How do we study literary and cultural products created in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and those created by Chinese-educated Tibetan, Uyghur, Manchurian, or Mongolian authors and artists? Are they Chinese? Or not? How might their places of production bring about literary and cultural subjectivities that are distinct from those from mainland and Han-dominated China (i.e., the conventional domain of Chinese humanities studies)? How do writers and artists deliberately record, or even create, their own unique and place-based senses of identity? How do they struggle with the ideas of exile, diaspora, colonization, decolonization, autonomy, assimilation, resistance--both in relation to China and within global geopolitics--while also striking out on their own to depict the joys and sorrows of human everydayness?
This discussion-heavy course introduces students to a representative set of 20th-and 21st-century literary and cultural texts from some of these locales under the umbrella concept of the Sinophone. As Shu-mei Shih defines it, Sinophone aims to describe "Sinitic-language cultures and communities on the margin of China and Chineseness" where these cultures and communities engage in their own place-based cultural productions. It alerts us to the heterogeneity in the "Chinese-speaking world" and the relations of power that effected such heterogeneity. Students will read literary texts alongside relevant theoretical and historical writings, and parts of the course may include film and other cultural products as objects of critical examination. The course will be conducted in English, and all reading materials will be in English translation.