6/4 Yueling Ji

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

The Stylistic Complaint: Rereading Modern Chinese Literature in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan

Time: Friday, June 4, 6-8 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIsdu6sqzMtH9yxqmjZNyRaHJDbnkueK6AR

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Yueling Ji (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will be presenting her dissertation chapter “The Stylistic Complaint: Rereading Modern Chinese Literature in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.” Elvin Meng (Ph.D. Student, Comparative Literature) will offer a response. Yueling summarizes her chapter as follows:

Each chapter of my dissertation studies a case in the history of 20th-century Chinese literary criticism where “style” became an important object of literary analysis. In this chapter, the main figures are linguists, translators, and literary critics based in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, a linguistic method to analyze the writing style of modern Chinese literature was developed and applied to canonical literary works. The critics argued that those works contain grammatical errors, misuse figures of speech, and damage the integrity of the national language. In this way, stylistics became a tool to decenter the canon and challenge the cultural authority behind it. Additionally, this chapter will introduce, as a practical skill, how to use the linguistic method to analyze writing style. 

Yueling Ji is interested in problems of language, style, and form in literature. She argues that the formal analysis of written texts has a social function for a community of readers. Her dissertation, “Style and Modern Chinese Literary Criticism,” studies how 20th-century Chinese critics used stylistics to debate ideological beliefs. She has also written about Sino-Soviet relations, Marxism, and feminist/queer theories.

**PLEASE NOTE that the workshop is from 6 to 8pm CT**
 
Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Sophia and Jiayi, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

5/21 David Wilson

Ph.D. Candidate, Ethnomusicology
Coming in from the Cold: Complicating Global Cold War Narratives through Chinese Revolutionary Ballet

Time: Friday, May 21, 5-7 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrde6vpj8pHdz_2XP04Ixbj72nA7Qgn2HS

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host David Wilson (Ph.D. Candidate, Ethnomusicology), who will be presenting his paper “Coming in from the Cold: Complicating Global Cold War Narratives through Chinese Revolutionary Ballet.” Lilian Kong (Ph.D. Student, EALC) will offer a response. David summarizes his paper as follows:

Although The White-Haired Girl has a long development and performance history, the ballet version of the story is particularly associated with China’s Cultural Revolution. In this paper, rather than looking at the ballet from the perspective of the Cultural Revolution, or even socialist-era China more broadly, I consider The White-Haired Girl both as a site of transnational circulation and exchange, and as part of a global network of Cold War cultural exchange. Drawing primarily on published personal accounts and press coverage, I trace the ballet’s connections with both Japan and Canada. In doing so, I propose that The White-Haired Girl allows us to read the ways in which the legacies of post-War artistic exchange and circulation allow us to disturb the classic Three Worlds model of the Cold War, and to understand the uneven global experience of Cold War politics.
 
David Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology. His dissertation focuses on the ways in which transnational circulations of music and media affect music’s potential as a site for political discourse in modern China and Taiwan. He has written and presented on diverse topics such as the construction of gender in Chinese model operas, performance practice in Gustav Mahler’s orchestral songs, and the racial imaginary constructed by the musical playlist for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration.
 
**PLEASE NOTE that the workshop is from 5 to 7pm CT**
 
Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Sophia and Jiayi, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

5/7 Anthony Stott

Ph.D. Student, EALC, Comparative Literature

The Problem of Late Style in Ōe Kenzaburo

Image Caption: Manuscript copy of the third page of Ōe’s In reito sutairu (In Late Style, 2013)

Time: Friday, May 7, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwpdOuvqz4sGtZ_CTwGohQOlI6rxSE-bMpD

Discussant: Alex Murphy, Ph.D Candidate, EALC

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Anthony Stott (Ph.D. Student, EALC, Comparative Literature), who will present his paper, “The Problem of Late Style in Ōe Kenzaburo.” He summarizes his paper as follows:

On September 25, 2003, Edward Said passed away while still at work on his book about late style. Said’s death and the posthumous publication of this work as On Late Style (2006) led the writer Ōe Kenzaburō (1935–), a close friend of Said’s, to a period of particularly sustained engagement with Said’s life and thought. Taking Ōe and Said’s friendship and transpacific exchange of ideas as its starting point, this paper considers Ōe’s recasting of Said’s understanding of late style through two of Ōe’s most recent works: In reito sutairu (In Late Style, 2013), an idiosyncratic book of reflections and interviews centering on Ōe’s life and œuvre, but especially Suishi (Death by Water, 2009), his so-called “last full-length novel.” Reading Death by Water by way of In Late Style, it contends that late style catalyzes a two-pronged self-critique, oriented toward both the novelistic form of Ōe’s works and his writerly horizon as a male-gendered member of the yakeato generation. Bound up with this critique, Ōe’s late style as refracted in Death by Water gestures towards transcending a unitary narrative voice trapped within the strictures of its Ōe-like narrator’s positionality, but remains suspended in an aporetic space⎯between text and performance, the actualization of self-critique and its failure. Focusing on theatrical stagings of Natsume Sōseki’s Kokoro within Death by Water, this paper untangles this critique and its performative roots by drawing on Masao Miyoshi’s idea of “reading against the native grain.” Late style, as thus unearthed, possesses undeniable import for not only Ōe’s late works, but, in its critiques of Ōe’s entire project, his entire corpus. Furthermore, by way of its crystallization out of transnational encounters, Ōe’s late style registers a mode of grappling with questions of aesthetics and society that challenges approaches to literature and thought premised on nationalistic and unidirectional dissemination models.

