China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The term “intertextuality” is nowadays used mainly as an umbrella term for any text-text relationship in philological research. While most scholars perpetuate such a logocentric or linguistic perspective of the theory that Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes developed in the late 1960s, they ignore the fact that neither Kristeva nor Barthes solely focused on written or printed texts. They also had other cultural aspects in mind, for every text inevitably emerges within a system of cultural practices.
In this panel, we follow Kristeva and Barthes’ transdisciplinary perspectives and propose that we may understand intertextuality as an interaction of “cultural textures.” Shih Hsiang-Lin suggests that agricultural references in the Shijing’s Poems of Bin work as some sort of hyperlink that enabled King Cheng of Zhou to experience his ancestral land. Tsung Kei Wong argues that intertextuality functions as a pedagogical device in the Huainanzi, allowing the reader to experience the process of "accumulation of learning" (ji xue) as laid out in the Xunzi. Tobias Zürn reads the Huainanzi’s intertextuality as a literary strategy to weave together an efficacious, wuwei-performing scripture. And Nick Williams explores how intertextuality serves as a tool in Lu Ji’s “Wen fu” to build a spiritual journey that connects the author/reader with the Way.
By accentuating intertextuality’s underlying association with movement, experience, and performativity in early and early medieval China, these papers provide these early voices with the power to illuminate, unsettle, or even provincialize our current theoretical discourse that mainly attributes rather static properties to “text-text” relationships.