Visuality and Identity

ASIA PACIFIC MODERN Takashi Fujitani, Series Editor
Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, by Miriam Silverberg Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific, by Shu-mei Shih

Visuality and Identity
Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific

University of California Press Berkeley Los Angeles London



University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Ltd. London, England © 2007 by The Regents of the University of California Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Shi, Shumei, 1961– Visuality and identity : Sinophone articulations across the Pacific / by Shu-mei Shih. p. cm. — (Asia pacific modern) Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-0-520-22451-3 (cloth : alk. paper) — isbn 978-0-520-24944-8 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Chinese—Ethnic identity. 2. National characteristics, Chinese. I. Title. DS 730. S 5325 2007 305.895'1—dc22 2006037071 Manufactured in Canada 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 07

This book is printed on 60# Enviro Smooth White, 100% recycled and totally chlorine free. Enviro Smooth White meets the minimum requirements of ansi/astm d5634–01 (Permanence of Paper).

and Ray .For Adam. Tim.


Globalization and Minoritization / 40 The Limits of a Coup d’État in Theory Flexibility and Nodal Points 47 Flexibility and Translatability 59 2. A Feminist Transnationality / 62 42 Identity Fragment 1: Feminist Antagonism against Chinese Patriarchy 67 Identity Fragment 2: Liberal Antagonism against the Maoist State 71 .CONTENTS List of Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xi About Romanization xiii Introduction / 1 Visuality in Global Capitalism 8 Identity in Global Capitalism 16 Sinophone Articulations 23 1.

The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity / 117 A Short History of the “Mainland” 124 “Eternal China” in the 1990s 129 The “Intimate Enemy” in the Twenty-First Century Struggles of the Sinophone 137 5.Identity fragment 3: Antagonism of a Minority Subject 77 Identity Fragment 4: Antagonism against the Western Gaze 79 3. Cosmopolitanism among Empires / 165 144 The Age of Empires and. Especially.: The Time and Place of the Sinophone / 183 Notes 193 Selected Bibliography Index 231 219 . Their Sizes Cosmopolitanism. After National Allegory / 140 135 The Allegorical Time and the City-cum-Nation The Allegorical and the Mundane 150 Refashioning Hongkongness 157 6. The Geopolitics of Desire / 86 Beleaguered Communities 90 Sexualizing the “Mainland Sister” 94 Feminizing the “Mainland Cousin” 103 Gender and Public Sphere 114 4. Multiplicity. Danger 170 Untranslatable Ethics 175 Can Cosmopolitanism Be Ethical? 180 166 Conclusion.

5. 6. 4. Avant-Garde 75 Hung Liu. 7.ILLUSTRATIONS 1. September 1904 80 13. Souvenir 81 14. 10. Interview of Qian Li from part 4 of Her Fatal Ways 112 55 ] ix [ . 2. 8. Grandma 74 Hung Liu. Father’s Day 73 Hung Liu. A dalumei image in Taiwan media 100 15. Olympia 68 Hung Liu. 1 1. Michelle Yeoh (from Malaysia) 3 Chang Chen (from Taiwan) 3 Zhang Ziyi (from China) 3 Chow Yun-fat (from Hong Kong) 3 Taiwan poster for Pushing Hands 50 American poster of Eat Drink Man Woman Hung Liu. 9. 3. 12. Resident Alien 78 Original photograph depicting execution in old Shanghai. Hung Liu.

Wu Mali. Ten Thousand Li of Love 134 Susan atop a building in Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong 145 Moon in the shooting scene atop Victoria Peak in Made in Hong Kong 149 The bank robbery in The Longest Summer 152 Cameras positioned at the children’s eye level in small back alleyways of working-class Hong Kong in Little Cheung 156 Hou Chun-ming’s woodcut print of a Lo Ting from the 1997 exhibition 160 René Magritte’s The Collective Invention 161 Life-size model of a Lo Ting 162 An example of the Fake Art of Comics 163 Wu Mali. 22. Wu Mali. Wu Mali. 17. 19. Sweeties of the Century ]x[ Illustrations . 18. Swan Song 3. Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang 8.16. interior space. Detail of cover of The Practice of Chineseness by Yuk-yuen Lan 5. Publicity photo of Her Fatal Ways depicting ideologically coded characters 4. Detail from The Library 12. 26. 21. Hung Liu. Hung Liu. 25. Sweeties of the Century 182 COLOR PLATES ( following page 114) 1. Detail of words woven into cloth from Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang 9. neon light 10. Collage of images from Searching for the Strange on the Mainland 131 The set for Rivers and Mountains. Formosa Club (1998). wooden board. pink sponge. The Library 11. Wu Mali. 20. Epitaph 7. 23. Olympia II 2. Display in Shanghai Tang store 6. 24. Wu Mali.

Leo Ou-fan Lee. Minor Transnationalism (2005). Ted Huters.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My collaborator and colleague Françoise Lionnet and her important work in Francophone studies inspired me to consider “Sinophone studies” as a field of study. Ying-ying Chien. Tani Barlow. Lydia H. Arif Dirlik. Our collaboration on transnational and comparative studies of minority cultures over the past eight years has resulted in more than just a coedited volume. Rey Chow. Stephen Chan. Ming-yan Lai. I am most grateful to her for her intellectual inspiration and deep friendship. Chris Connery. Tak Fujitani. Gail Hershatter. Prasenjit Duara. Liang-ya Liou. Rob Wilson. Kuei-fen Chiu. Liu. colleagues. Allen Chun. it has helped shape this book. and other collaborative projects. Ping-hui Liao. and students joining me on my intellectual journey that this book has occasioned over so many years. and Mayfair Yang have graciously read and commented on either parts or the complete version of the manuscript at various stages. friends. ] xi [ . I have been fortunate to have many other mentors.

I dedicate this book to these three most important men in my life. Toshio Nakano.” New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics 40 (Spring 2000): 86–101. 2 ( Winter 1998): 287–320. Comparative Literature. Efrain Kristal. without the cheer and excitement that Tim and Ray bring to me or the endless support from Adam. and the Institute of American Cultures at UCLA. Michael Bourdaghs. Gil Hockberg. Thu-huong Nguyen-Vo. My heartfelt thanks also go to my colleagues and friends in the three departments in which I teach—Asian Languages and Cultures. My editors at the press. The American Council of Learned Societies. Finally. Harriette Mullen. Erica Lee. Tetsushi Marukawa.David Palumbo-Liu. I doubt I could have written (or will ever write) any books. Stephanie McDonald. Wen-hsin Yeh. ] xii [ Acknowledgments . Rachel Lee. and the local members of the group—Ali Behdad. and Lisa Yoneyama engaged with aspects of the manuscript in diªerent ways. Ghazal Tajmiri. Chaohua Wang. Susan Perry. are hereby gratefully acknowledged for their utter professionalism and support. Jenny Sharpe. Rafael Pérez-Torres. Asian American Studies. a portion of chapter 4 first appeared as “The Trope of ‘Mainland China’ in Taiwan’s Media. Dominic Thomas. American Philosophical Society. Haun Saussy.. Yue Meng. and Regina Wei were the best research assistants I could have had. Asian American Studies—you know who you are. no. while I received on-campus grants from the Academic Senate. the International Institute. Mirana May Szeto. Michelle Clayton. Aihwa Ong.” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 3. I thank the publishers for permission to reprint the articles. Curtis Lin. Sau-ling Cynthia Wong. no. Andrea Riemenschnitter. chapter 3 is updated from “Gender and a New Geopolitics of Desire: The Seduction of Mainland Women in Taiwan and Hong Kong Media. Lisa Rofel. A five-year grant from the University of California O‹ce of the President for running the Multicampus Research Group on Transnational and Transcolonial Studies greatly expanded my intellectual horizon. Reed Malcolm and Mary Severance. and Henry Yu— provided me with a wonderful intellectual community in which to work. Seiji Lippit.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 23. Kathleen McHugh. Chapter 1 is a revised version of “Globalization and Minoritization: Ang Lee and the Politics of Flexibility. Elizabeth Marchant. 1 (Spring 1995): 149– 83. and my copy editor. Mary Ray Worley. and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange provided me with extramural research grants.

but generally follows the pinyin system per scholarly convention in the United States. and China whenever possible. ] xiii [ .ABOUT ROMANIZATION This book tries to follow the diªerent romanization practices in Taiwan. Hong Kong.


The theater was relatively small. local food. peddling a middle-brow cosmopolitan stew of survival and pleasure: imported goods. which is characteristic of the theaters in this intimate outpost of Taipei City. inexpensive thrills and services. When the lights dimmed. known for its hurried replications of Taipei cosmopolitanism. theaters in Chungho set it higher. the two chukou (exit) signs glared conspicuously in green from above the doors flanking the screen.Introduction The ticket cost was NT$250. sidewalk stalls. and I was one of fewer than a dozen people watching the film. each with fifteen or so seats. Outside the theater were streets crowded with shops and cars. and I could easily feel all the empty seats. Chung-ho theaters do not have the righteousness of Taipei theaters and cover up this lack by anxiously blaring at the theatergoers in exaggerated imi] 1 [ . If theaters in Taipei set the volume high to enhance the thrilling eªect of the films. The soundtrack crackled as the volume was turned up to an almost unbearable level. with about eight rows of seats.

accents that inevitably foreground the diªerences and tensions among those geopolitical spaces the accents come from—in this case. Cantonese-saturated Mandarin. A copy of the metropolis it will never become. and Malaysia. per the conventions of the genre. Crouching Tiger. It was also a challenge to be persuaded by the highly aestheticized and gravity-defying kung fu sequences that were already unrealistic in themselves but were then accompanied by the anachronistic tonalities and vocabularies in the lines delivered by the actors and actresses. but amid the din. Hong Kong. So many voices. breaking down the fourth wall of illusion even before the camera obscura of illusion had a chance to establish itself. in a strangely paradoxical way. mumbles his lofty ideals of love and loyalty in a heavy Hong Kong–style. The poor sound quality unexpectedly crystallized to the ear the many diªerent accents of the Mandarin spoken by the actors and actresses. the classical lyricism of his words stands in stark contrast to what Mandarin speakers would see as an awkward delivery. not to mention that the diction of the presumed classical lyricism belongs to contemporary Taiwan-style melodrama and romance fiction. to the extent that one was led to wonder whether the director. interfering with a compelling development of the diegetic narrative within the film. so many diªerent kinds of noise. When the lead actor. The so-called Chinese-language cinema in general. China. and Cantonese-language cinema from Hong Kong was routinely dubbed in Mandarin when exported to other Chinese-speaking communities. Earlier Taiwanese-language cinema was very much a ghetto unto itself. More crucially. the cacophony of the streets. Chow Yun-fat. the accents break down the idea that the characters live in a coherent universe where relationships are inevitable. The dissonance among the diªerent accents seemed to parallel. despite inauthenticity and incoherence. has largely been a story of standard Mandarin spoken with “perfect” pronunciation and enunciation. It was therefore jarring to hear so many accents in this particular movie. and the martial arts genre in particular. had made a mistake or whether there was not enough money in the budget to dub the voices. life lives and life continues. Hidden Dragon. Ang Lee. It was a real challenge to be convinced by a love story in so many accents. while competing with the hustle and bustle of the streets outside. Chung-ho ] 2 [ Introduction .1 Actors who speak with accents are usually dubbed over so that the illusion of a unified and coherent “Chinese” community is invented and sustained.tation of the capital city proper. Taiwan.

when China was an isolated communist state. again unlike the Mandarin-heavy Taipei. and its political allegiance leans clearly toward Taiwan independence. have developed and were perfected in places outside China.] 3 Zhang Ziyi (from China). refer to the print version of this title. the city’s majority populace speaks Taiwanese. Besides. or more precisely Minnan. rather than Mandarin. refer to the print version of this title. does not seem to care one way or the other. even though the origin of the genre dates back to the early twentieth century in China.] 1 Michelle Yeoh (from Malaysia). The martial arts genre in film is closely related to the literary genre of martial arts fiction.[To view this image. which is often pseudohistorical but usually classical in terms of diction and syntax. 2 Chang Chen (from Taiwan). Inauthenticity and incoherence aptly describe the film and the setting and expose the illusion that such martial arts films must necessarily reference an eternal China and an essential Chineseness. Taiwan and Hong Kong’s relationship to the so-called classical Chinese culture Introduction ] 3 [ . The classics of the film genre were produced in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s. In the context of the 1960s and 1970s. 4 Chow Yun-fat (from Hong Kong). [To view this image. ironically. and both forms.

