad than a resident Chinese embassy.

      On January 21, 1877, after fifty days at sea, Guo Songtao, the first Chinese ambassador to Britain, and his entourage arrived at Southampton. The British public was quick to realize that the establishment of a permanent Chinese embassy in London was an “event unprecedented in the history of the relations between China and foreign countries” and constituted “a proud page of British history.”¹ Inaugurating China’s modern diplomacy, Guo’s mission was a diplomatic one, but, in an important sense, it was also a journey of...

    • 4 Lu Xun, Cultural Internationalism, Leftist Periodicals and Literary Translation in the 1930s
      (pp. 63-82)
      Shuang Shen

      Literary translation is a much-discussed subject in Chinese studies, but, for reasons that demand investigation, translations of foreign literature into Chinese tend to get far more attention from Chinese studies scholars than translations of Chinese literature into foreign languages. This happens in spite of abundant evidence of a long history of translation and circulation of Chinese literature in the other direction, beyond linguistic and national borders. For example, according to Donald Gibbs and Yun-chen Li’s A Bibliography of Studies and Translations of Modern Chinese Literature, 1918–1942, anglophone translations of modern Chinese literature were done as early as during the...

  9. III China, Hong Kong, and Beyond

    • 5 Nationalism, Internationalism, the Cold War: Crossing Literary-Cultural Boundaries in 1950s Hong Kong
      (pp. 85-104)
      Elaine Yee Lin Ho

      In my introductory chapter to this collection, I discussed the emergence of New Confucianism in 1950s Hong Kong as a phenomenon of Chinese cultural nationalism in exile. Having lost their traditional homeland to what they considered as the alien creed of Communism, the four Confucian scholar-intellectuals reaffirmed their time-honored responsibility to Chinese society and culture through authoring the Manifesto. As a sign of the authors’ transition in between nation and diaspora, the Manifesto represents Confucianism as a Chinese and a world philosophy. It is New Confucianism’s position as an exiled philosophy in 1950s Hong Kong that gives it a specific...

    • 6 Southwards and Outwards: Representing Chineseness in New Locations in Hong Kong Films
      (pp. 105-120)
      Wendy Gan

      With the year 1997 approaching, images of outward-bound migrants leaving Hong Kong before the return of the colony to the mainland began to emerge with regularity in both commercial and art-house Hong Kong cinema.¹ Comrades: Almost a Love Story/Tian Mimi, released to critical and commercial success in 1996, is very much in this tradition as its protagonists, by the film’s end, find themselves settled outside Hong Kong in New York. Yet the film, despite the predictability of its ending, does capture an important but muchsidelined migratory movement in its narrative. In the focus on leaving Hong Kong, an earlier move...

  10. IV Chinese Cartographies in the World

    • 7 Translating and Transforming the American Dream: Jade Snow Wong’s Fifth Chinese Daughter and Gish Jen’s Typical American
      (pp. 123-138)
      Weimin Tang

      In addressing the recurring issue of identity formation, Stuart Hall speaks of the “four great decentrings in intellectual life and in Western thought that have helped to destabilize the question of identity” (Hall, “Ethnicity” 10). The first three of these “decentrings” are associated, respectively, with Marx’s location of the subject in relation to “a continuous dialectic or dialogic relationship” between the past and future, Freud’s location of the subject in relation to the unconscious, and Saussure’s location of the subject in relation to the differential function of language (11). Hall’s fourth decentring of identity concerns the critique of truth as...

    • 8 Diasporic Desires: Narrating Sexuality in the Memoirs of Shirley Geok-lin Lim and Li-Young Lee
      (pp. 139-154)
      Kenneth Chan

      “The subject of Asian American sexualities is more complex than any of the names we give it,” writes Russell Leong (1) in his introductory chapter to Asian American Sexualities, a seminal collection that reflected the growing importance of queer and sexuality studies within Asian American studies in the 1990s. This complexity arises from, firstly, the ethnic and cultural “heterogeneity, hybridity, and multiplicity,” to use Lisa Lowe’s formulation (L. Lowe 67), of Asian America; secondly, the fluid and multivalent possibilities of sexual desire, identification, and practices; and, thirdly, the cross-hatching of ethnicity and sexuality, where ethnicity informs and/or constrains sexual desire,...

    • 9 The Sino-Japanese Conflict of Asian American Literature
      (pp. 155-172)
      Colleen Lye

      In his introduction to the 2002 Penguin edition of The Flower Drum Song, David Henry Hwang proposes that, as the “first Chinese American novel to be released by an established publishing house,” its original publication in 1957 might well be viewed as “the birth of a new literary genre” (Hwang xvi, xvii). Hwang’s call for a reassessment of C. Y. Lee’s significance converses with current academic efforts to locate the earliest beginnings of Asian American literature. No fewer than fifty-eight prose books are known to have been published by authors of Chinese ancestry in the United States prior to the...

    • 10 Travels in the Body: Technologies of Waste in the Chinese Diaspora
      (pp. 173-190)
      Deborah L. Madsen

      The theme of toilets in particular, and waste in general, permeates the cultural production of the Chinese diaspora. This chapter analyzes the toilet as an element of material culture that usually remains invisible and yet in Chinese diasporic literature is assigned an important cultural value as a site for cross-cultural encounters.¹ It is interesting to note that other diasporic Asian literatures do not share this thematic emphasis, with the exception of South Asian texts that deal with the issue of caste and of the “untouchables” whose caste-prescribed duties include cleaning toilets. Mulk Raj Anand’s 1935 novel Untouchable is a classic...

    • 11 The Chinese and the White Man’s Burden in Indochina
      (pp. 191-208)
      Marie-Paule Ha

      One of the enduring legacies Frantz Fanon bequeathed to postcolonial studies is his powerfully scathing representation of the colonial world as a “Manichean” space unevenly inhabited by two different species of beings: the colonizer and the colonized, the white and the black, the settler and the native, the rich and the poor, and the oppressor and the oppressed. While this Manichean schema no doubt corresponds to the view many a colonialist had of the colonial world, it may not, however, do full justice to the exceedingly complex multi-ethnic and multicultural composition of many of the former colonies which are home...

    • 12 Affirming Cosmopolitanism? Chineseness and the Chinese Museum of Queensland
      (pp. 209-224)
      Tseen Khoo

      In a world of globalized capital where cosmopolitanism has become a discernible commodity, the expression of a society’s cultural diversity has taken on significant political and economic dimensions. For a nation such as Australia, with a very particular—some would say notorious—history in terms of its resistance to non-European migration and rigorous bouts of anti-Asian sentiment, asserting these traits has become a crucial part of the country’s cultural export strategy. Indeed, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade document about “selling” Australia’s culture stresses the goal of promoting “an image of a nation that is democratic, welcoming, vibrant, intelligent...

    • 13 Our Space? Ethnicity, Diaspora, and Online Life
      (pp. 225-242)
      David Parker

      The globally dispersed population of Chinese migrants and their descendants has attracted growing attention in discussions of transnational social practices. Chinese networks of capital investment, education acquisition, and familial accumulation are a force for social change in Asia, the Americas, and Europe (Ong and Nonini; Pan, Encyclopaedia). The transmission of the cultural cargoes through which Chinese and other migrants make sense of their lives has taken on new forms with the emergence of the Internet. Manuel Castells’s portrayal of the network society sees “the search for identity” in global flows of information and imagery as “the fundamental source of social...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 243-258)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 259-278)
  13. Index
    (pp. 279-289)