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Over Chinese Bodies: Towards a postcolonial Sinology


Ross, K, Over Chinese Bodies: Towards a postcolonial Sinology, Representing China: from the Jesuits to Zhang Yimou, Panel 5: Despotic and Revolutionary China, May 18 - 20, 2011, University of Manchester, UK, pp. KR. (2011) [Conference Extract]


In the European imagination, China has often been portrayed as a land of fabled creatures and mythical spaces. On the one hand, it has been a model of good government (18th century physiocrats), a place of gender equality (women’s liberation movement, 1960s and 70s) and a revolutionary society in which are and culture are taken seriously as political (French intellectuals, 1960s). On the other hand, China has been portrayed as dystopic, cruel, overpopulated and dangerous. In the language of postcolonial theory, China has been ‘othered’. Dealing with this requires an engagement with forms of western theory which theorise the nexus between power and knowledge. As Kristeva argues, if we approach China knowing what we will already find then our universalist and Europeanist assumptions will go unquestioned. Drawing on postcolonial theory and psychoanalysis for inspiration, this paper argues that what is needed is a postcolonial sinology as a form of knowledge production which rejects a position of mastery ‘over’ China by developing a methodology which is alert to the heterogenous or difference which is irreducible.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Asian cultural studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Ross, K (Dr Kaz Ross)
ID Code:79103
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Asian Languages and Studies
Deposited On:2012-08-17
Last Modified:2012-08-17

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