China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel explores new approaches to modern Chinese literature by opening up dialogues between the study of literature and media studies. Literature is often conceived as “immaterial verbal constructions,” but the changes new digital media bring to the literary field again remind us that literature has always existed in relation to a broader context of media technologies. While its form and circulation are intimately connected with physical mediums, literature as nodes of mediation and remediation can also draw our attention to how media work.
The panel has four papers that cover different periods from the late Qing to the contemporary period. Keren He situates late Qing political fiction at the intersection between newspapers and theatre, examining how it remediates performative modes to imagine political activism and its relationship to literature. Chenshu Zhou offers a new reading of Lu Xun’s canonical “Preface to Outcry” that foregrounds the emergence of modern vernacular literature as a result of negotiations with multiple visual, print, and oral mediums. Using original sources, Lena Henningsen’s study of Cultural Revolution shouchaoben (handwritten manuscripts) reveals the ways in which the medium constructed literary production, consumption, and the work itself. Emily Graf looks into a marginalized institution of modern Chinese literature—the author museum, which, she suggests, has a mediating agency of its own that allows it to make literature. Collectively we explore new critical perspectives and demonstrate the broad relevance of media-specific analysis to the field of Chinese literary studies.