British colonialism engendered nostalgia for China among Hong Kongers. then. reinvention. Against this genealogy of fantastic projections of authenticity. the politically motivated valorization of the nostalgic mode helped the martial arts genre to serve as a privileged form for the fantasy representation of classical Chinese culture. the Hakkas. The linguistic dissonance of the film registers the heterogeneity of Sinitic languages as well as their speakers living in diªerent locales.had paradoxically been less ambivalent than it became in the ensuing decades. Crouching Tiger. and Hong Kong are played out in political economical terms. the film had poor box o‹ce showings across these communities. With China safely tucked away behind the “iron curtain. The Hollywood validation of the film indicates a transpacific sphere of cultural politics within which the filmic negotiations and transactions among China. What it engenders and validates. until it won the award for best foreign film at the Oscars and opened for a second time. hence also visible. “Classical Chinese culture” was one of the legitimizing mechanisms for the Guomindang government’s rule of Taiwan—the logic being that the Republic of China on Taiwan. Taiwan. is confirmation of the continuous existence of the Sinophone communities as significant sites of cultural production in a complex set of relations with such constructs as “China.” “Chinese.2 For now. the Chinese mainlanders in Taiwan were culturally superior to the local Taiwanese. As can be expected. not communist China.” Hong Kong and Taiwan were free to claim their versions of authentic Chineseness through nostalgic reconstructions of classical Chinese culture in popular media. is the heteroglossia of what I call the Sinophone: a network of places of cultural production outside China and on the margins of China and Chineseness.” and “Chineseness. and the aboriginals. let me dwell on the important implications of the linguistic dissonance. What the film makes audible. was the preserver of the authentic Chinese culture. There has been no other martial arts film brandishing so many accents and so daringly risking the displeasure of audiences whose cinematic expectations of the genre have not changed with the times. Even though a degree of ambivalence existed and contradictory implications of nostalgia.” ] 4 [ Introduction . Hidden Dragon enters the scene with such scandalous disrespect that theatergoers in various communities that speak Sinitic languages were aghast with disbelief when the film first opened. As for Hong Kong. ultimately. and by that. and resistance to the continental center of China proper could be detected (especially the anticommunist variety). where a historical process of heterogenizing and localizing of continental Chinese culture has been taking place for several centuries.

alienated reception as jarring as the loud and uncomfortable sound blaring from the theater speakers in Chung-ho. the majority ethnicity in China. monological Chineseness.S. translated entity. but Hanyu is enforced as the standard language. like Chung-ho City. registering an uncertainty and a complexity that require historically specific decodings. among multiple local and hegemonic cultures. also known as Hanyu. the language of the Han people. the spheres of cultural transaction and negotiation shift fluidly and the accents of Sinophone articulations have become more audible as well as visible. while foregrounding the value of di‹culty. Multiple accents for one standard language reveal a more powerful message in that they indicate living languages other than the standard one. rendered with a fracturing of standardness and authenticity. The Sinophone may be a cruder or finer copy. and the gradually enhanced visibility of immigrant artists and filmmakers in the United States who reformulate their Chineseness. If the film represents a certain temporally ambiguous “China” as the space of action and narrative. whose hegemonic projection of uniformity is subverted through a straightforward representation that refuses to cover up dissonance with uniformity. diªerence. the ever-increasing intensity of U. but an event that happens among multiple agents. in this case. and the film jolts the audience into a defamiliarized. Introduction ] 5 [ . the Chinese language spoken in the film is the Mandarin. the emergence and codification of independence consciousness in Taiwan. or to compete with the original. We hear diªerently accented Hanyu on the screen through the voices of the four lead actors and actresses. It may desire to be the original. but this desire always already predetermines its distance from the original as a separate. where even by o‹cial count there are fifty-five other ethnicities (or what the Chinese government calls “nationalities”) other than the Han. At the conjuncture of the end of British colonialism in Hong Kong. and heterogeneity.-directed transpacific cultural tra‹c. The Sinophone frustrates easy suturing. it is. a copy. since successful consumption implies flawless suturing from the perspective of either monolingual putonghua (Beijing standard). and most importantly. Chineseness is here accented variously across geopolitical borders. Translation is not an act of one-to-one equivalence. The important point here is that the copy is never the original. but a form of translation. the rise of China as an economic and political behemoth. or putonghua. or a monolithic China and Chinese culture.To be more precise. di‹cult to consume.

as I will show in greater detail later in this introduction.If Chung-ho is a copy of a metropolis. their comprehension of the film was limited exclusively to the glossy Hollywood filmic style and English subtitles. In the act of representation and translation (from one medium to another. In this film. Ang Lee’s Sinophone to Chineseness. is what his Chineseness is to his Americanness: in diªerent contexts. which may easily be erased ] 6 [ Introduction . the film presents a corrupted copy of an empire that breaks down the illusion of wholeness and coherence. rather than challenging it. This tension between the linguistic and the visual is dramatized by the way Crouching Tiger. Representation as copy—the old theory of mimesis—here becomes the literal description of Sinophone cultural production. The visual without specificity of linguistic determination. his identitarian struggle is divergent. a desired medium with an expansive reach and a wide appeal. It is no wonder that the visual has increasingly become the forum and the tool to articulate identity struggles. then. and the other way around). then. Herein lies the transnational political economy of representation that often reduces complexity and multiplicity that appear only through multilayered diªerentiation by projecting a particular logic of power. from China to the Sinophone. Sinophonic dissonance can be positioned against uniform Chineseness. more seamlessly. necessarily opens itself up to the possibility of translinguistic and transcommunity consumption. Sinophone film and art as visual work open themselves to the global while simultaneously taking a varied stance toward what is known as “Chinese culture. which might explain why the film was so popular in the United States. but in his struggle against uniform Americanness. For those American audiences without any linguistic ability in Mandarin. The central tension therefore emerges: while the Sinophone traces linguistic boundaries. The diªerentiation between what is Sinophone as the destandardization of Chineseness and what is Chinese as the exotic and beautiful foreign culture is largely lost at this level of perception and reception. both of which project.” This makes it imperative that Sinophone visual practice be situated both locally and globally. hence perhaps more intensely metarepresentational. more able to confront the flows of inauthenticity in the new borderless world. from the center to the margin. as shown in his other films such as The Wedding Banquet. his alternative appears constricted by stereotypical Chineseness. multiple contexts therefore come into play. the illusion of a coherent linguistic and cultural universe. subjecting a national subject (Taiwanese) to minoritization (becoming Taiwanese American). Hidden Dragon was received in the United States.

each having its own coherence at a particular level of interpretation. The global asserts its preeminence as the largest and the most important context. which are sensitive to multiangulated overdeterminations by such categories as history. being historical and situated. as the reading of Crouching Tiger above requires. The question is one of both content and structure. above all.”5 Recognizing both continuous and discontinuous multiplicity. because not all multiplicities are multiple in the same way. registering “intelligible sequences. however. thereby it can easily erase the geopolitical specificities of the Sinophone and its intra-area dynamics. which makes action possible. within both temporal and spatial forms. and not all heterogeneities are heterogeneous in the same way. cultural formations in Sinophone places are attributable to a multiplicity of factors. culture. The pull between diªerent contexts in trying to analyze and comprehend a Introduction ] 7 [ .”3 As Arif Dirlik puts the global. overdetermination can help better analyze “historically lived situations and the authentic complexities of practice. As such. To use the Freudian notion of overdetermination in this context is to suggest that just as the libido and the unconscious are a result of plural causes. To assert heterogeneity and multiplicity. To activate heterogeneity and multiplicity therefore means. which “may be organized in diªerent meaningful sequences. not infinity—enters into the making of all historical events. “Overdetermination is in fact nothing more than the sensible recognition that a variety of causes—a variety. and economy.” as opposed to the problematic economism of singular determination. Simone de Beauvoir furthermore oªered the following in a diªerent context: “Without raising the question of historical comprehension and causality it is enough to recognize the presence of intelligible sequences within temporal forms so that forecasts and consequently action may be possible. Heterogeneity as an abstract concept can itself be easily universalized to avoid the hard work of having to sort it through and become instead contained by a benign logic of global multiculturalism.” in this case. and that each ingredient in historical experience can be counted on to have a variety—not infinity— of functions. cannot be the end point of an analysis or an argument (as is the case for some contemporary theories).”6 Beauvoir connects the possibility of historical understanding with subjectivity.”4 Raymond Williams has also defined overdetermination simply as “determination by multiple factors. both locally and globally. politics. The coinage and recognition of the category called the Sinophone is itself then a form of practice and action.

postsemiotic rediscovery of the picture as a complex interplay between visuality. and figurality. The general enthusiasm for new technologies of visual representation such as photog] 8 [ Introduction . Some have even claimed that film has become the lingua franca of our time. local.”9 In regards to non-Western cultural products. global. regional. The specific temporal marking of this phase of global capitalism is in broad step with new developments in the formation of culture in its culminating turn to visuality. Mitchell has coined a diªerent term. bodies. as Ang Lee’s film has shown. J. the “cultural turn” is the turn to images. discourse. Stuart Hall has remarked how global mass culture is dominated by the image which can cross and recross linguistic frontiers eªortlessly and rapidly. It is because.visual work that is linguistically determined to be Sinophone is also where the challenge of the Sinophone lies in an increasingly globalizing world. The rise and popularity of Asian cinema in the global scene and the success of Asian-inspired cinema in Hollywood are testimony to the notion that visual work seems to have a lower linguistic threshold and hence is more easily decipherable and consumable across geocultural spaces. VISUALITY IN GLOBAL CAPITALISM To be historical in the study of visual culture means history on diªerent scales. the “pictorial turn. The seduction of visual practice as an identity practice. But no matter how large or small the scale. particular manifestations of global capitalism at the contemporary historical conjuncture constitute the temporal matrix in which visual culture is situated. copy of correspondence theories of representation. our contemporary moment marks the culmination. apparatus. more than any time before in human history.’ but rather a postlinguistic. institutions. of the continuous ascendance of the visual as the primary means of identification. emphasizing that the turn is “not a return to naïve mimesis. the turn to visuality has augured an unprecedented degree of translatability and transmissivity. comes with its own pitfalls. and where the video is the contemporary art form par excellence. interregional.7 For Fredric Jameson. where the image itself has become the commodity.10 But the recognition of the visual turn has been at best a begrudging one. and perhaps final victory.” to describe the rule of mass media in the contemporary world. as translinguistic visual works and dubbed or subtitled films seem to cross national markets with greater facility than ever.8 W. and all other possible intermediaries in between and betwixt. T. or a renewed metaphysics of pictorial ‘presence.

