This article examines the multiple ways Chinese writers depicted the incorporation of female national subjects into the struggle to liberate Manchuria after it was annexed by Japan in 1932. Whereas male writers such as Xiao Jun (1907–1988) and Luo Binji (1917–1994) have integrated the multiethnic population of Manchuria, particularly foreign women, into the cause of liberation through marital and sexual relations, the female writer Xiao Hong (1911–1941) depicts the relationships of Russian Jewish, Korean, and Chinese refugee women as lateral friendships. Xiao Hong notes the presence of these three ethnic subjects outside the nation but does not seek to coopt them into China's national cause, instead calling attention to a separate relationality, which literary scholars Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih term "minor transnationalism" (Lionnet and Shih 2005). They suggest that minor literatures and cultures are not always juxtaposed with major ones; instead, literary relationships can occur between minor cultures. Focusing on three friendships between minor subjects, this article analyzes and compares three short works by Xiao Hong—about a Russian Jew, a Korean, and Xiao Hong herself—and explores her problematization of diasporic nostalgia and the gendered incorporation of ethnic subjects into the cause of national liberation.


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Print ISSN
pp. 634-660
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2020
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