Twenty-First Century 'Chinoiserie'

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Twenty-first century “Chinoiserie”, the title of the present cluster of essays offered via the Global Circulation Project, offers a series of perspectives on the philology of Chinese literary studies, culture, and language using formerly unimaginable scalars of “worldedness” (Hayot), even as the nation-state, China, strives to assert the continuation of its own revolutionary project distinct from the global “market.” Presenting a forward philological practice that would rebut any reflection theory “about” China – for example, by refusing to express Chinese reality and experiences solely as a function, or form, of contemporary globalization – all of the following essays cite “China” as a potential site of critique, example, or even vitiation of the present dispensation of global capital. Achieving a degree of theoretical separation from the “market” allows China to emerge – at once discrepant of the technologies of global dissemination (such as the internet and the host of micro-translational practices it encourages) as well as beholden to them, in locally rendered (“Chinese”) yet infinitely various forms. The very ubiquity of 21st century “Chinoiserie” presents useful challenges to conventional heuristics formerly used to encompass Chinese alterity (such as Goethe's Weltliteratur or T. S. Eliot's “translucency”) and also conveys the insistence of a sovereign demand: that the global appetite for Chinese language, culture, and its literary translations be rooted in the fulfillment (Erfüllung) of “China”, in all its variety, as the figure – ecological, translational, and epistemological – for our time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalLiterature Compass
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015


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