Beyond Sinology

Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture

Columbia University Press

Beyond Sinology

Pub Date: January 2014

ISBN: 9780231164528

296 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $70.00£58.00

Pub Date: January 2014

ISBN: 9780231536301

296 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $69.99£58.00

Beyond Sinology

Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture

Columbia University Press

New communication and information technologies provide distinct challenges and possibilities for the Chinese script, which, unlike alphabetic or other phonetic scripts, relies on multiple signifying principles. In recent decades, this multiplicity has generated a rich corpus of reflection and experimentation in literature, film, visual and performance art, and design and architecture, within both China and different parts of the West.

Approaching this history from a variety of alternative theoretical perspectives, Beyond Sinology reflects on the Chinese script to pinpoint the multiple connections between languages, scripts, and medial expressions and cultural and national identities. Through a complex study of intercultural representations, exchanges, and tensions, the text focuses on the concrete "scripting" of identity and alterity, advancing a new understanding of the links between identity and medium and a critique of articulations that rely on single, monolithic, and univocal definitions of writing.

Chinese writing—with its history of divergent readings in Chinese and non-Chinese contexts, with its current reinvention in the age of new media and globalization—can teach us how to read and construct mediality and cultural identity in interculturally responsible ways and also how to scrutinize, critique, and yet appreciate and enjoy the powerful multi-medial creativity embodied in writing.
The story of Chinese writing as told by Andrea Bachner is traversed by necrophilia, hallucination, fetishism, patriotism, identity/alterity politics, new age mediality, and multiple other passions; it is also one in which the controversial protagonist, the sinograph, has resiliently stood its ground. No other contemporary study I know of showcases sino(graph)philia with as much verve and aplomb. This is an impressively ambitious and innovative book. Rey Chow, Duke University, author of Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films
When Chinese characters are made into a symptom or banner of Chineseness, their historical and material thickness is lost. This study of Chinese-character triumphalism and critique aims to restore that materiality. Haun Saussy, University of Chicago
Andrea Bachner’s wonderful book makes an important contribution to the study
of modern Chinese literature and culture . . . [Her] guiding questions and intermedial approach bring fresh insights concerning the familiar sinographic fantasies of such figures as Fenollosa and Derrida, but beyond the usual comparatist trivium of English-, French-, and German-language authors, she also considers a number of Latin American writers rarely included in discussions of “Western” ideas about China. Christopher Bush, Northwestern University, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR)
List of Illustrations
A Note on Characters, Romanization, Translations, and Images
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Script Politics
1. Corpographies
2. Iconographies
3. Sonographies
4. Allographies
5. Technographies
Conclusion: Beyond Sinology
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Read the introduction, "Script Politics":

About the Author

Andrea Bachner is assistant professor of comparative literature at Cornell University.