Search results for: lure-of-the-modern

The Lure of the Modern

Author : Shu-mei Shih
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Shu-mei Shih's study is the first book in English to offer a comprehensive account of Chinese literary modernism from Republican China. In The Lure of the Modern, Shih argues for the contextualization of Chinese modernism in the semicolonial cultural and political formation of the time. Engaging critically with theories of modernism, postcoloniality, and global and local cultural studies, Shih analyzes pivotal issues—such as psychoanalysis, decadence, Orientalism, Occidentalism, semicolonial subjectivity, cosmopolitanism, and urbanism—that were mediated by Japanese as well as Western modernisms.

Lure of the Modern

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Feminism Women s Agency and Communication in Early Twentieth Century China

Author : Qiliang He
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Feminism, Women’s Agency, and Communication in Early Twentieth-Century China focuses on a sensational elopement in the Yangzi Delta in the late 1920s to explore how middle- and lower-class members of society gained access to and appropriated otherwise alien and abstract enlightenment theories and idioms about love, marriage, and family. Via a network of communications that connected people of differing socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, non-elite women were empowered to display their new womanhood and thereby exercise their self-activating agency to mount resistance to China’s patriarchal system. Qiliang He’s text also investigates the proliferation of anti-feminist conservatisms in legal practice, scholarly discourses, media, and popular culture in the early Nanjing Decade (1927-1937). Utilizing a framework of interdisciplinary scholarship, this book traverses various fields such as legal history, women’s history, popular culture/media studies, and literary studies to explore urban discourse and communication in 1920s China.

Dandyism and Transcultural Modernity

Author : Hsiao-yen Peng
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This book views the Neo-Sensation mode of writing as a traveling genre, or style, that originated in France, moved on to Japan, and then to China. The author contends that modernity is possible only on "the transcultural site"—transcultural in the sense of breaking the divide between past and present, elite and popular, national and regional, male and female, literary and non-literary, inside and outside. To illustrate the concept of transcultural modernity, three icons are highlighted on the transcultural site: the dandy, the flaneur, and the translator. Mere flaneurs and flaneurses simply float with the tide of heterogeneous information on the transcultural site, whereas the dandy/flaneur and the cultural translator, propellers of modernity, manage to bring about transformative creation. Their performance marks the essence of transcultural modernity: the self-consciousness of working on the threshold, always testing the limits of boundaries and tempted to go beyond them. To develop the concept of dandyism—the quintessence of transcultural modernity—the Neo-Sensation gender triad formed by the dandy, the modern girl, and the modern boy is laid out. Writers discussed include Liu Na’ou, a Shanghai dandy par excellence from Taiwan, Paul Morand, who looked upon Coco Chanel the female dandy as his perfect other self, and Yokomitsu Riichi, who developed the theory of Neo-Sensation from Kant’s the-thing-in-itself.

Empire of Texts in Motion

Author : Karen Laura Thornber
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By the turn of the twentieth century, Japan’s military and economic successes made it the dominant power in East Asia, drawing hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese students to the metropole and sending thousands of Japanese to other parts of East Asia. The constant movement of peoples, ideas, and texts in the Japanese empire created numerous literary contact nebulae, fluid spaces of diminished hierarchies where writers grapple with and transculturate one another’s creative output. Drawing extensively on vernacular sources in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, this book analyzes the most active of these contact nebulae: semicolonial Chinese, occupied Manchurian, and colonial Korean and Taiwanese transculturations of Japanese literature. It explores how colonial and semicolonial writers discussed, adapted, translated, and recast thousands of Japanese creative works, both affirming and challenging Japan’s cultural authority. Such efforts not only blurred distinctions among resistance, acquiescence, and collaboration but also shattered cultural and national barriers central to the discourse of empire. In this context, twentieth-century East Asian literatures can no longer be understood in isolation from one another, linked only by their encounters with the West, but instead must be seen in constant interaction throughout the Japanese empire and beyond.

Dimensions of Originality

Author : Katharine P Burnett
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This book investigates the issue of conceptual originality in art criticism of the seventeenth century, a period in which China dynamically reinvented itself. In art criticism, the term which was called upon to indicate conceptual originality more than any other was "qi", literally, "different"; but secondarily, "odd," like a number and by extension, "the novel," and "extraordinary." This work finds that originality, expressed through visual difference, was a paradigmatic concern of both artists and critics. Burnett speculates on why many have dismissed originality as a possible "traditional Chinese" value, and the ramifications this has had on art historical understanding. She further demonstrates that a study of individual key terms can reveal social and cultural values and provides a linear history of the increase in critical use of "qi" as "originality" from the fifth through the seventeenth centuries, exploring what originality looks like in artworks by members of the gentry elite and commoner classes, and explains how the value lost its luster at the end of the seventeenth century.

