Empires of the Sinophone

2017-2018 School of Chinese Seminar  香港大學中文學院

Empires of the Sinophone

Professor Shu-mei Shih

Friday October 13, 4:00-5:30pm; Rm730 Run Run Shaw Tower
Language: English

Building on the essay, “The Concept of the Sinophone,” this lecture will consider how Sinophone studies addresses the intersection of multiple empires and must be seen in relation to other imperial language studies that are both European and non-European. Empires not only competed and colluded with each other, they also imitated each other. They sometimes co-existed over the same locales and at other times followed each other in sequence. For instance, a study of Sinophone Vietnam is not complete without consideration of French colonialism as well as American aggression, in addition to the historical reality of Vietnam having been a Chinese colony for one thousand years, at least according to official Vietnamese history. This and other configurations of inter-imperiality structurally inform the multilingual, multiethnic, and multicultural communities of the Sinophone outside China and on the margins of China and Chineseness. Hence, Anglophone, Francophone, Japanophone, and other imperial language studies should not be taken as mere parallels, but rather as conjunctural or sequential formations of inter-imperiality. “Empires of the Sinophone” will address such inter-imperiality as a fundamental condition of Sinophone studies.

Professor Shih holds a fractional appointment as the Hon-yin and Suet-fong Chan Professor of Chinese in the School of Chinese at HKU and is a professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies at UCLA. She is the author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonoial China, 1917-1937 (2001), Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific (2007), Against Diaspora: Discourses on Sinophone Studies (2017, in Mandarin Chinese), as well as the co-editor of, among other books,  Minor Transnationalism (2005; 2009), Creolization of Theory (2011; 2015), Comparative Racialization (a special issue of PMLA, 2008), Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (2013), Comparatizing Taiwan (2015), and Knowledge/Taiwan: On the Possibility of Theory in Taiwan (2016, in Mandarin Chinese).