Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Nathaniel Isaacson’s Colonial Modernities & Chinese Science Fiction

Chinese Science Fiction & Colonial Modernities Dissertation Reviews has posted Paola Iovene‘s review of Nathaniel Isaacson‘s Colonial Modernities and Chinese Science Fiction. Here’s how it begins:

Nathaniel Isaacson’s study of Chinese science-related literature and popular culture from 1903 to 1934 asserts the centrality of science fiction to efforts at cultural renewal in the early twentieth century and beyond. The main claim of the dissertation is that science, fiction, and science fiction played a crucial role in facilitating empire building, and that Chinese sf writers were deeply anxious about co-opting Western means for their pedagogical goals. Based on the premise that in the West the genre is inspired by the imagination of the colonial Other, the dissertation investigates how imagination and knowledge of the Other shapes Chinese sf. Hence, it argues that orientalism, and more broadly, the material and ideological consequences of the encounter with the West, are the most salient elements defining Chinese sf.