- Foreword to the Inaugural Issue
“Scholarly traditions of all nations form one family” 天下學問一家 is the motto we’ve chosen for the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture (JCLC). It crystalizes our endeavor to create a platform for in-depth dialogue and collaboration between (Greater) China-based and Western scholars of Chinese literature and culture.
JCLC seeks to present cutting-edge research on traditional Chinese poetry and poetics, fiction, prose, drama, and vernacular literature, as well as broader aspects of literary culture. It will also publish works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. The journal aims to be interdisciplinary in methodology by situating literary studies within a wider framework of the humanities, arts, and social sciences—including interdisciplinary fields like comparative literature, gender studies, and women’s studies, among others. JCLC will publish two issues per year, usually one general issue and one special themed issue.
Modes of In-Depth Collaboration
“Scholarly traditions around the world form one family” is ultimately predicated on scholars around the world working together like a close family 天下學者一家. To cultivate such a bond among Chinese and Western scholars, we have developed various modes of collaboration at different levels of the journal’s operation.
Our editorial team consists of roughly equal numbers of prominent Chinese and Western scholars. The composition of the team also reflects our intention to offer a balanced coverage of literary genres and historical periods. A similarly structured reviewer base is also being built. Where possible and desirable, submissions will be reviewed by one Chinese and one Western expert. [End Page iii]
Collaboration between contributors is more varied and interactive. When Western scholars contribute their work to a general issue, collaboration with Chinese scholars is normally more limited—sharing only the same publication venue. However, if they contribute to a special themed issue, they will have significant, substantive interaction with their Chinese counterparts through symposia and workshops on topics of common interest. Consequently, we hope special themed issues will play a pivotal role in fostering new areas of research and broadening the horizons of the field. In selecting themes for these issues, we will aim for a complementarity of Chinese and Western scholarship that will best advance the field.
Currently, most Chinese contributors to JCLC collaborate with Western scholars who translate and coauthor their works. The translation of a Chinese-language article, long considered the biggest hurdle in this process, actually works as a catalyst for in-depth collaboration. The exigencies of a fine translation force both parties to learn each other’s scholarly conventions. In rewriting an article for English translation, a Chinese scholar learns about Western scholarship on the subject as well as the expectations and conventions of English scholarly writing. The Chinese author gains by having a Western coauthor who will incorporate Western scholarship as well as his or her own insights into the article.
For Western scholars, translating/coauthoring a Chinese article offers a similar chance to learn more about the Chinese scholarly tradition. The translator/coauthor can apply for a short-term fellowship from the International Academy for China Studies of Peking University, the journal’s Chinese cosponsor, to work with his or her Chinese partner. Considering the time-consuming nature of Chinese-to-English translation, we propose to alternate between coauthorship and pure translation when asked by Chinese authors to find Western partners. Coauthorship is appropriate when the Western scholar has made a substantive contribution, an arrangement that should benefit his or her career development. But we also encourage all coauthors to contribute as straightforward translators when called upon to do so. The alternate use of these two modes of collaboration ensures fairness to both parties.
Striving for the Highest Scholarly Excellence
For greatest impact on the field, we aspire to the highest standards of scholarly excellence for JCLC. We only publish articles and essays that have not previously appeared in any language. Research articles are expected to provide original analysis of texts and contexts, introduce innovative methodologies or approaches to time-honored subjects, or present discoveries of important new material. Feature essays, aimed at educated general readers, undergo the same peer-review...