A study of the global flow of US-based svod s, and their absence or presence within domestic media ecosystems, allows us to move beyond universalist approaches in platform studies. Starting with an analysis of the politics of Netflix’s absence from Iran’s media landscape, this article studies the contribution of domestic svod s to the diversification of the Iranian movie culture. It argues that filtering Netflix in Iran is part of a long history of content regulation and the state’s plan to support local platforms. The dynamic informal circulation networks in Iran also pose challenges for foreign svod s.
Focusing on domestic platforms like Filimo, the article argues that they became part of a national project to battle piracy domestically. Iran’s laws as a non-signatory of international treaties on intellectual property, however, allow them to acquire foreign films through informal markets, situating these platforms in an ambiguous state in between formal and informal services.
Within the last decade alone different distribution platforms have emerged in the Nigerian movie industry. One of the most notable and potent among these is Netflix. Employing Disruptive Innovation Theory (dit) as notional scaffolding, this article uses key informant interviews (kii) and focus group discussions (fgd) to examine what Netflix’s engagement in Nollywood means in terms of the viability of other distribution outlets. It investigates the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ sides of the Nollywood-Netflix relationship from the Nigerian audience perspective to give an understanding that can contribute to Nollywood’s healthy expansion. The study argues that the emergence of Netflix leaves many Nollywood content creators (ncc s) begging for acceptance when their content is adjudged inconsequential. This must be creatively challenged and negotiated through ncc s and distributors using available technologies to improve production values, set up and collaboratively operate multiple online distribution platforms for the Nigerian audience’s satisfaction.
Invented in sixteenth-century Europe, the “ideographic myth”—the notion that all Chinese written characters are pictorial—has long been used either to romanticize or denigrate Chinese language and culture compared to those of the West. This article examines the many incarnations of this myth spanning more than half a century: from the Fenollosa-Poundian theory of the Chinese character and Ezra Pound’s reformulation of his Vorticist-Imagist ideals in the early twentieth century to the Imagist influence on modern Chinese poetry in the 1910s–1920s, and Sinologists’ reinterpretations of traditional Chinese poetry in the 1970s. Originated from Xu Shen’s 許慎 (30–124) Shuowen jiezi 說文解字 (Explanations of Simple and Compound Characters) in China, indiscreet ideogrammic explanations of Chinese characters made their way first to Japan, then through Fenollosa and Pound to the United States, and then back to China, marking the beginning of the age of international travel as well as a new model of cultural connectivity not limited to geographic boundaries. As an interesting case from a cultural export to a cultural import, the pictorial myth reinvented by Fenollosa and Pound, together with its incarnations, turned out to be beneficial to all cultures involved along its rapid but complex route of transmission. Both insights and errors arising therefrom not only helped modernist poets revolutionize their poetry in both China and the West but also inspired Sinologists to reinterpret traditional Chinese poetry from the perspective of the Chinese written character, especially the primacy of its sound.
The chapter brings together Maxine Hong Kingston’s (1940–) Woman Warrior (1976) and Patricia Galvão’s (1910–1962) Industrial Park (1933) to comparatively analyze their literary constructions of Chinese female migrants from the perspective of political economy. Hong Kingston is canonized in Asian American literature and Patricia Galvão is a celebrated Brazilian author. However, rarely are they comparatively read. Bringing together their literary depictions about Chinese women in early-twentieth century US and Brazilian economic contexts opens new possibilities to bring together these literary traditions to make visible connected economic histories about Asian labor migration and gender construction in the Americas.
In 1918, the famous Russian writer Maksim Gorky took the founding of the publishing enterprise Vsemirnaia Literatura (“World Literature” in Russian), as an opportunity to envision a body of world literature for the Soviet Union. Fusing Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s theory of Weltliteratur with the Marxian commodity of universal literature, Gorky’s project took shape through a tireless collective effort of translation. Great Russian poets such as Anna Akhmatova were drafted into the national project to translate poetry into Russian—including classical Chinese poetry, which would serve to introduce Oriental literature to Soviet readers. With no knowledge of Chinese, Russian poets had to rely on preliminary translations by sinologists in Russia; consequently, the translation of Chinese poetry in the Soviet Union represents a complex negotiation involving not only classical Chinese and contemporary Soviet poets, but also the language experts who bridged the two worlds. This paper analyzes the translations by Russian poets Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, and Aleksandr Gitovich of the acclaimed Chinese poet Li Bai 李白 (701–762), in order to trace the convoluted journey by which Chinese poetry arrived on Russian soil. By examining how Russian poets struggled with significant language differences and tackled “untranslatable” elements in classical Chinese poetry, including rhyme and allusions, this paper attempts to capture key moments of localization and foreignization in the three poets’ translations.
This essay explores how Pascal Quignard’s (1948–) and Michèle Métail’s (1950–) Chinese-inspired writings contribute to French literary engagements with China. I discuss Quignard’s re-writing of ancient Chinese texts via stylistic cannibalization and semi-fictitious translation, and Métail’s fusion of sinology with poetry in her scholarly and creative practices. Both writers reinvent Chinese literature and culture in ways that eschew Orientalist assumptions and exoticist images, proposing a culturally egalitarian relation between East and West and a de-exoticized vision of China. This suggests a post-Orientalist turn in the epistemological conditions and literary strategies of contemporary French representations of Chinese culture.
Growing up in China and writing in English, the prolific American writer Pearl S. Buck introduced China to a wide range of western readers. This paper examines the connections between Pearl Buck’s writings and the Chinese literary tradition. Particularly, how her novels resemble the rhetoric of women-authored tanci. Buck transformed narrative strategies from classical Chinese literature. Additionally, sharing the burdens of female authors, she added a female perspective to emphasize on the unique feminine experiences of her characters, which echoes female tanci writers’ efforts to make their own voices heard. Exploring the cross-cultural encounters in Buck’s writing career and in her works, this paper presents how people even in unequal power relations can impact each other, thus shifting the assumed colonial gaze and altering the one-dimensional perspective in globalization.
This article studies how the Dutch sinologist Robert van Gulik absorbed the rich materials of classical Chinese popular literature and reinvented the original character of Judge Dee as a Chinese detective welcomed by Western readers. I argue that in the Judge Dee series, van Gulik not only made use of many elements of Chinese culture, including superstition, religion, crime and justice, sexuality, and illustrations, but more importantly, he reinvented the narrative method of classical Chinese fiction, shedding light on the deep philosophical and ethical ideas behind the unique narratology.