Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Nick Admussen’s Parallel Publications

Translation Banks, Little Magazines & Online Venues Dissertation Reviews has posted Nick Admussen’s Talking Shop article “Parallel Publications: Translation Banks, Little Magazines, Online Venues.” Here’s how it begins:

Many scholars of East Asian Studies who are preparing dissertations based on archival research encounter, sooner rather than later, occasions for translation. Historians, political scientists, and literature scholars who are publishing outside their research language can rarely depend on prior work—Western-language communities simply have not translated a sufficient amount of material to allow for dissertations and monographs that exclusively cite previously completed translations. Some projects only require the scholar to summarize a few documents, or translate a sentence or two. Others translate so copiously that they serve as anthologies… This Talking Shop piece will give some options writers might consider, both during dissertation research and after, to make as much as possible out of the contribution that translation represents—even for those who don’t consider translation a stand-alone part of their intellectual or academic profile.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Youth Literature on the Sino-Japanese War, China, & US

Youth Literature on the Sino-Japanese War, China & US Dissertation Reviews has posted Steve Poland’s review of Chen Minjie’s dissertation, “Friends and Foes on the Battlefield: A Study of Chinese and U.S. Youth Literature about the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Here’s how it begins:

Youth literature is a powerful form of inter-generational storytelling, whereby one generation can pass along experiences of traumatic events to younger generations born into considerably different circumstances. In this capacity, youth literature also functions as a conduit of national myth-making and social reproduction, transforming a diverse multiplicity of individual lives into the recognizable types and tropes of desirable historical narratives. In her ambitious and insightful dissertation on the seventy-year role of youth literature in shaping postwar Chinese understanding of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Minjie Chen interrogates the nation’s authorization of who gets to tell the war story in two ways. First, as indicated in the subtitle of the dissertation, Chen uses a comparative framework to analyze the different ways youth literature in China and the United States has (or has not) offered ethnic Chinese youth a narrative connection to Chinese experiences of World War II. Second, Chen provocatively challenges the hegemony of male, conflict-centered youth literature in China by producing an oral history of the wartime experiences of women in Yunhe 云和, Zhejiang, demonstrating how a different trajectory for youth literature in China may have looked through the authorship of marginalized and excluded voices. The dissertation utilizes a variety of methodologies to show how youth literature (including lianhuanhua 连环画, or “popular pictorial reading material”) has over the course of seventy years contributed to both historical memories and amnesia surrounding the Second Sino-Japanese War that retain political, economic, and social significance today.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Sent-down Youth Literature in Post-Mao China

Sent-Down Youth Literature in Post-Mao China Dissertation Reviews has posted Zhu Yanhong’s review of Wang Yanjie’s dissertation, The “Sent-Down” Vision: Poetics and Politics of Zhiqing Literature in Post-Mao China. Here’s how it begins:

Zhiqing 知青 writers are often considered by literary critics as a generation who express a profound sense of nostalgia in their writing. Yanjie Wang’s dissertation The “Sent-down” Vision: Poetics and Politics of Zhiqing Literature in Post-Mao China is an insightful and probing study that challenges this conventional yet still prevalent view of zhiqing literature. Defining the zhiqing generation rather as rootless and displaced, Wang skillfully investigates what she calls the “sent-down” vision of the zhiqing writers. She convincingly demonstrates that such a vision is enabled and enriched by zhiqings’ decade-long rustication experience and that the past associated with the sent-down experience is invoked not simply to express nostalgic feelings but rather to offer a “critique of contemporary China’s massive modernization project” as driven by developmentalism, materialism, and consumerism (p. 1).

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Music & Prosody in Late Imerial China

Music & Prosody in Late Imperial China Dissertation Reviews has posted Ling Xiaoqiao’s review of Casey Schoenberger’s dissertation, Resonant Readings: Musicality in Early Modern Chinese Adaptations of Traditional Poetic Forms. Here’s how it begins:

This ambitious study focuses on details of music and prosody in late imperial China qu performance, with a focus on famed playwrights and drama critics such as Xu Wei 徐渭 (1521–1593) and Wang Jide 王驥德 (?–1623). A few key concepts are central to this study. The first is resonance: drama critics like Wang Jide adapt song lyrics (ci 詞) as surfaces, or templates, in order to evoke, from both audience and reader, sensory impressions of the physical body and physicality of performers with different divides in social class. Late imperial Chinese plays were also designed to “resonate” with the many aural qualities inscribed in musical and prosodic information. In terms of audience anticipation, psychological qualia is a term useful for exploring how musical melodies and rhymes, as well as linguistic accents and tones, shaped the experience of poetry meant to be sung. Ultimately, the poetic and musical ornament and artistry developed by these musicologically adept poets and playwrights contributed to the late Ming cultural life what could be best characterized as a sense of hybridity: the surplus of material culture and concomitant anxiety over expressive authenticity point to a hybridized tradition holding multiple modalities in one.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Cosmopolitanism & Cinema in Hongkong, Taiwan

Cosmopolitanism & Cinema in Hong Kong, Taiwan Dissertation Reviews has posted Kristof Van den Troost’s review of Brian Hu‘s Worldly Desires: Cosmopolitanism and Cinema in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Here’s how it begins:

