CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Eastern Promises: Political Visions of China in the West (11/1; ACLA Seminar; 3/26-29)

full name / name of organization: 
Chinnie Ding
contact email: 

ACLA 2009 Annual Meeting, Harvard University, March 26-29, 2009

Eastern Promises: Political Visions of China in the West

  Panel Organizer: Chinnie Si-Qin Ding (Harvard University)

This seminar explores how China’s actual and mirage reservoir of political
forms, images, and ideas has nourished political imagination in the West.
>From ‘Oriental despotism’ to ‘the Asiatic mode of production,’ the Opium
Wars to the Sino-Japanese Wars, delicate wares to coolie labor, ‘Long
March’ to ‘Cultural Revolution,’ to what extent did the idea of China offer
a means of aestheticizing politics? To what extent, in turn, did observers’
regard for an ostensibly indigenous form of revolution wish to circumvent
aesthetics in order to access, at last, political authenticity? At what
moments did China’s historical longevity serve as indelible sign of its
pastness, and for what uses might it have been converted into a future
term? What is left, now, in China for the Left?

Rather than compiling data for a catalogue of ‘orientalist’ misreadings,
this seminar welcomes papers that mine the sources of affinity felt or
solidarity sought with the other and that strive to articulate ambivalence
in detail. At the end of the day, it is hoped that participants will gain
insight into the commingling -- purposive or unrealized -- of aesthetic
appropriation and political ideation.

The deadline for paper proposals is November 1, 2008. Please submit
250-word abstracts directly to the ACLA conference website:

Please direct any questions about the panel to

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Received on Tue Oct 07 2008 - 14:15:43 EDT