Arguing that the specular identity constituted during the mirror stage is presocial. Mitchell was clearly trying to construct a picture theory after poststructuralist linguistic turn (hence his insistence that “presence” cannot be recuperated). illusory. emphasizing its blind spots rather than sight and clarity. misprision) to foreground the limits of vision. to a society of simulacra ( Jean-François Lyotard). In the passage quoted earlier.11 Jacques Derrida’s critique of the ontology of presence can also be seen as an expression of anxiety toward the visual. whose critique of the sovereign subject was correlated to a critique of what he called the “pictorialization of the world.15 In postmodernity.raphy and film since the early twentieth century provoked great anxiety on the part of philosophers such as Martin Heidegger. but also the fear that visual images may eventually destroy their creators and manipulators. merged surveillance with spectacle to the point that they can no longer be distinguished from each other. and even labor has become electronic and digitized (Paul Virilio). the society of spectacle has given way not only to surveillance but. befitting their opposition to Enlightenment humanism. the linguistic turn in European philosophy is solidified. rational perspectivalism has given way to abstract expressionism. and conquest of the world through representation. more pertinently. Many contemporary Western thinkers share the suspicion of the visual and take diªerent notions from poststructuralism to elaborate a contemporary visual theory. rather than against.14 The profound distrust of the centrality of vision—coined as occularcentrism—by earlier thinkers continues to this day in diªerent permutations. and this linguistic turn was linked to a denigration of vision.” Pictorialization of the world involves distancing of the world but at the same time a manipulation.12 From Heidegger to Lacan to Derrida.16 Introduction ] 9 [ . and has aggressive potential. If the modern society was the society of spectacle for Guy Debord and a society of surveillance for Michel Foucault. he also gave it a largely negative interpretation (as opposed to Freud). poststructuralism. control. and his theory is that which works with. and a clear valorization of writing as the best medium for knowledge and representation. narcissistic. Lacan stressed the notion of méconnaissance (misrecognition. and mechanical reproduction ( Walter Benjamin) to electronic reproduction to the extent that the body disappears. pre-symbolic. Even though Jacques Lacan frequently utilized visual metaphors and discussed the importance of vision in the mirror stage for constituting the self.13 What comes with the pictorial turn is not only a more eªectively sutured and disciplined society. the postmodern has. according to Jonathan Crary.

dread. we can draw on David Harvey from a diªerent context to suggest that hope can be located in the way visual culture can appropriate forces of capital rather than the other way around.”21 Visual images. where the cultural bias of the superiority of writing has devalued visual forms of communication. curiosity.These anxieties culminate in Virilio’s alarming notion of the “vision machine. and capitalism and visuality as an open semiotic field capable of coding. by implication.” “pricks. they project not a reality but operate within simulacra. via cognitive sci] 10 [ Introduction . leading not only to the complete displacement of the human eye but also to a scenario akin to the one in George Orwell’s 1984 where the seeing screen functions as an all-pervasive surveillance apparatus. and horror. recoding.18 For Martin Jay to write a six-hundred-page book.” and “pierces. if “minor” is simply defined to suggest resistant practices and noncanonical perspectives. they dissolve recognizable perspectives and. rapidly. a generalist theory of the virtue of images and visuality by Barbara Staªord would claim. a diªerent visual literacy and understanding of the visual is palpable in various “minor” sites across the world. plays of fascination. they reproduce infinitely.” and “bruises” the viewer. critiquing the critique of occularcentrism is surely also a symptom of contemporary reevaluation of visuality. the coexistence of two diªerent regimes of visuality: visuality as the ideological and discursive instrument of colonialism. imperialism. Barbara Maria Staªord has criticized this lament as a diªerent kind of logocentrism. subjectivities.22 Finally. Deborah Poole has noted.19 A frequently referenced theory in the second vein is Roland Barthes’s notion of the punctum: that accidental. shoots out of it like an arrow. Downcast Eyes. and in the end.17 Images can be embodied and disembodied. for instance.20 Feminist art historian Griselda Pollock similarly argued that visual images are situated at the point “where the will to know and the resultant relations of power are furrowed by the more unpredictable . can exceed the containment of ideology as well as global capitalism. Whereas Euro-American intellectuals have largely dwelled on the function of the image within global capitalist ideology—which is usually its subtext—as its latest spokesperson or deputy.” which. poignant detail or mark that “rises from the scene. automatizes perception and industrializes vision. Alternatively. and decoding for resistant purposes. in specific practices. Euro-American intellectuals and scholars have more or less articulated a culture of lament. they may destroy even us. . Confronted with the almighty image that oppresses us in so many ways. desire. and travel beyond boundaries. with its computerized digital power. .

nation-states are a relatively new invention). and so forth. As the particular practice and usage of a medium relies heavily on local and other contexts for its signifying function.24 Similar dichotomous views have been expressed about most all representational media. elements to diªerent overdeterminations in visual representation.”23 These familiar dichotomies about vision and visuality cut across class. but that capitalism itself has become decentered. ideological. is not that nation-states are becoming decentered (after all. where the units that matter are no longer just nations but also those “regions below the nation. nonnational.”25 Diaspora has thus predictably become prevalent. literature can embody hegemonic views or literature can be counterhegemonic. What makes contemporary capitalism truly global. and has spread to all corners of the world. gender. however. as well as diªerent practices of everyday life. For instance. The problem is not that visuality is inherently bad or good. but the specific and contextual usage of the medium and practice of everyday life determine where in the spectrum of hegemony and resistance it lies. but that there are diªerent functions and practices of visuality with diªerent political. and race positions in predictable ways. not the infinite but the necessary. as if globalization still predominantly happens at the level of the nation-state as its boundary marker so that it has something recognizable to destroy. spatial. and other transnational units have become visIntroduction ] 11 [ .” as well as whatever units of place that are “on the pathways of capital. as well as historical contexts of a given articulation become necessary knowledge to understand. the geopolitical. while intranational. The dominant philosophical and intellectual discourses disparage the hegemony of visuality. consumption is sutured by capitalism and reinforces the relations of production or consumption is an exercise of agency. and visual perception is the constitutive form of knowledge in the present. and cultural meanings. What detractors of theories of globalization have often neglected is precisely the diªerent levels or scales of contexts other than the romanticized local or the demonized global. What is clear from these predictable dichotomies is that they cannot rest on any essentialism of a certain medium (writing or visuality) or a certain practice (consumption or production) as inherently hegemonic or resistant. and the resistant perspectives see potential in visuality as a medium for representing counterdiscourses as well as projecting desires and fantasies of the oppressed. however small. Contemporary capitalism is largely abstracted from Eurocentrism and the nation. which also shift in diªerent contexts.ence. that visuality is the metaphor par excellence for intelligence.

From the Taiwan-Hong Kong-China region. certain background factors may structure events without necessarily causing them. and. and Hong Konger (if not Vietnamese at some point. capital. such as Tsui Hark).27 A Taiwan artist may at the same time be a Taiwanese American (Ang Lee). It is not that this fragmentation of contexts did not exist prior to the contemporary phase of capitalism. first of all. cognitive mapping on the one hand and the particularistic rhetoric of area studies on the other. to emphasize that images and other visual products travel and scatter with ever greater intensity and speed. Satellite television and the Internet transmit local broadcasting to Sinophone communities in real time. scales. along with those that can be traced as more direct causes for specific events. and outside of geographical and cultural units than we have allowed ourselves to recognize. but that the degree and intensity of the scattering of capitalism is unprecedented in global capitalism. it is possible to live virtually in multiple social contexts at the same time. With this scattering. Taiwanese business expatriates in southern China waver between their business interests (required to be on good terms with the Chinese govern] 12 [ Introduction . Chinese. appropriating both sets of histories and cultures freely and with ease. crossing oceans. transported either as hard currency or through electronic and virtual means. To situate visuality within this unprecedented scattering of capitalism is. a Hong Kong filmmaker may be simultaneously British. an immigrant Chinese artist (Hung Liu) claims to be both Chinese and Chinese American. to those living in “monster houses” in Vancouver. the universal and the particular. we are in need of diªerent scales of analyses and attentiveness. and travel to a large extent alongside and with capital. there are many more layers. especially the Pacific. the overdeterminations of history. and contexts below. and de-forms communities from the aboriginal villages in Taiwan. to reach the immigrant communities in the United States and elsewhere.ible as important spaces for the movement of capital. whether one is a frequent flyer or not. forms. between. far from the kind of universalist. they travel back and forth across the Taiwan Strait following specific routes of capital’s travel. The speed and intensity of image travel exemplify the compression of space and time characterizing contemporary global capitalism in the most concentrated and representative fashion. and they travel around the world. It is a truism that between the global and the local. to “flexible citizens” carrying multiple passports in the Bay Area.26 but these factors constitute. re-forms. In the longue durée of history. In the mean time. within.

29 Eªectively. locality. to situate images in global capitalism is to recognize the paradox that images are easy targets for commodification and commodity fetishism. visuality situated in global capitalism also means that contexts are multiple and that crucial contexts often reside in unexpected places. and their meanings inevitably “refunction” in new contexts to engender place-specific associations. they are living things in the social. culture. and thus literally exercise what I would call “signification in action” as well as “signification in transit.28 They produce.30 commodified visual culture can unwittingly serve as the site of alternative imaginations beyond metropolitan ideologies. Capitalist appropriation and artistic political creativity can occur simultaneously in diªerent combinations. They live and work in China and watch satellite television programs beamed from Taiwan to quench their longings for home. Third.ment and strategically to comply with the “One China” ideology) and their Taiwanese nationalism (against the Chinese government) and are forced to be flexible in order to accommodate both. as I have suggested above. history. Not to recognize as much but to hold up an ideal of class-based. they may acquire and lose some aspects. then traveling images would trigger imaginative leaps to engender new a‹nities as well as new discords between two terms previously not related to each other. As they travel with or without their legs.” In Mitchell’s words. but politically productive appropriations of commodified culture are sometimes necessary survival tactics for marginalized peoples. The logic of this paradox works in two ways: (1) Culturalism can be the object of commodification par excellence. not just incommensurability.” They go somewhere. noninstrumentalizable art is to risk the danger of purism Introduction ] 13 [ . and they often go on to unforeseen places leading to unforeseen associations and connections. because images and other visual products go places and signify diªerent things in diªerent places. but also similarity. as they produce surplus value facilely and eªortlessly. but also new combinations and connections. not just diªerence. terms of relationship exceed binarisms and dichotomies. collective memories and tradition” in what I have called “global multiculturalism” elsewhere. “images have legs. If vision is an analogical form of cognition. in other words. thus making possible multiple fields of meaning. and their demands for convenient travel between Taiwan and China propelled both sides to temporally open up the skies for direct flights during Chinese New Year’s holiday season. Second. But in trading on “values of authenticity.

it is not far-fetched to recognize that there are new locations of value in global capitalism due to the intensity of the visual mode of production and consumption. function. has even argued for an attention theory of value. For marginalized peoples.32 Spectatorship. and so forth. On the one hand. was very much a city unto well as elitism. challenges to authenticity to continental and metropolitan cultural hegemonies are often articulated precisely in the commercial arena through commercial means. Films such as Crouching Tiger. television. the Internet. nonetheless allow for noncentrist and nonstandardized articulations of “Chineseness” against China-centrism.”31 The value of visual media is assessed by the quantity of its viewers. within. we are spending more time than ever on consuming visual work and are thus bestowing it with more value. Jonathan Beller. Ludwig Wittgenstein has put it very simply: “The human gaze has a power of conferring value on things. art. for instance. If. but it makes them cost more too. to rival Bollywood and Hollywood. ethnocentric. and an unusually large number of people are involved in such lines of work. but that the commodified production of authenticities puts the notion of authenticity under erasure. and culturalist assertions of authenticity are exposed to be problematic. On the other hand. from film. Hong Kong cinema practically functions as a national cinema in quantity. As cinema colonizes the unconscious further. until and even after 1997. The balance sheet of a visual work’s meaning. even though they work largely through and within Hollywood commercialism and the political economy that underlies it. and it must include multiple contexts across. while Hong Kong. production of visual media is continuously on the rise. Hidden Dragon. in this sense. ideological. and value needs to be calibrated carefully. those films that enthrall the spectators’ attention acquire more value as well as more social. and stylistic distinctiveness. time equals value. for instance. (2) It is not that commodified visual culture is the prime medium for producing authenticities. is a form of ] 14 [ Introduction . and beyond the nation. the unprecedented saturation of visual media in our daily lives has fundamentally altered our relationship with time. may signify completely contradictory or even oppositional meanings when it refunctions in diªerent contexts. as the capitalist truism goes. and even political viability. and so time spent watching a soap opera equals advertising dollars for the makers of the soap opera and so forth. by which he means that human attention is productive of value. The visual work. so that narrowly identitarian. to put it in a diªerent light. But Bombay and Hollywood are cities in large nation-states. quality. Fourth. below.