Chinese Modernity and Global Biopolitics

Author : Sheldon H. Lu
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This ambitious work is a multimedia, interdisciplinary study of Chinese modernity in the context of globalization from the late nineteenth century to the present. Sheldon Lu draws on Chinese literature, film, art, photography, and video to broadly map the emergence of modern China in relation to the capitalist world-system in the economic, social, and political realms. Central to his study is the investigation of biopower and body politics, namely, the experience of globalization on a personal level. Lu first outlines the trajectory of the body in modern Chinese literature by focusing on the adventures, pleasures, and sufferings of the male (and female) body in the writings of selected authors. He then turns to avant-garde and performance art, tackling the physical self more directly through a consideration of work that takes the body as its very theme, material, and medium. In an exploration of mass visual culture, Lu analyzes artistic reactions to the multiple, uneven effects of globalization and modernization on both the physical landscape of China and the interior psyche of its citizens. This is followed by an inquiry into contemporary Chinese urban space in popular cinema and experimental photography and art. Examples are offered that capture the daily lives of contemporary Chinese as they struggle to make the transition from the vanishing space of the socialist lifestyle to the new capitalist economy of commodities. Lu reexamines the history and implications of China’s belated integration into the capitalist world system before closing with a postscript that traces the genealogy of the term "postsocialism" and points to the real relevance of the idea for the investigation of everyday life in China in the twenty-first century.

Dwelling in the World

Author : Elizabeth LaCouture
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By the early twentieth century, Chinese residents of the northern treaty-port city of Tianjin were dwelling in the world. Divided by nine foreign concessions, Tianjin was one of the world’s most colonized and cosmopolitan cities. Residents could circle the globe in an afternoon, strolling from a Chinese courtyard house through a Japanese garden past a French Beaux-Arts bank to dine at a German café and fall asleep in a British garden city-style semi-attached brick house. Dwelling in the World considers family, house, and home in Tianjin to explore how tempos and structures of everyday life changed with the fall of the Qing Empire and the rise of a colonized city. Elizabeth LaCouture argues that the intimate ideas and practices of the modern home were more important in shaping the gender and status identities of Tianjin’s urban elites than the new public ideology of the nation. Placing the Chinese home in a global context, she challenges Euro-American historical notions that the private sphere emerged from industrialization. She argues that concepts of individual property rights that emerged during the Republican era became foundational to state-society relations in early Communist housing reforms and in today’s middle-class real estate boom. Drawing on diverse sources from municipal archives, women’s magazines, and architectural field work to social surveys and colonial records, Dwelling in the World recasts Chinese social and cultural history, offering new perspectives on gender and class, colonialism and empire, visual and material culture, and technology and everyday life.

Democracy s Children

Author : John McGowan
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How do American intellectuals try to achieve their political and social goals? By what means do they articulate their hopes for change? John McGowan seeks to identify the goals and strategies of contemporary humanistic intellectuals who strive to shape the politics and culture of their time. In a lively mix of personal reflection and shrewd analysis, McGowan visits the sites of intellectual activity (scholarly publications, professional conferences, the classroom, and the university) and considers the hazards of working within such institutional contexts to effect change outside the academy. Democracy's Children considers the historical trajectory that produced current intellectual practices. McGowan links the growing prestige of "culture" since 1800 to the growth of democracy and the obsession with modernity and explores how intellectuals became both custodians and creators of culture. Caught between fears of culture's irrelevance and dreams of its omnipotence, intellectuals pursue a cultural politics that aims for wide-ranging social transformations. For better or worse, McGowan says, the humanities are now tied to culture and to the university. The opportunities and frustrations attendant on this partnership resonate with the larger successes and failures of contemporary democratic societies. His purpose in this collection of essays is to illuminate the conditions under which intellectuals in a democracy work and at the same time to promote intellectual activities that further democratic ideals.

Women and China s Revolutions

Author : Gail Hershatter
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Using gender as its analytic lens, this deeply knowledgeable text illuminates the places where the Big History of China’s past two centuries intersects with the daily lives of ordinary people. Based on formidable scholarship, Gail Hershatter’s beautifully written book will be essential reading for all students of China’s modern history.