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Neo-Victorian Cities

Reassessing Urban Politics and Poetics

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Edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

This volume explores the complex aesthetic, cultural, and memory politics of urban representation and reconfiguration in neo-Victorian discourse and practice. Through adaptations of traditional city tropes – such as the palimpsest, the labyrinth, the femininised enigma, and the marketplace of desire – writers, filmmakers, and city planners resurrect, preserve, and rework nineteenth-century metropolises and their material traces while simultaneously Gothicising and fabricating ‘past’ urban realities to serve present-day wants, so as to maximise cities’ potential to generate consumption and profits. Within the cultural imaginary of the metropolis, this volume contends, the nineteenth century provides a prominent focalising lens that mediates our apperception of and engagement with postmodern cityscapes. From the site of capitalist romance and traumatic lieux de mémoire to theatre of postcolonial resistance and Gothic sensationalism, the neo-Victorian city proves a veritable Proteus evoking myriad creative responses but also crystallising persistent ethical dilemmas surrounding alienation, precarity, Othering, and social exclusion.

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Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru

This book starts with a consideration of a 1997 issue of the New Yorker that celebrated fifty years of Indian independence, and goes on to explore the development of a pattern of performance and performativity in contemporary Indian fiction in English (Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Vikram Chandra). Such fiction, which constructs identity through performative acts, is built around a nomadic understanding of the self and implies an evolution of narrative language towards performativity whereby the text itself becomes nomadic. A comparison with theatrical performance (Peter Brook’s Mahabharata and Girish Karnad’s ‘theatre of roots’) serves to support the argument that in both theatre and fiction the concepts of performance and performativity transform classical Indian mythic poetics. In the mythic symbiosis of performance and storytelling in Indian tradition within a cyclical pattern of estrangement from and return to the motherland and/or its traditions, myth becomes a liberating space of consciousness, where rigid categories and boundaries are transcended.

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Edited by Benjamin A. Elman

The authors consider new views of the classical versus vernacular dichotomy that are especially central to the new historiography of China and East Asian languages. Based on recent debates initiated by Sheldon Pollock’s findings for South Asia, we examine alternative frameworks for understanding East Asian languages between 1000 and 1919. Using new sources, making new connections, and re-examining old assumptions, we have asked whether and why East and SE Asian languages (e.g., Chinese, Manchu, Mongolian, Jurchen, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese) should be analysed in light of a Eurocentric dichotomy of Latin versus vernaculars. This discussion has encouraged us to explore whether European modernity is an appropriate standard at all for East Asia. Individually and collectively, we have sought to establish linkages between societies without making a priori assumptions about the countries’ internal structures or the genealogy of their connections.
Contributors include: Benjamin Elman; Peter Kornicki; John Phan; Wei Shang; Haruo Shirane; Mårten Söderblom Saarela; Daniel Trambaiolo; Atsuko Ueda; Sixiang Wang.



Representing Empire

Japanese Colonial Literature in Taiwan and Manchuria

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Ying Xiong

In Representing Empire Ying Xiong examines Japanese-language colonial literature written by Japanese expatriate writers in Taiwan and Manchuria. Drawing on a wide range of Japanese and Chinese sources, Representing Empire reveals not only a nuanced picture of Japanese literary terrain but also the interplay between imperialism, nationalism, and Pan-Asianism in the colonies.

While the existing literature on Japanese nationalism has largely remained within the confines of national history, by using colonial literature as an example, Ying Xiong demonstrates that transnational forces shaped Japanese nationalism in the twentieth century.

With its multidisciplinary and comparative approach, Representing Empire adds to a growing body of literature that challenges traditional interpretations of Japanese nationalism and national literary canon.

Representing Empire is an outstanding accomplishment, at once making clearer and complicating our understandings of the literary worlds of Manchuria and Taiwan, and the greater imperial empire within which all were transformed. … add[s] substantially to the ways in which Japan’s empire and twentieth century East Asian history more generally might be interpreted.”
Norman Smith, University of Guelph, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture Resource Center Publication (February, 2015)

China and Its Others

Knowledge Transfer through Translation, 1829-2010

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Edited by James St. André and Hsiao-yen PENG

This volume brings together some of the latest research by scholars from the UK, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to examine a variety of issues relating to the history of translation between China and Europe, aimed at increasing dialogue between Chinese studies and translation studies. Covering the nineteenth century to the present, the essays tackle a number of important issues, including the role of relay translation, hybridity and transculturation, methods for the incorporation of foreign words and concepts, the problems entailed by the importation of foreign paradigms and epistemes, the role of public institutions, the issue of agency, and the role of metaphors to conceptualize translation. By examining the dissemination of certain key terms from the West to the East, often through pivotal languages, and by laying bare the transformation of knowledge conveyed through these terms, the essays go well beyond the “difference and similarity” comparison model in the investigation of East-West relations, demonstrating that transcultural hybridity is a more meaningful topic to pursue. Moreover, they demonstrate how the translator, always working simultaneously under several domestic and foreign institutions, needs to resort to “selection, deletion and compromise”, in other words personal free choice, when negotiating among institutional powers.