who has the leisure to consume. This brings us to the question of political economy of visuality in global capitalism that insists on the power diªerentials in the production. is not only to continue to critique old forms of power wearing new disguises. but also to critique new forms of power produced by new values manufactured by the hypervisuality of our time. The human relations of labor remain displaced and obscured in this process.33 then we need to register the new object in Marx’s classic notion of commodity fetishism that obscures relations of labor by projecting an illusory value-relation between things. Sinophone visual culture partakes of multiple visual economies in diªerent Introduction ] 15 [ . and the accumulation of capital has now given way to the accumulation of images and spectacles. (4) Visual images are globally tra‹cked objects. consumption. ideas. and objects. (3) The organization bears relationship to the political and class structure of society as well as the production and exchange of the material goods as commodities. its fragmentary propensity translating seamlessly into the synecdochic nature of the fetish. and accumulation of images. and thus the illusory value-relation between things is no longer illusory but actual. surplus values of sociality. particularly since global capitalism has deepened and expanded the colonial process through neocolonial practices that seemingly appear less threatening than old colonialisms. Who has the capital to produce. ideological consensus. or sheer capitalist expansionism (Taiwan to Southeast Asia or Hong Kong to China) within this Sinophone region. the image commodity has itself become an object of value.34 Within global capitalism. She notes four important points as constituting the field of visual economy: (1) Visual images are part of a comprehensive organization of people.aªective labor that in turn influences performances of subjectivity. Fracturing and complicating the West/ non-West neocolonial relationship are various regional subcolonialisms that operate through such lofty claims as shared culture and history (China to Taiwan). Poole’s proposal for a “visual economy” is very useful in this regard. (2) The organization of the field of vision has much to do with social relationships. and who has the ability to accumulate—these are inevitable questions of political economy. it is the manner in which and the medium through which the displacement occurs that have changed in the global culture of images.35 To insist on visual economy in global capitalism. inequality. and power. then. and (de)politicization are manufactured in the process and need to be calculated. If the final form of commodity fetishism is the image as spectacle. Other than economic value.

manner. unreadability. and beyond the nation. the mode of subjectivity. Arguably. and the indecipherability of the reality it depicts” with contemporary subjectivity. the visual turn marks the transition of a writing-based imagination to image-based imagination not only for such collective identities as national identity but also for individual identities. making it necessary to situate each Sinophone visual cultural expression historically and contextually to avoid both a facile dismissal and a naive celebration of the visual. The medium. and others perceive us. the description-oriented. and style in which national and other identities are imagined. in short. have undergone a profound transformation. IDENTITY IN GLOBAL CAPITALISM The primacy of the visual in global capitalism also suggests that the means of constructing and representing identities are more and more predominantly visual. This dialectic between the visual and the linguistic spells out the tension among the global and the local as well as their intermediaries. It contests existing values and imaginations while producing new ones. Renaissance perspectivalism in art with the rational. what is useful here is the historical impulse of theorizing that sees conjunctures between the mode of vision. visual mediation of identity may have acquired a fundamental status in the study of representation. identity is the way in which we perceive ourselves. With its visual form. and the baroque vision that foregrounds “opacity. for instance.contexts within. it travels more readily across boundaries. the historical nature of the resources with which identities are constructed and negotiated today lies in their heavily visual character. In the broadest sense. with its linguistic particularities. tracing the footsteps of histories of migration and movement of Sinitic-language-speaking peoples across the seas to various parts of the world. Martin Jay correlates. it remains local in important ways. and is constituted by a dialectics of seeing and being seen. In this vein. As print medium continues to lose ground. and the mode of production. between. Cartesian subject. impressionist and Dutch oil paintings with the bourgeois subject in market economy.36 Even though Jay’s identification of these three scopic regimes may be overly schematic. identity is therefore a question of representation and occurs in and through representation. At the core. it struggles with layered complicities as well as resistances. vision’s historical character in the contempo] 16 [ Introduction . At a time when various visual media have inundated our lives.

among cultural studies. surveillance (from panopticon to artificial vision). R. one of the overlapping points of analysis is the structure of the gaze as a positional relationship of power in the constitution of one’s identity. as well as John Berger’s more general notion that seeing establishes one’s place in the world. It is no wonder that the relationship between the eye and the “I. and poststructuralist approaches. Lacan’s notion of the mirror stage in the imaginary. cannot do. video.37 All that eyes can do. More pervasively. Burnett’s argument that the camera eye increasingly stands for or stands in for the eye. for instance.) as well as developments in artistic genres such as installation and video art. who cites Benjamin’s notion of the optical unconscious opened up by the camera as heralding a new way of perception. and visual pleasure—have thus become central. using various combinations of psychoanalytic. Marxist.” and increasingly between the camera and the “I. To illustrate. in the middle of the scopic field is the image or the screen.rary moment will have to factor in technological advances in visual apparatuses (the camera. and perhaps even fetishized. the look.” has emerged as one of the major theoretical issues in studies of visuality. where the look into the mirror helps the child constitute its ego through (mis)recognition. observation. film studies.”39 Tellingly. has been appropriated and expropriated for the study of film and other visual technologies when it comes to the question of identity and subjectivity. and psychoanalysis.38 This structure is thoroughly infiltrated by desire. French film semiologist Christian Metz.40 The screen’s mediation brings a dialectics of recognition and misrecognition into play and can serve as an apt metaphor for the mediation of identities by what we see and how we are seen through the screens of various identity images and visual narratives in a visually saturated world. the gaze of the other is pervasive: “I see only from one point.” simultaneously replicating imaginary ego-formation during the mirror Introduction ] 17 [ . and are usurped from doing—the gaze and the gazed-at (Freud’s can of sardines that looks back at the fisherman). While the subject’s looking is limited. mediating the relationship between the gazer and the gazed-at. in Lacan’s schema. Virilio’s “vision machine” mentioned above. Cases in point are Wendy Everett. which Lacan has called the scopic drive. but in my existence I am looked at from all sides. etc. film. seeing. the glance. topics of analysis. applied Lacanian schema to the analysis of film to define film as “the scientific imaginary wishing to be symbolized. postcolonial studies.

engages in multiple levels of identification: identification with his own look (primary identification).stage and transcending the imaginary stage to the symbolic stage (through the Oedipal structure of the gaze). assigns the spectator a place.43 A perspective more sensitive to the questions of ethnic and cultural diªerence. according to one formalist theory. with the characters (secondary identification). in the process.41 Film spectatorship is hence analogical to the Oedipal process through which one becomes a social being in the symbolic. What the cinema projects is a figure of lack. but also Lacan’s deployment of the images of visuality for its patriarchal biases. If Ideology is “the imaginary representation of the world” and its structure is speculary (Louis Althusser). is one famous example. The film designates a spectator. the spectator is the Althusserrian “actor” in the mise-en-scène of ideological inter] 18 [ Introduction . and with the camera (which is interactive with the second screen. such as that of Trinh T.45 then film can be seen as a perfect medium for ideological interpellation. since the object seen is physically absent.” much like a child’s seeing the parents’ amorous play in an Oedipal triangulation of desire. cinema serves as the passage where the transition between the imaginary and the symbolic takes place within a changing structure of gaze and through diªerent forms of identification in the process of identity formation. But the lack also shows that cinematic scopophilia is “unauthorized. the spectator is produced by the filmic ideological apparatus as an interpellated. Other feminist theorists utilized and critiqued not only cinema’s appropriation of Lacan.46 To put it diªerently. Feminist film scholars would challenge such a universalist theory and argue that filmic identification is inherently gendered and causes the institution of the male as the normative.42 The female spectator’s subjectivity is thereby set in a tortuous relationship within the structure of the gaze. the retina of the eye). Luce Irigaray’s trenchant critique of the representation of women as the negative mirror reflection of men. never fully fulfilled. This keeps desire in play. Minh-ha. and the need for women to burn those mirrors and despecularize themselves. and film is a “technique of the imaginary” (Metz). In this scheme. The spectator. would critique the same mirror structure to show that an infinite play of empty mirrors defers the notion of the original “I” and dissolves the illusionary relationship between subject and subject. but deferred. sutured subject. and sets the spectator upon a certain journey.44 Enter ideology. and subject and object. always already gendered. since identification always involves recognition (of something known) before misrecognition sets in. In this formulation.

I would posit that film as a product of industrial capitalism helped project a temporally more fluid notion of subjectivity (through the use of montage and other time-manipulating formal techniques). as temporal compression equally increases in intensity and speed. ideology and the camera obscura do not illuminate but obscure the real and hide the historical character of the ruling class’s domination. the historical character of identity today lies in its predominantly visual mediation.pellation.” Both being dark chambers. who sees the cinema as ideological apparatus par excellence. and thus an analysis of the relationship between visuality and identity must be historically informed.48 The apparatus theory relates back to Marx. while ideological critique needs to be iconologically aware. replicating a patriarchal bias.47 From Althusser to Metz. the apparatus theory has been criticized for being universalistic and ahistorical. all of which are the result of human colonization of the globe becoming more and more thorough. of course. Such transnationality is produced in part by the intensity of migration of peoples and in part by advancements in the techniques of communication and our enhanced global awareness of interconnectedness. Just as the camera obscura works through inversion. and foreclosing the radical potential of the film medium. Universalist theories such as psychoanalysis and the apparatus theory therefore need to be thoroughly historicized and contextualized for them to be able to speak beyond Eurocentric terrains. In lockstep with the development of visual culture in global capitalism. who used the analogy of the camera obscura to emphasize the function of inversion in ideology.50 This returns us full circle to the social nature of visual images. so is ideology the inversion of the real: “The camera obscura of ideology simultaneously maintains a relationship to the real (which it reflects in an inverted form) and occults. making it possible to talk about a global image culture scattering alongside the scattering of global capitalism. and especially Jean-Louis Baudry. The repertoire of images available to diªerent peoples today.49 Understandably. obscures it. is overall much more multicultural and transnational. Introduction ] 19 [ . qualitatively and quantitatively of greater diversity. An art historical version of this theory would be Mitchell’s synthesis of Erwin Panofsky’s iconology and Althusser’s ideology as mutually constitutive: iconology is itself an ideology. this specific Lacan-influenced line of thinking has been called the “apparatus theory” for its critical look at cinema as an ideological apparatus. and that contemporary film and other visual media as a product of global capitalism take on a much more spatially fluid structure of transnationality.

Both the essentialism of identity politics and the skepticism of the postmodernist position seriously underread the real epistemic and political complexities of our social and cultural identities. rather than a blanket endorsement or repudiation. and through them. and increasing balkanization delineates national and subnational boundaries with finer and finer criteria of diªerence to the extent that diªerences can be overinvested. the critique of identity politics has had the unintended consequence of throwing out the baby (identity) with the bathwater (identity politics). In them. the epistemic status of identity should first be recognized: Identities are theoretical constructions that enable us to read the world in specific ways. as Satya Mohanty and others have argued. good and bad politics of diªerence. indicates that the fear of the other within one’s community is what triggers the accusations of identity politics. contemporary identities are much more nuanced. a politics based on inflexible definition of identities. eªectively shutting down the possibility of diªerencebased politics that have been and continue to be socially transformative. fragmented. It is increasingly the case that linguistic and cultural boundaries do not coincide with national boundaries (not that they ever have entirely). and their epistemic status should be taken very seriously. then. Since in global capitalism the political does not necessarily travel according to one’s intention or translate across diªerent geopolitical boundaries the same way. is making distinctions between good and bad identities.If earlier formations of identities are primarily determined by nationality and ethnicity in the course of struggles to dominate colonized peoples or resist colonial and imperialist powers.51 Although identity politics. It is in this sense that they are valuable. as we simultaneously draw from experiences as ] 20 [ Introduction . may be a manifestation of the misuse of identity-based struggles. The fact that religious fundamentalisms have not been explicitly charged as playing identity politics on a global scale. identity-based struggles acquire diªerent valences and produce diªerent promises or limitations in divergent contexts. we give texture and form to our collective futures. we learn to define and reshape our values and our commitments. according to Mohanty. which are both universalistic gestures. What is necessary. However. while subnational race-based identity struggles have. but are theories that help us make sense of experiences and turn them into knowledge.52 Identities are not arbitrary. Such overinvestment in identity as diªerence on the subnational level is what has been criticized as identity politics. and multiple.

identities are theoretical claims that are evaluatable: some are empowering. and to imagine what is not. allowing for the capacity “to negate. high modernist fetishization of alienation seems to have continued to the present day. in this case. Dirlik concludes forcefully that the postmodern argument for fluid subject positions is ultimately “the fetishization of alienation. the death of the worker. Most importantly. in other words. if not disingenuous. and allow for the political potential or entrenchment of a visual work to be highlighted for analysis. It is syllogistic. Samir Amin would argue. to destroy. Similarly.54 In this sense. and some are imposed. For those identities in the process of being constructed for antihegemonic struggles. then. such as that of Taiwan.resources for the construction of identities. gender. and women. that multiple and polyglot identities were the condition of existence prior to the imposed homogenization of unified subjects by Western humanism and individualism. one can evaluate diªerent representations of identities as more or less transformative or regressive. but that they have acquired a heavily historical as well as resistant character due to the particular geopolitical situation in the contemporary moment.55 and it also becomes possible to recognize identities as historical constructs as new identities are constantly being formed. first to declare multiple identities to be a probIntroduction ] 21 [ . others are oppressive. which conforms to the flexible logic of global capitalism. to change.”57 In historical hindsight.53 Identities can be socially productive. Class.56 With this so-called realist theory of identity. just when they are clamoring for more representation and subjectivity and constructing identities that can serve their resistant causes. some are self-produced. It is clear from the above summary that the realist theory of identity positions itself against the postmodernist celebration of the infinite deferral of identities and subjectivities. The pronouncement that the subject is dead parallels. as Sartrean négatités. more simply. tend to be working-class subjects. minorities. it is not that these identities did not exist in the past in a diªerent form for similar or diªerent purposes. as flexible production demands flexible workers to constantly retool while working multiple jobs without medical and other benefits. albeit with a very diªerent theoretical vocabulary and with a greater pretense to self-reflexivity. the oppressed may have “epistemic privilege” in producing socially transformative identities. and race determinants operate invisibly but integrally in both cases. critics such as Dirlik have voiced concern over the political price paid by the postmodernist notion of flexible subjects.” and to resist those identities imposed by dominant narratives. The dead subjects.