Much of the growth in the field of Chinese cinema studies over the last two decades has been fuelled by a questioning of the category of Chinese cinema itself. With the national cinema paradigm considered outdated and inadequate, scholars have explored new ways to understand the film industries of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as well as the many transnational connections forged by Chinese filmmakers in an increasingly globalized world. Despite the wealth of research already produced on this topic, Brian Hu’s dissertation manages to break new ground, and makes an important theoretical intervention in the field. But Hu’s contribution goes further than this. Methodologically, he combines archival research and close readings of films with less explored avenues of research—particularly the study of film music, industrial texts, and audiences. Covering a period of more than sixty years (from the 1950s to the 2000s), Hu consistently looks at film genres, production cycles, and stars that have been relatively ignored, in the process offering a fresh perspective on Hong Kong and Taiwanese film history.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews — Shanghai: The Fun of Mapping Lies Reviews has posted Lena Scheen’s Talking Shop article “The Fun of Mapping Lies.” Here’s how it begins:

“You do realize what you are researching are works of fiction, don’t you?” she asked with a British accent, while her smile expressed a confusing mixture of sincere friendliness and wry skepticism. “Oh dear, are you telling me that all of these stories are based on lies?” I countered, in an attempt to both copy her British wit and hide my annoyance. Holding a glass of lukewarm orange juice in one hand and a soggy club sandwich in the other, I shifted my weight uncomfortably. We were standing in the staff room of a university. It was a spacious but soulless room: grey office furniture, two leather sofas, a wall with announcements. Judging by the yellowish hue of the paper and the curled corners of those announcements, most activities were already deep in the past. The atmosphere was close and oppressive and I looked around to see if I could open a window. What I really wanted to do was leave the room altogether.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Gender Politics in Chinese & Hollywood Films

Dissertation Reviews has posted Victor Fan’s review of Li Jinhua’s Transnational Remakes: Gender and Politics in Chinese Cinemas and Hollywood (1990-2009). Here’s how it begins:

Transnational remakes between Chinese cinema and Hollywood are not simply a matter of “lost in translation.” Rather, as each story is transplanted from one social, political, and cultural sphere to another, and a new paradigm of social values and narrational codes is actively constructed. Li Jinhua’s dissertation offers a thoughtful discussion on this matter by examining how the act of cross-cultural adaptation re-inscribes a new mode of femininity into the narrational process.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Poetics of Miscellaneousness in Southern Song

Poetics of Miscellaneousness in Southern Song Dissertation Reviews has posted Edwin van Bibber-Orr’s review of Liu Gang’s dissertation, The Poetics of Miscellaneousness: The Literary Design of Liu Yiqing’s Qiantang Yishi and the Historiography of the Southern Song. Here’s how it begins:

Gang Liu’s dissertation, The Poetics of Miscellaneousness: The Literary Design of Liu Yiqing’s Qiantang Yishi and the Historiography of the Southern Song, is an ambitious structural analysis of the Yuan biji 筆記 (“literally, brush notes” [p. 2]) text Qiantang yishi 錢塘遺事 (“Anecdotes of Qiantang”), by Liu Yiqing 劉一清 (ca. early 14th c.). Biji, Liu writes, is “a type of Chinese literature… whose miscellaneous content, accommodative structure, and flexible form often challenge our very conception of literary genre itself” (p. 2). Liu’s thorough introduction details the evolution of the biji genre in China and reviews scholarship in both China and the West; in his discussion of biji, Liu quotes Christian de Pee that the genre “stands in an implied contrast with a stabilizing center of imperial power, legitimate genres of written composition, and enduring civilization.” Liu points out that biji traditionally have been understood only as historical texts, and remarks that the special “literary qualities” (p. 30) of biji have mostly been ignored.

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Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Ding Yaokang & Ming-Qing Literature

Ding Yaokang & Ming-Qing Literature Dissertation Reviews has posted Casey Schoenberger’s review of Ling Xiaoqiao’s dissertation, Re-reading the Seventeenth Century: Ding Yaokang (1599-1669) and His Writings. Here’s how it begins:

Living through the final decades of the Ming Dynasty and the first decades of the Qing, Ding Yaokang 丁耀亢 experienced and participated in one of the most tumultuous yet artistically fruitful periods in China’s history. The Shandong scholar, teacher, essayist, poet, and playwright’s extant corpus further reveals a variety nearly unmatched among his contemporaries. Why, then, have so few scholars, especially in the West, engaged with Ding’s work to the same extent they have with that of his prolific southern predecessors and contemporaries Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 (1574-1645) and Li Yu 李漁 (1610-1680)? Xiaoqiao Ling’s dissertation, “Re-reading the Seventeenth Century: Ding Yaokang (1599-1669) and his Writings” answers this and other questions as it explores major themes in seventeenth-century intellectual life from the variety of angles Ding’s complex corpus provides.

Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: The Hong Kong Crime Film

Hong Kong Crime Film & Film Noir Dissertation Reviews has posted Yang Wei‘s review of Kristof van den Troost‘s dissertation, The Hong Kong Crime Film: Genre and Film Noir from the 1940s to the Present. Here’s how it begins:

Although an impressive amount of scholarship on Hong Kong cinema has been published in the last two decades, crime film as a genre has mostly evaded critical attention. Narrated in a keen, persuasive scholarly voice, Kristof Van den Troost’s Hong Kong Crime Film fills this gap by establishing the general lines of this important Hong Kong genre since its early inception in the 1940s. At the heart of this genre-oriented approach lies the author’s fundamental mistrust of the predominant academic practice in Hong Kong cultural studies, one that privileges the importance of 1997 and its impact on local identities. The single-mindedness of this approach often prompts scholars to find political corollaries in given film productions. Granted that no film can be truly independent of ideology and the dominant mechanism of socio-economic productions, the challenge here is to avoid overreaching, a mission the author suggests many have failed in various degrees. Common problems include “treating a film (or a select group of films) as a direct representation of society” and “singling out one film for a political analysis.” As a result, studies on Hong Kong cinema have become “more [focused] on ‘Hong Kong’ than on its cinema,” with many significant aspects of Hong Kong cinema, including the historical study of genres, remaining virtually unexplored.