Made in China: Poetics & Global Production (ACLA 2014, March 20-23)
This seminar invites reconsiderations of the 'making' and capital that bind China to the rest of the world. Long before China became the global center of manufacturing, the horrors and fantasies associated with China had already exerted a constitutive force on the Western tradition. From philosophical imaginations of impervious stasis, to fetishizations of Chinese art and poetry, to ongoing worries of uncontrolled and wasteful capitalism: Western writing about China is often subtended or dominated by logics of production and productivity.
How might this ambivalent sense of global production be addressed by literary/cinematic language? Does thinking at the junction of China and poetics shore up or unmoor prior assumptions about the material of language and the writing of 'China'? Does literary/cinematic work that is itself 'made in China' (in any and all ways this might be construed) or within the diaspora modify the terms of this seminar's inquiry? Can literary theory, the space of comparative literature, and the recent theorization of the Sinophone offer inclusive or resistant ways to think China otherwise than making? Might poetics as an inquiry into form and aesthetics offer ways to unmake and reframe the stakes of global productivity and global waste as they are projected onto China?
Papers need not engage with Chinese-language or nationally-Chinese texts, nor be 'about' China in referential ways, although such papers would also be welcome; the seminar's interest is in China as a specified locus of relations, rather than a unifiable object of specialist inquiry.