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Pi Kyunghoon

Throughout the history of modern and contemporary China, the concept of “science” maintains a crucial significance. Since the May Fourth period, “science” represented the advanced civilization and culture of the West. Because of its critical role, quarrels over the question of science were abundant in China in the years after the Cultural Revolution, notably in the “debates on humanism and science” (kexue lunzheng). Following that, scientific Marxism, which is based on natural dialectics, surpassed other discourses to become of dominated importance to the intellectual discourses of post-Mao China. Scientific Marxism was considered the highest form of truth in revolutionary China, when transcendental truth reigned supreme. Following the Cultural Revolution, intellectuals embracing scientific thought sought to locate “another science” with which to replace scientific Marxism. Addressing an understudied yet crucial aspect of 1980s intellectual history, this paper explores the central ideas and discourses of scientism in this historical moment, as well as the intellectuals who took part in its construction and controversy.

Sheldon Pollock

example, at any of the universities in India’s capital city (despite Hindi’s being India’s rashtrabhasha , or national language); Persian has virtually disappeared as an academic subject, and even Sanskrit boasts few scholars of the stature of those of the pre-Independence era. Rare is the Indian (or

Imperial and Philological Encounters in the Early Modern Era

European Readings of the Codex Mendoza

Adrien Delmas

more precisely on the history of a single text produced in this imperial context, the Codex Mendoza , and the different interpretations to which it was subjected in Europe after crossing the Atlantic [Fig. 1]. figure 1 Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza. 1 Read After Burning The Codex Mendoza was

Luying Chen

This article analyzes scenes of media and redemption in Zhang Yimou’s 张艺谋 film Qianli zou danqi 千里走单骑 (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, 2005) as a critique of Romantic Orientalism. Whereas in Western Romantic poetry, the themes of retreating to nature and journeying abroad are strengthened by imagining the Orient and appropriating the local voice, Riding Alone negates that motif by depicting the divided subjectivities of Kenichi, a historian of Oriental Art at Tokyo University, and his failed redemption during his journey to China. The film offers his father Takata’s alternative journey, which involves the foreign traveler losing his subject position before asserting his own, leading to the revival of the Lord Guan story. Much of the historical myth-making of Lord Guan in Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian religious practices involves a reinvention of a cultural tradition as a response to foreign threat; all share the features of what Prasenjit Duara calls “the apotheosization of a hero and his role as guardian” in a process of the “superscription of symbols.” By contrast, Riding Alone is secular and forward-thinking while reenacting several meanings of the Lord Guan myth such as repentance, sacrifice, redemption, and guardianship. The film interpolates the Japanese into a new “Oriental” subject position that has to lose its Western Orientalism as well as the negative impact of industrialism while retaining democratic subjectivity, and the Chinese into a new democratic subject position that maintains autonomy.

Myth Superscription in Zhang Yimou’s Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

FAN Boqun

Haishang hua liezhuan is a distinctive marker of the transition from traditional to modern Chinese literature. No matter whether one looks at its choice of subject matter, character depiction, use of language, artistic technique, or even its publication channels, in every aspect this work’s originality shines through, illustrating how Chinese literature, even without the influence of foreign literary trends, also could walk the road towards modernization, because it possessed the innate dynamic towards it. The Haishang hua liezhuan is thus an excellent representative of popular fiction, one which—a quarter century before the emergence of the New Literature Movement—quietly ushered Chinese literature into modernity.

SHEN Jinhao

The cane is a frequent subject in Song Literature. Its tremendous variety is starting. Meanwhile, cane-related materials, costumes, circumstances and activities reflect distinct inclination, carrying rich cultural and aesthetic implications. From the “cane literature,” we see clearly the evolution of worldviews, values, aesthetic tastes and literary claims of Song writers, as well as the selective inheritance of Song culture from preceding literatures. It can be concluded that, in a certain sense, the cane of ancient Chinese writers embodies a history of literature, of aesthetic, and of philosophy.

Xiaoping Wang

Suzhou River, a 2000 film directed by Lou Ye, explores several tragic love stories set in Shanghai around the transitional period of 1980s and 1990s. Many critics have praised its technical excellence, yet generally they have not paid sufficient attention to its subject matter. This paper departs from previous interpretations of the film, which have tended to be premised on superficial readings of the plotline, and contends that the work constitutes a poignant socio-political critique, which is conveyed through the construction of differing love stories set against a changing socio-cultural landscape. The past and the present incarnations of the cardinal female protagonist—who can be understood as a symbol for the average Chinese (woman)—suggest the fact that the society has transformed dramatically across the three disparate eras of the past half a century; accordingly, the identity of the Chinese also shifts tremendously. In this way, Lou Ye in effect constructs a diachronic re-presentation of the changing social mores and varied cultural ethos in a synchronic structure, which is subject to be read as an ingenious historical allegory.

Richard John Lynn


Huang Zunxian, member of the staff of the Qing legation in Tokyo (1877–82), became acquainted with prominent Japanese literati (bunjin). His experiences provide a window of information and insight into the cultural atmosphere of early Meiji Japan and the attitude of progressive and Chinese intellectuals then resident there. With the skills of a literatus, Huang had access to the modes of discourse and thought of his hosts, so formed discriminating views of almost all aspects of Japanese life in an era of change. His experience is captured in some 200 quatrains in the two editions of his Riben zashi shi (Poems on miscellaneous subjects from Japan, 1879 and 1890), whose contents overlap to include different poems and different versions of same poems. The poems were intended to have more than literary impact—to enlighten those in power in China by casting Japan in a positive light and promote Japan as a model for reform and modernization. Huang linked Japanese tradition with the Chinese, which he did in poems emphasizing their common high culture. The scope of the poems is quite broad: Japanese history and geography, Sino-Japanese cultural relations, Chinese culture in Japan, poetry (kanshi) and prose (kanbun), painting and calligraphy, Confucianism and Buddhism, the Meiji Restoration and modernization, new political and social institutions, the Diet, local government, political parties, museums, taxation, education reform, women’s education. Many subjects were unknown to earlier tradition but now topical and urgent as China began to shed old ways and embrace the new.

Tsung-Cheng Lin


Chen Sanli broke the conventional stereotypes, regulations and structural limitations of past poetry to create innovations in poetic form, as well as adopting a variety of writing devices such as the transformed metaphors and the abstruse diction. Within these invented poetic forms, converted metaphors and recondite diction, Chen Sanli experiments with new subject matters which were unprecedented in poetry before his time, and convey his psychological reactions such as oppression, anxiety, helplessness, fear, despair, and confusion toward the change and upheaval. All the poetic forms, metaphors, linguistic devices and emotions in Chen’s verse have a great impact on modern Chinese literature. This paper aims to examine how Chen’s verse promoted classical Chinese poetic tradition but also contributed to the transition from traditional to modern literature.


The May Fourth “new literature” appeared in the early twentieth century China while the avant-garde was sweeping over the West. Both could be defined as radical literary movements by such characteristics as storming criticism of politics, subversive standpoints on traditional culture, language experiments for thoroughly novel forms and criticism with the aestheticism for l’art pour l’art (art for art’s sake). The avant-garde elements in the new literature, by contrast, are believed able to help us see two kinds of shifts in the course of twentiethcentury literature, that is, to see how it shifted from classical to modern literature in the last century: one change was the natural flow of the mainstream literature, subject to the social development and changes, and the other is an avant-garde movement that took a radical stance against the status quo, and was led by ideals of social reforms aiming to realize beyond the generation.