Recall that Heidegger’s suspicion about the pictorialization of the world through cinema and photography. it has made the notions of subjectivity and identity unusable for those who need them. founding subject. The urgent task. the implicit assumption here is that identities are productive of subjectivities. The Information Age. to distinguish six main kinds of identities in global capitalism: (1) ] 22 [ Introduction . is precisely based on the contention that such objectifying representation exemplifies human conquest of the world and helps constitute the human as the universal. information. then. as well as such reactive movements as various resistance movements on behalf of ethnicity. as opposed to the poststructuralist subject mired in fragmentation and rendered powerless in the face of transnational corporations serving new empires. it may be possible. both of which posit subjection as inevitable for subjectivization (recent celebration of melancholia as a universal psychological condition of subjectivity is also a case in point)60 and can have the unintended danger of explaining away oppression. especially those of Castells. mentioned in the previous section. is to distinguish between usable and unusable. hinged on the critique of the unified subject. Departing from apparatus theory and psychoanalytic theory. and recalcitrant and transformative identities.61 Transformative identity is a form of a‹rmation of subjectivity.lem in order to institute and valorize unified subjects only later to disclaim unified subjects to reinaugurate multiple identities.63 Incorporating the insights from above. and power. but it has pulled along those outside the West eager to keep step with the developments of so-called high theory and philosophy. and nation. then. which. locality. Manuel Castells therefore aptly titled the second volume of his trilogy.58 This was evidenced by the poststructuralist enterprise.”62 Powerful expressions of collective identity have challenged globalization and Eurocentric cosmopolitanism and have facilitated such proactive movements as feminism and environmentalism. that of unified subjectivity in Western philosophy. as we know. The game has been played out on class-specific and Western-centric terrains. especially when they are resistant in character.59 The critique against the poststructuralist notion of subjectivity is then twofold: (1) by universalizing a class-determined experience of alienation. as The Power of Identity to emphasize that cultural identity “was one of the main anchors of that opposition to the values and interests that had programmed the global networks of wealth. (2) its project has been an “in-house” struggle against another fantastic construction. resistant and hegemonic.

whose parameters are set by wherever the peoples from China have gone. in the context of global capitalism as well as the scattering of peoples in select sites across the Sinophone Pacific. (3) legitimizing identities that operate through ideological interpellation by the state and the neocolonial apparatuses to legitimize themselves and to maintain the status quo of power distribution. despite its wide adoption and circulation. The charge of this book is to analyze those visually mediated identities that will or will not make a diªerence locally. The Chinese diaspora. SINOPHONE ARTICULATIONS The scattering of peoples from China across the globe over a millennium has long been an object of study as a subfield in Chinese studies. understood as the dispersion of “ethnic Chinese” persons around the globe. Southeast Asian studies. (5) resistant identities developed out of cognition and knowledge to react against forces of domination and oppression. This subfield. for instance. and Asian American studies. language. (2) commercialized identities that transact profitably with the market by appropriating domestic and global multiculturalisms. which need to be recognized as identity politics on a global scale. culture. but the distinctions serve as heuristic devices to refine discussions of identity in global capitalism as a nexus of complex relationships that cannot be uniformly dismissed as playing into identity politics. has been called the study of the Chinese diaspora. which discloses a Hancentrism of a long-distance variety. stands as a universalizing category founded on a unified ethnicity. (4) epistemic identities that are based on experience and function as means of understanding the world. The measure of inclusion appears to be the degree of sinicization of these ethnicities. as well as place of origin or homeland. regionally. and (6) transformative identities that aid the emergence of new communities and bring about change.fundamentalist identities such as those that undergird religious fundamentalisms. because what often gets completely elided is Introduction ] 23 [ . or globally. and also has a small presence in African studies and Latin American studies in the United States.64 These identities are of course interconnected and they bleed into each other. Such a notion is highly problematic. A Uigur from Xinjiang province or a Tibetan from Xizang province/Tibet who has emigrated from China is not normally considered part of the Chinese diaspora. while the Manchus and the Mongolians from Inner Mongolia may or may not be considered part of the Chinese diaspora.

especially since the end of Manchu rule in 1911. and cultures. The term ethnic Chinese is therefore a serious misnomer. excluding all the other ethnicities. for the Western powers. The Chinese language. ] 24 [ Introduction . This has paradoxically worked well with the unifying intent of the Chinese state. finally and most importantly. languages. inside and outside China. the racialized concept correlates with three purposes: the racialized nation’s resistance against imperialism and semicolonialism in the early twentieth century. as we know them. and why it would continue to be a compelling idea in China in the present.65 There is no better way to understand this desire to universalize Chineseness as a racialized boundary marker than that. In short. the language of the Han. since Chineseness is not an ethnicity but many ethnicities.the fact that the Chinese diaspora refers mainly to the diaspora of the Han people. By this procedure of ethnicized reductionism. is a national marker passing as an ethnic.” in other words. “Chinese” functions as a category of ethnicity only to the extent that it designates the Han. The conflation of the word Chinese with everything from China has been coproduced by agents inside and outside China. cultural. it legitimated the semicolonization of the Chinese in earlier times and the management of their Chinese minorities within their own nation-states today. is nothing but the standardized language imposed by the state. and linguistic marker. the suppression of its ethnic minorities for their claims on and contributions to the nation. as it is generally assumed and understood. the Han-centric construction of Chineseness is not unlike the gross misrecognition of Americans as white Anglo Saxons. which eagerly presented a unified and racialized China and Chineseness to emphasize its cultural and political autonomy from the West. since there are altogether fifty-six o‹cial ethnicities in China and there are far more diverse languages and dialects spoken across the nation. that is. a practice of self-examination that internalized Western categories of the self. “Chinese. It may be partly traced back to a racialized ideology of the Western powers since the nineteenth century that presented Chineseness along the color line. and Chinese culture refers mainly to the culture of the Han. the Chinese. are largely limited to the Han. Only in this context can we understand why since the turn of the nineteenth century the notion of “Chinese national characteristics” propounded by Western missionaries became popular among Westerners and Chinese alike. which disregarded the many diversities and diªerences within China. For China and the Han Chinese. and. the Hanyu.

Thailand. other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. where resistances to the Chinese sphere of cultural and political influence have been prominent since the nineteenth century. the Sinophone peoples there are historically constitutive of the local. then. like his and her fellow citizens. the Philippines. After all. As much as the study of the Chinese diaspora has tried to broaden the question of Chinese and Chineseness by emphasizing the localizing tendencies of those peoples who have migrated out of China in their countries of sojourn and settlement. a Malaysian. In postcolonial nation-states across Southeast Asia. which is complicit with the simplifying generalizations imposed on China. a Filipino. for instance. or a Singaporean who happens to have ancestors from China and who can be. These terms dwell not only on the most general level for their signification. the unifying category of the Chinese diaspora. The Chinese and Chineseness.67 Similarly. they are dominant particulars masquerading as the universal. and the Western racialized construction of Chineseness as perpetually foreign. but also on the most exclusive. somehow Chineseness remains a category of ethnicity except in cases where ethnic or racial mixture is absolutely undeniable. the expulsion of the Hoa (local construction of the Chinese) Introduction ] 25 [ . long before nation-states ever existed. at once complicit with China’s nationalist rhetoric of the “overseas Chinese” who are supposed to long to return to China as their homeland.66 The question is then who is preventing them from being just a Thai. thus they are universal and particular at the same time. if not earlier. It is important to question. American? We can consider the various racialized acts of exclusion such as the Chinese Exclusion Acts in the United States. multilingual and multicultural. and South America. such as in various countries in Southeast Asia (especially Indonesia. some of them have been in Southeast Asia since as early as the sixth century. an Indonesian. and Singapore). the Chinese. who is preventing the Sinophone peoples in the United States from simply being or becoming Chinese Americans with emphasis on the latter part of the compound term.What is abundantly clear from this very short exposition of the problems of such umbrella terms as the Chinese and Chineseness is that the terms were activated through contacts with other peoples outside China as well as confrontations with their internal others. and Chineseness by the West. Africa. and to a certain extent. More precisely. and surely long enough to last many identity labels tied to nationality. Malaysia. are terms of conflation and manipulation that have carried various stigmas or purchases for those who are passively designed as such or who actively claim to be such.

The sentiments of Sinophone settlers in diªerent parts of the world of course are various.71 The racially or ethnically mixed populations with some traceable ancestry in China such as the Lukjins of Siam. scapegoating. Their diªerent intentions for staying or leaving provide diªerent measuring mechanisms for their desire to integrate or not. the kidnapping of Chinese children in the Philippines. intellectuals who migrated from China saw that their culture was centered in the land of their settlement.S. In Singapore. Whether racialized pressure from the outside.70 The Sino-Thais have localized their surnames and have more or less completely integrated into the fabric of Thai society.68 The locally born peranakans in Indonesia and mixed-race babas in Malaysia developed their own particular cultures of hybridity and rejected the “resinicization” pressures from China. even before it became an independent city-state. the basis of such an ideology is not unlike the one-drop-of-blood rule for African Americans in the United States.72 We continue to see a certain ideology of racial and ethnic purity mandating the tracing of origins even after centuries have passed. Scholarship on the Chinese diaspora provides ample evidence of the desire of these immigrants to localize within their lands of settlement. and many rejected the claim that their culture was an overseas Chinese culture. The Malaysian Communist Party. state. The externalized. But the fact of the Sinophone peoples’ dispersion through all continents and over such a long historical span leads one to question the viability of the umbrella concept of the Chinese diaspora where the criteria of determination ] 26 [ Introduction . and there was a strong sojourner mentality in the earlier phases of the dispersion since many were traders and even coolies. ethnic riots against the Chinese in Indonesia. and the Mestizos of the Philippines pose the question of whether it makes any sense to continue to register these categories at all and for what purposes and for whose benefit such registration serves. established in 1930.69 Chinese Americans have long considered themselves to be the children of the civil rights movement and resisted the “dual domination” and manipulation by both the Chinese state and the U. and many other such the Vietnamese government. reified category of the Chinese as a racial and ethnic marker readily serves the above purposes of exclusion. Metis of Cambodia and Indochina. or internalized racialization. and persecution. was one of the most active anticolonial units against the British. the Creoles in Trinidad and Mauritius. the Injerto and Chinocholos of Peru. and its membership was mainly Chinese. They coined the category Nanyang (the South Seas) for themselves.