 

 

Anthony Stott is a joint degree student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Department of Comparative Literature. He works, broadly speaking, on postwar Japanese literature, culture, and thought. His research is motivated by problems of philosophical aesthetics and affect, reception and circulation, and translation. He pursues these problems as they are manifested not only in more typical literary texts but also across performance, architecture, and criticism as a self-sufficient object of analysis.

4/23 Yiren Zheng

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

Impossible Echo:
Whistling as Poetic Expression in Seventeenth-Century China

Time: Friday, April 23, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0lduCtrj4oGNCA5_qiFdBFa2CJ8ALDwof- 

Discussant: Jiayi Chen, Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

For our first meeting of spring quarter, the Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Yiren Zheng (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present her paper, “Impossible Echo: Whistling as Poetic Expression in Seventeenth-Century China.” She summarizes her paper as follows:

This paper examines a turning point in the Chinese literary history of whistling that took place during the seventeenth century. Whistling, once sonorously reverberating in social spaces during the Six Dynasties, gradually disappeared as a sound. It continued to thrive as a poetic trope whose sonic implication became tenuous at best. During the seventeenth century, a number of authors, including Pan Zhiheng (1556-1622) and Chen Ding (1650-?), imagined whistling as a sound immediately audible in their own times despite the fact that whistling had been a lost sound for centuries. For example, Pan portrays the singing of certain courtesans as whistling in a number of prose essays; Chen depicts whistling as an apocalyptic event (alluding to the fall of the Ming dynasty) that viscerally disturbs not only the listeners but also the whistler in a literary biography entitled “Biography of the Old Whistler.” Collectively, these authors made a noteworthy intervention in the literary imagination of whistling by employing the method of simulation: presenting an imaginary scenario as if it was the lived reality while blurring the boundary between simulated reality and actual reality. This paper argues that the simulated whistling offers a space for these authors to address real-world concerns that are otherwise repressed or unacknowledged.

This paper is the main part of one of my dissertation chapters. The chapter also observes how these seventeenth-century writings enrich pre-modern Chinese discourse on whistling and in turn our understanding of poetics. During the Six Dynasties, the heyday of whistling as a sonic art, whistling was understood as a subversive poetics where speech is displaced by sound and meaning-making displaced by semantically free echoing. Starting from the fourteenth century, writers began to consider whistling as a nonverbal means of expressing one’s interiority, which is parallel to speech. The seventeenth-century depictions of whistling found a balance between using whistling to resist speech and language and assimilating whistling into the linguistic order. By tracing the discourses with which these seventeenth-century writings on whistling are implicitly in dialogue, this chapter ponders what it seventeenth-century authors gained by animating an absent sound.

 

 

Yiren Zheng is currently finishing her dissertation as a residential fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities and a Ph.D. candidate in the East Asian Languages and Civilizations at University of Chicago. Her dissertation explores several extralinguistic forms of communication, including whistling and talking birds, and theoretical insights they inspired in seventeenth-century literary texts written in classical Chinese. Her journal article, “Listening Askance with a Seventeenth-Century Chinese Acousmatic Voice,” has recently appeared in Parallax.

3/12 Dr. Alexander Zahlten

Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Systemic Paranoia: Media Intensification in Japan

 

Time: Friday, March 12, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0lduCtrj4oGNCA5_qiFdBFa2CJ8ALDwof- 

Discussant: Sophia Walker, Ph.D. Student, EALC and CMS

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Dr. Alexander Zahlten (Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University) who will present his paper, “Systemic Paranoia: Media Intensification in Japan.” He summarizes his paper as follows: 

This paper understands the occult boom – a media phenomenon in Japan stretching from the 1970s to the 1990s – as a vernacular media theory that expresses, commodifies, and frames the anxieties and cognitive responses to the pressures of intensifying media connectivity. The occult boom is also a political response to the perceived failure of the Japanese left in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and an attempt to formulate a different strategy, and to understand the political challenges differently. The occult boom also can be understood as a fundamentally paranoid theory that attempts to make sense of the new connective totality, but leads into a logic of catastrophe, with in turn catastrophic consequences in the 1990s.

Alexander Zahlten is professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His work focuses on popular film and media in Japan and East Asia from the 1960s to today. His publications include the co-edited volume Media Theory in Japan (Duke University Press, 2017, with Marc Steinberg) and the book The End of Japanese Cinema (Duke University Press, 2017). He is especially interested in the dynamics of intensified media ecologies, and his recent work touches on topics such as the relationship of electricity and film or ‘amateur’ film and media production. Between 2002 and 2010 he was program director for Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for film from Japan.

 

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop