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China Abroad

Travels, Subjects, Spaces

Edited by Elaine Yee Lin Ho ,Julia Kuehn

Publication Year: 2009

The book seeks to address how movements across cultures shape the different ways in which China and Chineseness have been imagined and represented since the beginning of the last century. In so doing, it aims to offer an overview of the debate about Chineseness as it has emerged in different global locations.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xii

The challenge of the phrase “China abroad” is as timely as its richness is inexhaustible, and I want to begin my brief remarks by saluting the editors and contributors of this anthology for opening up this enormously suggestive intellectual space. What they have provided here is nothing short of an ongoing agenda for interdisciplinary research. From the debates on diasporic...

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pp. xiii

We would like to thank the contributors to the volume who responded to our invitations to submit papers with such generosity and promptness, and whose collegiality we have come to rely on in the months that it took us to put this volume together. Special thanks are due to Rey Chow for her encouragement and agreeing to write a Foreword, and to Pheng Cheah and Robert Young for...


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pp. xv-xvii

Part I. Introduction

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1. China Abroad: Nation and Diaspora in a Chinese Frame

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pp. 3-21

As a project, China Abroad is situated within a contemporary scholarly and theoretical dialogue on nation and diaspora and the unstable relations between the two. It seeks to address a number of critical issues raised in this dialogue, and how these issues pertain to the different ways in which China and Chineseness have been imagined and represented in the last century. In so...

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2 - China Abroad: Between Transnation and Translation

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pp. 23-41

China Abroad succeeds a small number of anthologies on the Chinese diaspora, Chinese transnationalism, Chinese travels, migration and cosmopolitanism, and the changing notion of Chineseness throughout history and, especially, in today’s globalized world. This intellectual heritage calls for a rationalization of our own title, as does the seemingly careless confl ation of critical concepts...

Part II. Translating China

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pp. 43-63

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3. Guo Songtao in London: An Unaccomplished Mission of Discovery

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pp. 45-61

On January 21, 1877, after fi fty days at sea, Guo Songtao, the first Chinese ambassador to Britain, and his entourage arrived at Southampton. The British public was quick to realize that the establishment of a permanent Chinese embassy in London was an “event unprecedented in the history of the relations between China and foreign countries” and constituted “a proud page of...

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4. Lu Xun, Cultural Internationalism, Leftist Periodicals and Literary Translation in the 1930s

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pp. 63-81

Literary translation is a much-discussed subject in Chinese studies, but, for reasons that demand investigation, translations of foreign literature into Chinese tend to get far more attention from Chinese studies scholars than translations of Chinese literature into foreign languages. This happens in spite of abundant evidence of a long history of translation and circulation...

Part III. China, Hong Kong, and Beyond

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5. Nationalism, Internationalism, the Cold War: Crossing Literary-Cultural Boundaries in 1950s Hong Kong

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pp. 85-103

In my introductory chapter to this collection, I discussed the emergence of New Confucianism in 1950s Hong Kong as a phenomenon of Chinese cultural nationalism in exile. Having lost their traditional homeland to what they considered as the alien creed of Communism, the four Confucian scholar-intellectuals reaffi rmed their time-honored responsibility to Chinese...

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6. Southwards and Outwards: Representing Chineseness in New Locations in Hong Kong Films

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pp. 105-119

With the year 1997 approaching, images of outward-bound migrants leaving Hong Kong before the return of the colony to the mainland began to emerge with regularity in both commercial and art-house Hong Kong cinema.1 Comrades: Almost a Love Story/Tian Mimi, released to critical and commercial success in 1996, is very much in this tradition as its protagonists, by the film’s...

Part IV. Chinese Cartographies in the World

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7. Translating and Transforming the American Dream: Jade Snow Wong’s Fifth Chinese Daughter and Gish Jen’s Typical American

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pp. 123-137

In addressing the recurring issue of identity formation, Stuart Hall speaks of the “four great decentrings in intellectual life and in Western thought that have helped to destabilize the question of identity” (Hall, “Ethnicity” 10). The first three of these “decentrings” are associated, respectively, with Marx’s location...

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8. Diasporic Desires: Narrating Sexuality in the Memoirs of Shirley Geok-lin Lim and Li-Young Lee

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pp. 139-154

“The subject of Asian American sexualities is more complex than any of the names we give it,” writes Russell Leong (1) in his introductory chapter to Asian American Sexualities, a seminal collection that reflected the growing importance of queer and sexuality studies within Asian American studies in the 1990s. This complexity arises from, firstly, the ethnic and cultural...

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9. The Sino-Japanese Conflict of Asian American Literature

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pp. 155-171

In his introduction to the 2002 Penguin edition of The Flower Drum Song, David Henry Hwang proposes that, as the “first Chinese American novel to be released by an established publishing house,” its original publication in 1957 might well be viewed as “the birth of a new literary genre” (Hwang xvi, xvii). Hwang’s call for a reassessment of C. Y. Lee’s significance converses with...

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10. Travels in the Body: Technologies of Waste in the Chinese Diaspora

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pp. 173-190

The theme of toilets in particular, and waste in general, permeates the cultural production of the Chinese diaspora. This chapter analyzes the toilet as an element of material culture that usually remains invisible and yet in Chinese diasporic literature is assigned an important cultural value as a site for cross-cultural encounters.1 It is interesting to note that other diasporic...

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11. The Chinese and the White Man’s Burden in Indochina

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pp. 191-207

One of the enduring legacies Frantz Fanon bequeathed to postcolonial studies is his powerfully scathing representation of the colonial world as a “Manichean” space unevenly inhabited by two different species of beings: the colonizer and the colonized, the white and the black, the settler and the native, the rich and the poor, and the oppressor and the oppressed. While this Manichean schema...

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12. Affirming Cosmopolitanism? Chineseness and the Chinese Museum of Queensland

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pp. 209-224

In a world of globalized capital where cosmopolitanism has become a discernible commodity, the expression of a society’s cultural diversity has taken on significant political and economic dimensions. For a nation such as Australia, with a very particular—some would say notorious—history in terms of its resistance to non-European migration and rigorous bouts of anti-Asian sentiment, asserting these traits has become a crucial part of the country’s...

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13. Our Space? Ethnicity, Diaspora, and Online Life

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pp. 225-242

The globally dispersed population of Chinese migrants and their descendants has attracted growing attention in discussions of transnational social practices. Chinese networks of capital investment, education acquisition, and familial accumulation are a force for social change in Asia, the Americas, and Europe (Ong and Nonini; Pan, Encyclopaedia). The transmission of the cultural...


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pp. 243-258

Works Cited

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pp. 259-277


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pp. 279-287

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052103
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622099456

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 5 b/w photos
Publication Year: 2009