and various language-based postcolonial studies such as Francophone studies (where the French-speaking Chinese are French per the ideology of French Republicanism).” As an illustration. measurable. to put it more precisely. Wang Gungwu. Southeast Asian studies (where the Sinophone peoples are seen more and more as Southeast Asians).”74 Here we hear echoes of the accusation by immigrant parents in the early twentieth century in San Francisco Chinatown. In this scheme. one can be more Chinese.”73 Another renowned scholar of Chinese diaspora. diªerent degrees of Chineseness. or the nationalist Chinese from China claiming their Chineseness to be the most authentic in comparison to those living outside China. If one Chinese American can be complimented for speaking good English in the United States due to the racist equation of whiteness and authenticity. the “Chinese American” is a missing person. or. therefore posited the idea of the “cultural spectrum of Chineseness. even though they are “not as yet fully Chinese as their compatriots in Chineseness. The equation for the latter is that between territory and authenticity.” but the Chinese in San Francisco and Singapore have more “complex non-Chinese variables. Two major points of blindness in the study of the Chinese diaspora lie in the inability to see beyond Chineseness as an organizing principle and the lack of communication with the other scholarly paradigms such as ethnic studies in the United States (where ethnic identities and nationality of origin can be disaggregated). the renowned scholar of the Chinese diaspora. that their American children were less than satisfactorily Chinese by calling them empty bamboo hearts ( juksing ). and Chineseness eªectively becomes evaluatable. he notes that the Chinese in Hong Kong are “historically” more Chinese. states that the Chinese in the United States have lost their cultural grounding and are therefore “lost to Chineseness. and another can be less Chinese. where the term for Chinese in America has gradually changed from overseas Chinese (huaqiao) to Chinese American (meiji huaren). for instance.76 This is clearly ahistorical even within China.” Pan further charges that the Chinese Americans’ involvement in the civil rights movement was nothing short of “opportunism. and quantifiable.75 In most of the scholarship on the Chinese diaspora. he or she can be equally complimented for speaking good Chinese in China for someone who is not authentically Chinese enough. Lynn Pan. and such terms as the Hong Kong and Macao compatriot (gang’ao tongbao) and Taiwan compatriot (Taiwan tongbao) have given Introduction ] 27 [ . and even the Hong Konger or Taiwanese are missing persons who are recognized only as Hong Kong Chinese or Chinese in Taiwan.

classical Han script was the lingua franca of the East Asian world. has a colonial history.way to Hong Kongers (xianggangren) and Taiwanese (Taiwanren). is also similar to the colonial United States in its intention to ] 28 [ Introduction . Taiwan. and Anglophone worlds. however. This is similar to the o‹cial Francophonie. whose existence owes largely to the expansion of the French empire and its cultural and linguistic colonization of parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Contemporary communities of Sinophone peoples outside China. and so forth. Not all empires acted the same way. there is a lasting. Lusophone. This is the major diªerence between the Sinophone and the other postcolonial language-based communities such as the Francophone and the Hispanophone. whose majority population is Han who settled there around the seventeenth century. clearly recognizable presence of the classical Han script in localized forms: kanji in Japanese and hanja in Korean. area studies. are not strictly colonial or postcolonial in relation to China except in a few cases. In standard Japanese and Korean languages. where scholars could converse by conducting so-called pen conversations (bitan) through writing. When China was a cultural empire. heterogenization and hybridization have been the norm rather than the exception since time immemorial. as was the Hispanophone Latin American world and Spanish empire. the literary. Hispanophone. Singapore as a settler society with the majority population being Han is akin to the United States as a settler Anglophone country. Hence the notion of the Sinophone is used here to include those areas of the world where diªerent Sinitic languages are spoken and written outside China. and linguistic colonization and influence did occur through varying degrees of coercion and cooperation and to diªerent degrees of success. are the linguistic consequences of their cultural dominance. What these empires uniformly left behind. like the other nonmetropolitan areas that speak metropolitan languages. but also to explore the resonances of this dispersion with the Francophone. of course. ethnic studies. The overinvestment in the notion of the homeland in the study of the Chinese diaspora cannot account either for the global dispersion of Sinophone peoples or for the increasing heterogenization of ethnicities and cultures within any given nationality. for instance. British empire in India and Africa.78 The Sinophone. Portuguese empire in Brazil and Africa. From the perspective of the longue durée of globalization. but they do share other similarities. and Chinese studies. however.77 I propose in this book not only to find bridges between the study of the dispersion of Sinophone peoples.

The Shandongnese spoken in South Korea is also diªerent from the Shandongnese spoken in the Shandong province of China. speakers of Cantonese in Hong Kong. As elsewhere. syntax. The same can be said about the speakers of Teochiu. speak a mixture of Shandongnese and Korean.80 Those who settled in various parts of Southeast Asia also rarely speak the standard language defined by the Chinese state. The Straits Chinese (who settled in the British Straits Settlements). but various old forms of topolects from the time when and the place where they emigrated from. Taiwan as a settler society can also be compared to Lusophone Cape Verde and São Tomé. Finally. Introduction ] 29 [ . The Han people living in South Korea. where the Portuguese settled in the fifteenth century and where diverse immigrants and Africans form a mixed-race community. In Quebec.81 It goes without saying that there are various degrees of creolization of the languages as well as outright abandonment of ancestral linguistic links to China. where the majority of the people actually speak Minnan. Hokkien. even though the standard Hanyu was taught in the educational system set up by the locals originally supported by the Taiwan government. while the rest speak Hakka and various aboriginal languages. Hanyu there is standard only to the extent that it is a written language. often creolized to the extent that the semantics. and a similar percentage of the Taiwanese speak the standard Mandarin. The French-Canadian identity in Quebec has increasingly given way to a localized. and Hailam in Southeast Asia. roughly 82 percent of the population is Francophone. such as the babas. speak English as well as patois Malay. Hakka. “The time when” is important. it is sounded out in Shandongnese. modern Quebecois identity through a process of Révolution Tranquille. and all the diªerent topolect speakers and Chinglish or pidgin speakers in the United States. and grammar of the two languages are intermingled in a single sentence. Furthermore. Mandarin is now only one of the o‹cial languages in Taiwan’s multilingual society.become formally independent from the country of immigration. and now by the Chinese government after the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between South Korea and China. for instance. where there are in fact many topolects all calling themselves Shandongnese. Taiwan’s situation is akin to Francophone Quebec. when spoken.and third-generation Shandongnese in South Korea. This is especially true for second.79 just as the uniform Chinese identity imposed by the Guomindang regime in Taiwan has gradually given way to a localized New Taiwanese identity in today’s Taiwan. since the topolects would have evolved diªerently inside and outside China.

Singapore. unlike the conception of the Chinese diaspora. everyday practice and experience. or global contingencies and desires. Francophone African nations have. and thus it is a historical formation that constantly undergoes transformation reflecting local needs and conditions. incorporation. The dominant language of the Sinophone may be standard Hanyu. and sublimation. it can be a site of both nationalism of the long-distance kind.The Sinophone recognizes that speaking fractions of diªerent Sinitic languages associated with China is a matter of choice and other historical determinations. and the Anglophone’s to England in its ambiguity and complexity. Hence. just as speaking English is not tied to England per se. In other words. contain an anticolonial intent against Chinese hegemony. Instead of the perpetual bind to nationality. maintains a precarious and problematic relation to China. sought to maintain or abandon the colonial language and to devise their own linguistic futures. whose axiological determinations are not necessarily dictated by China but by local. similar to the Francophone’s relation to France. the Sinophone may be inherently transnational and global and includes wherever various Sinitic languages are spoken.82 From the perspectives of Democratic Party members in pre-1997 Hong Kong or independentists in today’s Taiwan. furthermore. the Hispanophone’s to Spain. to varying degrees. the Sinophone foregrounds not the ethnicity or race of the person but the languages he or she speaks in either vibrant or vanishing communities of those languages. as well as pre-handover Hong Kong. the perennial other. anti-China politics. the Sinophone is largely confined to immigrant communities across all of the continents as well as those societies where the Han are the majority: Taiwan. and hence the Sinophone exists only to the extent that these languages are somehow maintained. The Sinophone is a placebased. Sinophone articulations. The Sinophone recedes or disappears as soon as the languages in question are abandoned. Sinophone articulations can take as many diªerent positions as possible within the realm of human expression. since mediation is exercised by more agents than one. By virtue of its residual nature. therefore. there is at least a trialectics. but it can be im] 30 [ Introduction . Speaking Sinitic languages with certain historical a‹nity to China does not necessarily need to be tied to contemporary China. but this recession or disappearance should not be seen as a cause for lament or nostalgia. or even nonrelation with China. It can be a site of both a longing for and a rejection of various constructions of Chineseness. The Sinophone. Rather than a dialectics of rejection. whether real or imaginary. regional.

and the contemporary United States. the place of settlement and everyday practice. the transnational. and post–martial law Taiwan cultural discourse is very much about articulating symbolic “farewells to China. but the Sinophone is often the site where powerful articulations against China-centrism can be heard. and above all. On the other hand. standard Hanyu is the object against which various minor articulations are launched resulting in its destandardization.”83 The Sinophone pre-1997 Hong Kong also saw the emergence of a nativist fetishization of Cantonese against the looming hegemony of standard putonghua. the Sinophone is a constellation of local languages specific to their locality. the Sinophone visual works examined in this book are limited to contemporary Taiwan. and Southeast Asia. and their meaning and significance do not need to be gauged only in terms of the major language. hybridization. on the one hand. nationalist or otherwise.” a form of “minor articulation. articulation by the minor or minoritized using the major language. but rather to examine how the relationship becomes more and more various and problematic and how it becomes but one of the many relationships that define the Sinophone in the multiangulated and multiaxiological contexts of the local. The Sinophone Taiwan. The practice of the Sinophone. pre-handover Hong Kong. the national. The Sinophone articulates its autonomy into being. is only an aspect of Taiwan’s multilingual community. the Sinophone can only be a notion in the process of disappearance as soon as it undergoes the process of Introduction ] 31 [ . As a major language. Mainly due to the limitation of the author’s expertise. the major language is contested and appropriated for various constructive and deconstructive purposes. In the process of this use. is. Ethnic minorities in China who speak the standard Hanyu as their ritualistic induction to Chineseness and Chinese nationality are prototypical of this kind of Sinophone articulation. Africa. where aboriginal languages are also spoken. as are those who resist Chinese domination outside China. the global. or sometimes outright rejection. Europe. fragmentation. for instance. to appropriate what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari have called “minor literature. As such.” that is. The purpose of Sinophone studies is not to construct yet another universal category such as the Chinese diaspora and “Cultural China” with obligatory relationship to China. but much work needs to be done to examine various other sites across Latin America. The Sinophone may articulate a China-centrism if it is the nostalgic kind that forever looks back at China as its cultural motherland or the source of value.plicated in a dynamic of linguistic power struggles.

literature from outside China) added confusion. with the Sinophone eventually losing its raison d’être. the Sinophone subject can be said to be situated in front of visual artworks as their focalizer and attains subjectivity by making narrative sense out of the artworks passing before him or her. oil paintings. if not oblivion. and San Francisco) are three of the most vibrant locations of their production. New York. not by the work’s position in the local context and the languages—visual. installation art or digital art. It should also be noted that the Sinophone is a very useful category for literature written in diªerent Sinitic languages. into neglect. We can see this to the extent that art making and art viewing constitute subjectivity and that visual materials rely on textual meanings in the written form. The singularity of the word Chi] 32 [ Introduction . standard Hanyu or otherwise. and Sinophone Taiwan. Sinitic-language-speaking artists often convey distinctly Sinophone sensibilities.85 The notion of the Sinophone has the expansiveness to include both visual and textual practices. In the past. followed by immigrant television broadcasting and filmmaking in the United States (mainly in Los Angeles. a Sinophone artwork would have mainly been defined by the ethnicity of the artist. To borrow from Miekie Bal’s narratological understanding of visuality. the distinction between literature written in Chinese languages from inside and outside China has been rather blurry.becoming. In the past. In the more artistically oriented media such as conceptual art. to make up for the lack of a term to describe the work of an artist who speaks a given Sinitic language. pre-1997 Hong Kong. aural. Imagetexts are intermedia and intersemiotic to include various textual applications of images and imagistic applications of texts as integrated practices. What used to be categorized in English as “Chinese literature” (Zhongguo wenxue. The visual media through which the Sinophone is most clearly articulated are cinema and television. literature from China) and “literature in Chinese” (huawen wenxie. when local concerns voiced in local languages gradually supersede preimmigration concerns for immigrants and their descendents through generations. and this blurriness has had the eªect of throwing literature written in Sinitic languages outside China.84 An interdisciplinary and broad notion of visuality not only as a culture of images but also as what Mitchell has called “imagetexts. The Sinophone as an analytical and cognitive category is therefore both spatially and temporally specific. textual—it speaks and writes.” also allows for the textual and narrative orientations of some installation and conceptual art to be considered as integral to the Sinophone.