Transgressive Transcripts

Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Chinese Canadian Women’s Writing

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Bennett Yu-Hsiang Fu

Transgressive Transcripts examines the construction of women’s subjectivity and the textual production of Canadian female voices orchestrated in history, culture, ethnicity, and sexuality. The book, stressing the dissemination and re-inscription of femaleness and femininity in Chinese Canadian history, employs critical models that defy the sexual/textual imaginary of the Canadian literary scene. Four fields of study are conjoined: feminist theories of the body, gender and sexuality studies, women’s writing, and Asian North Amer¬ican studies. Analysing four writers, SKY Lee, Larissa Lai, Lydia Kwa, and Evelyn Lau, the book anchors its thematic and theoretical concern with female sexuality in the context of Chinese Canadian writing. Feminist narratives and gender politics in contemporary Asian North American literature are highlighted via the trope of ‘transgression’.

China Fictions / English Language

Literary Essays in Diaspora, Memory, Story

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Edited by A. Robert Lee

The world is anything but unfamiliar with diaspora: Jewish, African, Armenian, Roma-Gipsy, Filipino/a, Tamil, Irish or Italian, even Japanese. But few have carried so global a resonance as that of China. What, then, of literary-cultural expression, the huge body of fiction which has addressed itself to that plurality of lives and geographies and which has come to be known as “After China”? This collection of essays offers bearings on those written in English, and in which both memory and story are central, spanning the USA to Australia, Canada to the UK, Hong Kong to Singapore, with yet others of more transnational nature.
This collection opens with a reprise of woman-authored Chinese American fiction using Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan as departure points. In turn follow readings of the oeuvres of Tan and Frank Chin. A comparative essay takes up novels by Canadian, American and Australian authors from the perspective of migrancy as fracture. Chinese Canada comes into view in accounts of SKY Lee, Wayson Choy, Evelyn Lau and Larissa Lai. Australia under Chinese literary auspices is given a comparative mapping through the fiction of Brian Castro and Ouyang Yu. The English language “China fiction” of Singapore and Hong Kong is located in essays centred, respectively, on Martin Booth and Po Wah Lam, and Hwee Hwee Tan and Colin Cheong. The collection rounds out with portraits of Timothy Mo as British transnational author, a selection of contextual Chinese British stories and art, and the phenomenon of “Chinese Chick Lit” novels. China Fictions/English Language will be of interest to readers drawn both to “After China” as diasporic literary heritage and comparative literature in general.

Genres of Modernity

Contemporary Indian Novels in English

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Dirk Wiemann

Genres of Modernity maps the conjunctures of critical theory and literary production in contemporary India. The volume situates a sample of representative novels in the discursive environment of the ongoing critical debate on modernity in India, and offers for the first time a rigorous attempt to hold together the stimulating impulses of postcolonial theory, subaltern studies and the boom of Indian fiction in English. In opposition to the entrenched narrative of modernity as a single, universally valid formation originating in the West, the theoretical and literary texts under discussion engage in a shared project of refiguring the present as a site of heterogeneous genres of modernity. The book traces these figurative efforts with particular attention to the treatment of two privileged metonymies of modernity: the issues of time and home in Indian fiction. Combining close readings of literary texts from Salman Rushdie to Kiran Nagarkar with a wide range of philosophical, sociological and historiographic reflections, Genres of Modernity is of interest not only for students of postcolonial literatures but for academics in the fields of Cultural Studies at large.

Nightmare Japan

Contemporary Japanese Horror Cinema

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Jay McRoy

Over the last two decades, Japanese filmmakers have produced some of the most important and innovative works of cinematic horror. At once visually arresting, philosophically complex, and politically charged, films by directors like Tsukamoto Shinya ( Tetsuo: The Iron Man [1988] and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer [1992]), Sato Hisayasu ( Muscle [1988] and Naked Blood [1995]) Kurosawa Kiyoshi ( Cure [1997], Séance [2000], and Kaïro [2001]), Nakata Hideo ( Ringu [1998], Ringu II [1999], and Dark Water [2002]), and Miike Takashi ( Audition [1999] and Ichi the Killer [2001]) continually revisit and redefine the horror genre in both its Japanese and global contexts. In the process, these and other directors of contemporary Japanese horror film consistently contribute exciting and important new visions, from postmodern reworkings of traditional avenging spirit narratives to groundbreaking works of cinematic terror that position depictions of radical or ‘monstrous’ alterity/hybridity as metaphors for larger socio-political concerns, including shifting gender roles, reconsiderations of the importance of the extended family as a social institution, and reconceptualisations of the very notion of cultural and national boundaries.

Dutch Colonialism and Indonesian Islam

Contacts and Conflicts 1596-1950. Second Revised Edition

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Karel Steenbrink

This book tells the story of the contacts and conflicts between muslims and christians in Southeast Asia during the Dutch colonial history from 1596 until 1950. The author draws from a great variety of sources to shed light on this period: the letters of the colonial pioneer Jan Pietersz. Coen, the writings of 17th century Dutch theologians, the minutes of the Batavia church council, the contracts of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) with the sultans in the Indies, documents from the files of colonial civil servants from the 19th and 20th centuries, to mention just a few. The colonial situation was not a good starting-point for a religious dialogue. With Dutch power on the increase there was even less understanding for the religion of the muslims . In 1620 J.P. Coen, the strait-laced calvinist, had actually a better understanding and respect for the muslims than the liberal colonial leaders from the early 20th century, convinced as they were of western supremacy.