The Sinophone. hence Sau-ling Wong’s designation of the important distinction between “Anglophone Chinese American literature” and “Sinophone Chinese American literature. In this sense. like the category of the “Third World. the Sinophone also evinces a complex relationship with the sites of its settlement and lived experience.” which can also exist within the First World.”86 In the context of Chinese American literature. though equally ambivalent and complex. for example. it maintains its own subjectivity. there was no clear way to designate Chinese American literature written in Hanyu. They may write in Hanyu. of a qualitatively diªerent kind. if not considered politically suspect for its “un-Americanness” that can elicit charges of unassimilatability. which I critique in this book. since some of these writers consider themselves to be subjects living under a colonial condition. In the unlikely event that the dominant Chinese relinquish the notion of cultural and linguistic authenticity. literature written in Hanyu has been systematically marginalized. but their sensibilities are ambiguously positioned vis-à-vis politico-cultural China and a uniform construction of Chineseness as Hancentered and Han-dominant. therefore also exists on the margins within China. to accept that the Han is nothing but the name of a river. As the Sinophone distinguishes itself from the dominant construction of Chineseness.nese in both terms in English erases the distinction between Zhongwen (Chinese) and Huawen (Sinophone) and easily slips into China-centrism.” which are based on models of nationality and ethnicity. For first-generation Chinese Americans who have emigrated from various other Sinophone sites or China. it is also possible to consider literature written by ethnic minorities inside China as Sinophone literature. While the Sinophone heterogenizes both the dominant constructions of Chineseness and Americanness. Some might flaunt this as the postmodernist inbetween-ness. external (if their desire is sovereignty) or internal (if they feel oppressed). respectively. that the concept of “China” itself is but a series of constructions over a long historical trajectory. Similar to its complex relationship to China and Chineseness. the Sinophone has been crying for a name for itself. Similarly. others are adamantly local in their arIntroduction ] 33 [ . their relationship to the cultures and languages of the United States is. the Chinese as such may then be replaced by the Sinophone as heterogeneous practices of language and culture. it also distinguishes itself from the dominant construction of Americanness in a way that is borne out by the exigencies of lived experience in the United States. Dismissed in both the canons of “Chinese literature” and “Chinese American literature.

pre-1997 Hong Kong. where cultures and languages are more and more decodable through visual mediations. and various other Sinitic languages. who makes movies in both English and Hanyu (in many accents). But the sheer creativity of Sinophone directors such as Ang Lee. being able to attend to the process of its formation and disappearance. or Sinophone artists such as Wu Mali. who evinces a cultural cosmopolitanism that can be more adventurous and open-ended than that of self-righteous metropolitan cosmopolitans. Place matters as the grounding where the Sinophone acquires its valance and relevance. the Sinophone stands as an open category that views China and Chineseness at an oblique angle in light of place-specific experiences. and the impressive output of movies and art from Taiwan. the definition of the Sinophone must be place-based and it must be sensitive to time. The history of the o‹cial Francophonie cautions us that the notion of the Sinophone also bears the risk of being appropriated by the Chinese state. In the case of the Francophonie as an institutional concept.ticulation of political and cultural meanings. while the psychosocial investment in the land of settlement may increasingly outweigh older attachments. The notion of the Chinese diaspora has led to similar ] 34 [ Introduction . the French state can willfully neglect its anticolonial character and instead highlight its potential as the champion of pluralism in order to refute the overpowering pressure of American cultural hegemony. In an increasingly globalized world. the Sinophone became a self-conscious category when mainland Chinese colonialism of the Guomindang was recognized and peacefully overthrown. To sum up.87 The Francophonie can be partly seen as spectral remains of the French empire under whose warm shadow contemporary France’s waning cultural influence in the globe can be temporarily displaced. it can be turned into a new fantasy of French global influence. if not a point of mobilization for imperial nostalgia. political allegiances often run the gamut of extreme positions at odds with each other. for Hong Kong its incorporation into the Chinese polity in 1997 marked the waning of the Sinophone as its integration into China became inevitable. and Sinophone America attest to the vibrancy of Sinophone cultures in the making and becoming. Taiwanese. The Sinophone is kept alive by successive waves of new immigrants. Unfortunately. for Taiwan in the late twentieth century. For recent immigrant communities in the United States that speak Cantonese. while earlier immigrants may move further toward the mainstream to heterogenize the mainstream culture in a bid for pluralism and equality. If.

The Sinophone is many things. Japan tried to “overcome” China militarily by instigating the two Sino-Japanese Wars. totality with partiality. it cannot be contained by uniform definitions. and its place-and-time-specific articulation is where its historical character lies. Introduction ] 35 [ . the Sinophone’s insistence on its settlement outside China. Sinophone articulation introduces diªerence. contemporary Sinophone articulations. making art. with the exception of those of minority groups in China.89 If we posit that the Chinese discursive field envisages a list of necessary and fixed identities for ideological and political purposes. the resistance was more circuitous: denouncing the ideology of “serving the great” (sadae juûi) in the seventeenth century was simultaneously producing its authenticity as preserver of Chinese culture against the Manchus. Articulation by Sinophone peoples thus brings the Sinophone into being as a new social and cultural formation that interrupts fixity with diªerence.88 but twentieth-century history saw a gradual move away from Chinese influence and the fitful abolishment of the mandatory study of hanja (Han written characters) in its educational system until the recent rise of China as a global power. Articulation as a practice not only subverts fixed identities but also opens up the possibility for new identities. For Korea. In the particular definition of the term by Chantal Mouªe and Ernesto Laclau. or an emerging Chinese empire that claims the sole right to Chineseness. Sinophone articulation. making film. which in turn can lead to new social and cultural formations. However. Rather than a testament to the classical Chinese empire. contradiction. irony. and so forth— disrupts the symbolic totality that is Chinese and instead projects the possibility of a new symbolization beyond reified Chinese and Chineseness. and contingency into those identities. It is in order to register the agency of those who work in various visual and textual media in Sinophone areas that I use the term articulation to describe the expressive act of art and filmmaking. by the acts and practices of cultural production—naming.consequences: it centered China as the place of origin and implicitly demonstrated China’s global influence. and as lived cultures and languages. may determine whether to respond to such claims or to ignore them altogether. articulation is a social practice that participates in the larger discursive field by constructing new diªerences and interjecting contingency to necessity. its minor status within China. In the last two centuries. such as the premodern Sinophone worlds of Japan and Korea. The Sinophone’s favorite modes therefore tend to be intertextual: satire. and symbolically through a vernacular movement that displaced the Han written script. writing.

Asia. This intertextuality. remain nonlinear and discontinuous. Equally. when changing political realities demand corresponding responses. for sure. These and other dialectical images. but nonetheless act as agents that “telescope” the past through the present.” colonial Hong Kong to (post)colonial Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. however. A person who speaks a smattering of Sinitic languages watching Hong Kong musicals and martial arts films of the 1960s and 1970s in South Korea is necessarily implied within a collective imaginary of the Sinophone across other Asian and Southeast Asian sites through the identificatory practices of the cinema.90 This book is an attempt to understand the Sinophone in its various intertextual moments of cultural articulation situated within the transnational political economies and cultural relationships with China. and others. (post)colonial Hong Kong is closer to China than colonial Hong Kong was. Articulations of cultural nationalism against China are therefore more prominent in Taiwan. The transformation of the “Republic of China” to “Taiwan. thereby helping to constitute the Sinophone as a transnational and yet historically specific. we can consider Hong Kong cinema that traveled to various Sinophone sites in Asia from the 1960s to the present day as helping to construct the Sinophone as an imagined community.paradox. For instance. and the United States. These new identities and cultures have been heavily reliant on visual culture and popular media in the past half century. Taiwan is farther from China in spatial imaginary than the Republic of China was. a “critical constellation” of the past and the present is represented. Chinese and Taiwanese to Chinese and Taiwanese Americans all takes time. It takes time to refute old identities and construct new identities. whereas Hong Kong film imaginary seems to travel more and more northward to include various Chinese sites as locations of action and narration after 1997. triangulation among Taiwan. bricolage. is not simply rewriting or reinvention. It analyzes Sinophone’s overdetermined (multiple but not infinite) axes of articulation in time and space. imagined community. Through the rich images in these films. it is processional. even though they are both under the shadow of Chinese political hegemony to diªerent de] 36 [ Introduction . Hong Kong. collage. so that the images acquire a historical character. but a means to construct new identities and cultures. and China is clearly unbalanced: the Taiwan–Hong Kong cultural relationship is displaced by their vibrant economic ties with China. is a process that occurs in time. Across the Taiwan Strait. geopolitics changes the conception of space. by virtue of the dispersion of Sinophone sites. Identity.

91 Some of the resentment toward Lee’s film by Chinese audiences also had to do with the issue of ownership—who owns the genre and who are the most legitimate inheritors of the genre. House of Flying Daggers. but what it reveals most tellingly is the hidden assertion of authenticity and ownership. A film that flaunts something essential about Chinese culture needs certified producers from China proper. Crossing diªerent oceans. hence he was not following in the footsteps of Lee. It will be apropos to end this introduction by returning to the film that I started with in order to illustrate. Zhang again noted that even his second martial arts film. when Hero was finally released in the United States after several years of delay. How can an inauthentic subject use the genre so successfully in the international film market when the genre belongs to the Chinese director. In various interviews in 2004. Taiwan. Zhang credited the success of Lee’s film as having prepared the reception of his own film. the Sinophone peoples across diªerent oceans and territories negotiate the relationship between space and place creatively in their articulatory practices. In their rootedness in the local place. the diªerences between the Sinophone and the Chinese played out on the transnational stage. depending on their perceptions of both geographical and psychic space.93 The compulsion to claim precedence is aimed to deflect the suspicion of imitation or reaction. its true inheritor? Introduction ] 37 [ . the Sinophone peoples in North America are closer or farther from China. Although shown several years apart. In short. now more retrospectively. the rumor has it that Zhang shot his film with the aim of showing the world how to make a “real” martial arts film after the global success of Lee’s film. The case in point is a highly publicized rivalry between Crouching Tiger.grees and in diªerent ways. The relationship is more vertical than horizontal. also released in 2004 in the United States. he developed both Hero and the House of Flying Daggers before Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger.92 This is despite the fact that Zhang used the same cinematographer and cast one of the same actresses for his film. so neither was a case of imitation. The charge that the ending of the House of Flying Daggers appears to be a copy of Crouching Tiger was responded to again by either such simple assertion or temporal precedence. Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee and Hero by Zhang Yimou. or Hong Kong. or the other Sinophone sites in Asia where they have emigrated from. To deflect the suspicion that he was following Ang Lee. not from a Taiwanese American. but he made sure to mention that his film was developed long before Lee’s film. was developed before Crouching Tiger.

empire. market makes advertising sense. The national allegorical impulse that exposed repression by the Chinese gerontocracy is now turned into a celebration of empire in the film Hero. In view of Zhang’s early films. but it does not make sense for him in terms of his perceived right to ownership and authenticity.S. so to speak. Present-day empires work through military might as well as mass media.S. as catering to Western tastes by oªering a typical. “‘Hero’ is about sacrifice of oneself for a larger purpose. by suppressing heterogeneity and diªerence. Sinophone areas are in this sense important sites of cultural production on the margins of empires where empires collide and collude. the era of empires once again seems to have returned. If Crouching Tiger evinces a multiaccented or multilingual negotiation with China and Chineseness. and paradoxically because.S. we may say that his claim to Chineseness has changed in strategy and direction.Ownership of cultural material becomes an issue only when competitive claims are waged or when there is a need to demarcate the boundary of the cultural community. It is di‹cult to imagine another more blatant imperial apologia that rationalizes violence as the means to peace. There is nothing more telling than the historical fact that the Qin emperor is credited as having unified the Chinese written script and crushed intellectual dissent (by burying dissenting scholars alive and by burning books).”95 Even though. For Zhang Yimou to evoke Crouching Tiger in the context of the U. the Qin ruler depicted in the film is so brutal. empire. the rise of China in the global imaginary. especially in light of its in] 38 [ Introduction . The new mode he deploys in these two martial arts films retains the latter but discards the former. He had been criticized. Humanism gives way to a self-righteous celebration marking. At the cusp of China’s emergence as a superpower vying with the U.94 The hero must sacrifice for the “good” of the collective even if it means massive sacrifices will be required on the way to the unification of the empire. the hero’s sacrifice will guarantee the unification of the realm under heaven (tianxia) and end the condition of war among the various states. As Zhang puts it. It is therefore not surprising that some have made the far-fetched conjecture that Hero is also simultaneously an apologia for the U. Hero constructs a prehistory of China as the inevitable process of becoming a singular unity out of the instability of heterogeneity. in short. and where heterogeneity and diªerence can be retained and celebrated. which epitomized the fifth-generation cinema as national allegories. for one’s country. for instance. selfexercised Orientalism that criticized the authoritarian Chinese government on the one hand and exoticized Chinese cultural symbols on the other.

a splitting occurs between the makers of the film and the audience of the film.vasion of Iraq in the name of universal democracy. and the latter becoming subjected to illusory fantasies of subjectivity or alienating subjugation to the aura of the star. in this sense. in the case of Hero. attention solicits subjugation just as the heroes in the movie solicit subjugation by all to the Qin emperor. The Benjaminian aura around a work of art has now waned to be reincarnated as mass media star power. The time of heroes has again arrived—notice the proliferation of hero narratives in Hollywood around 2004— and these films uniformly celebrate star power and produce a cult of media personality. or transcends cultural and political economic realities in Sinophone sites across the Pacific. and in the case of Hero. whose ability to hold the attention and fascination confers the few power over the many. This is indeed far from the mass consciousness with revolutionary potential that Benjamin was allegorizing. This returns us. with the former enjoying full subjectivity and mass mediauras. resists. The film functions as a “synopticon” in which the many watch the few. to-be-watchedness is a term of value indicating celebrity status. to the attention theory of value discussed earlier in this introduction. “mass mediauras. Those who manipulate the means of production manipulate the audience. becoming. the realm under heaven. which translates into money and fame. then. the Sinophone. in its multiaccented fracturing of China-centrism. Introduction ] 39 [ . By contrast. This is the call of China-centrism of an imperial order. expands to all reaches of the world.98 The wherewithal of this capacity will determine whether a given artist succumbs to.97 No longer is to-be-watchedness only the mark of the feminine and the powerless as in classic feminist film theory and in Foucault’s characterization of power in the panopticon. more pertinently. Attention equals value for the watched. in Samual Weber’s ironic phrasing.”96 Here. Rather. can embody the transformative capacity when its articulators take seriously the idea that the promise of image-texts is precisely the practice of potentiality and the imagination of new possibilities. the relation of production mimics the imperial relation between subject and object.

”2 which tries to yoke the production of contemporary subjectivities to late capitalist processes. and identified the potential for new ] 40 [ . —Arif Dirlik.”1 We have seen the repetition of the word flexibility in such notions as “flexible citizenship. the hyperreal. the hypercompression of space-time brought about by advancements in communications and electronic technologies. disembodied movement of money and commodities. charted the emergence of transnational and diasporic public spheres. A‹rmative readings of flow have emphasized its liberating and resistant potential against disciplines of the nation-state. all appearing to move freely and fluidly through space and across boundaries.It is subjectivities hybridized in colonial encounters that provide the most eªective medium for the conjoining of the colonial and the global. and so forth have come to take on the characteristics of flow. Frequently connected to the notion of flexibility is the widely used metaphor of flow. Global Modernity (2006) 1 Globalization and Minoritization Much has been said by scholars in the social sciences and humanities regarding the emergence of flexible subject positions in our late capitalist world governed by what David Harvey calls the “flexible regime of accumulation. The mass migration of people.

the erstwhile sources of oppression—colonialism. assimilated citizens. unassimilatability could be actively deployed and deterritorialized subject positions could be eªected against the nation-state. which disrupted native systems and forcibly imposed metropolitan cultures. due to colonialism and imperialism. nation-state. nation-state. In sum. older paradigms of assimilation into the U. and multicontinental urban cultures were precursors of today’s world cities. much further along as a contemporary hybrid cultural formation than the metropolitan center. postmodern.7 Due to the racialized policing of the U.transcultural cosmopolitanisms. their unassimilatability actually helped them carve out a space of critical resistance to the U. for instance. of which the notion of a “third culture” is a good example. and some claim.6 Referring to all Americans of Asian descent. Anthony King maintains in a similar vein that Third World colonial cities with their multiracial. deterritorialized.5 Here. that the Third World is “au courant” today. since its colonial hybridization is precedent to the hybridity engendered by globalization in the metropolitan center. in the articulations of postcolonial and immigrant agency. multicultural. for Buell.S.4 According to this line of argument. drawing from the work of many scholars. or to put it more precisely. argues. out of a competitive motivation to claim deterritorialized subjectivities for the margin. thus constitutes the source of new cosmopolitans. colonialism seems to have accidentally and ironically become a historical benefit that enabled the production of exemplary transnational.3 Extending the utopic readings of the consequences of flow to the peripheral communities. Lisa Lowe similarly argues that since Asian immigrants and Asian Americans have always been prevented from becoming authentic. resulting in a decentering of the core by the periphery. Frederick Buell.S. The Third World. Conversely. Third World cultures can now readily flaunt hybridity and can serve as cosmopolitan examples and models for the center. scholars have also rushed to identify Third World postcolonial hybridities as the quintessentially transnational. Particularly with the post-1965 immigration of Asians to the United States. and therefore contemporary and postmodern subjectivities and cultures in Third World postcolonial nation-states. imperialism.S. nation-state are said to have become increasingly obsolete. and state racism— can become the basis of constructive and resistant disidentification with the nationGlobalization and Minoritization ] 41 [ . the migration of postcolonial people to the metropolitan centers as immigrants has also hybridized metropolitan cultures and turned these centers into world cities.

and its absence may actually allow for agency and subjectivity for both the immigrant and the minority. Furthermore. This question of flexibility is therefore crucial to an understanding of the political economy of Sinophone visual culture across the Pacific. even though a celebratory tone remains dominant in their works. Among the visual media. If we presume. it involves the enlargement of the frame of reference and discourse from the national to the transnational ter- ] 42 [ Globalization and Minoritization . then.10 The fact that none of these dystopic possibilities and actualities received in-depth and detailed analyses in these texts betrays to me not so much the limits of their arguments as their felt need to eªect a theoretical coup d’état. which. that global capitalism’s favorite subjects are flexible citizens.9 Arjun Appadurai warns how migration exacerbates diªerence and deterritorialized fundamentalisms can heighten ethnic violence. becomes a marker of some kind of power. in the context of globalism. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini note how transnationalism can work in complicity with oppressive nation-states to further the exploitation of labor. the various scholars mentioned above also uniformly evoked the dystopic potential of the transnational. film and video are able to cross national borders much more easily than the traditional plastic arts. allegiance to the nation-state can no longer be taken for granted. the question concerning us in this chapter is how this flexibility actually works for Sinophone visual workers and artists.8 Lowe emphasizes the oppression of sweatshop laborers as a symptom of the new international division of labor and flexible production.state. The success of Sinophone directors in Hollywood such as Ang Lee from Taiwan and John Woo from Hong Kong further suggests that the translatability of the medium makes the filmmakers themselves more marketable in diªerent cultural contexts. In our era of globalization. This coup involves the overthrow of the oppressive view of immigrants and minorities as the always already victimized and the institution of the nonreactive view of them as transnationally constituted subjects who need not be completely subjected to or dictated by their oppressive nation-states. and the immigrant and the minority have a privileged access to these subject positions. THE LIMITS OF A COUP D’ÉTAT IN THEORY With the exception of Buell. whether native or adopted. practically granting them the status of flexible subjects.

rain, in which there are more possibilities of empowerment for the immigrant and the minority. This coup d’état, I suspect, is most crucially motivated by the desire for theoretical coevalness. The conferring of deterritorialized citizenship, in its proximity to postmodern subjectivity, acquires for the immigrant and the minority the status of being a contemporary with the metropolitan subject, not the embodiment of the perennial “past” of Western modernity as was the case in older modernization paradigms. The rhetoric of flexibility applied to the Third World subjects allows them to be coeval with the West in the temporal scheme.11 But the potential risk in the quest for theoretical coevalness is the flattening of historical and power diªerences, which may cause it to paradoxically repeat the kind of universalism that underpinned modernization theories. Avoiding the trap of another universalism, maintaining historical and geopolitical specificity, while arguing for coevalness is indeed a profound challenge. We may begin by defining coevalness not as a “peaceful co-existence” of cultures, but as the “co-temporality of power structures.”12 Contemporaneity, then, is marked at every turn and at every moment by the operation of power on an uneven terrain. From my vantage point as a multiply displaced immigrant scholar working within both the disciplines of area studies and ethnic studies, I worry about the seeming contiguity constructed among the flexible subject (Asian cosmopolitans), the minority subject (Asian immigrants and Asian Americans), and resistance against the nation-state. I understand the necessity of identifying agency in postcolonial and minority subjects and do indeed see new forms of agency emerging for minority subjects in the transnational terrain, but I wonder whether this necessity should always bear the burden of reactively employing vocabulary and terminologies that are current and therefore appear to confer power. What I worry about is that agencies have not been so much examined through their production and embodied practices as they have been identified or discovered via available terminologies in a theoretical turn toward coevalness. It may be fruitful for us to ask, for instance, what are the material consequences of flexibility? In Harvey’s conception of the flexible regime of accumulation, flexibility empowers the holders of capital, not the workers and producers of commodities—it is an extremely uneven practice. In the way late capitalism has moved the Fordist structure of production to the global arena to form an international division of labor, and in the

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way it sanctions flexible labor processes that deepen the exploitation of labor, flexibility can simultaneously be the prerogative of the few with mobility and economic power and a profoundly abusive practice subjecting workers to “flextime” regimes of multiple jobs with no traditional benefits.13 Stuart Hall’s penetrating statement that “the global is the self-representation of the dominant particular” aptly captures the extreme unevenness governing the production and circulation of cultures across the globe.14 Pushing Hall’s statement further, I would argue that the so-called postcolonial hybrid cultures that we celebrate today are usually seen by the center as but corrupted versions or poor cousins of metropolitan cultures and are seldom, if ever, seen as precursors. The proliferation of McDonald’s in Taiwan is a confirmation of metropolitan culture’s inevitability, not the occasion to study cultural hybridity as a model for American McDonald’s. Seldom does postcolonial hybridity provide enough of a threat or inspiration so that the metropolitan center feels the need to emulate. Neither has postcolonial cosmopolitanism ever shared the same exalted place on the pedestal with metropolitan cosmopolitanism. Postcolonial and metropolitan hybridities embody two diªerent histories, are derived from two very diªerent experiences, carry divergent “values” globally, and can never be equal.15 When these postcolonial cosmopolitan cultures do travel to the metropole through migration, they are met with profound ambivalence and e‹cient policies of containment, which include either naked racism or a multiculturalism that suppresses diªerence in the name of authenticity or utilizes diªerence for the purpose of commercial gain or absolution of liberal guilt. It is also imperative to reexamine the metaphor of flow so frequently evoked in studies of globalization and transnationalism. Flow is always aªected by topography—it must follow specific contours, layouts, and routes, which aªect its speed, direction, and density. The directions of flow are also always historically marked. For example, the flow of postcolonial people to the West in our historical moment mainly appears as economic migration, while the flow bound for the postcolonial sites appears chiefly in the form of tourism. Furthermore, for the production of meaning, flow is always arrested at a specific conjuncture of time and space; that is, it has its own chronotope, albeit a continuously shifting one, depending on context and therefore avoiding fixity and determinism. Like the way narratives achieve meaning through the application of closure as in classical theories of narrative or in Hayden White’s useful discussion of how “proper history” acquires narrativity through closure,16 flow acquires meaning only at a moment


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of temporal and spatial arrest within one or more contexts. Like “reality eªects” that are produced by the artful arrangement of everyday objects and the provision of descriptive details in realist narratives,17 larger meaning-eªects that are of crucial social consequence are more often than not constructed and manipulated by dominant institutions with their governing laws and discourses and are always permeated by power. Using a diªerent metaphor, Ernest Laclau and Chantel Mouªe call these privileged mechanisms of closure or fixity “nodal points”:
The impossibility of an ultimate fixity of meaning implies that there have to be partial fixations— otherwise, the very flow of diªerences would be impossible. Even in order to diªer, to subvert meaning, there has to be a meaning. . . . Any discourse is constituted as an attempt to dominate the field of discursivity, to arrest the flow of diªerences, to construct a center. We will call the privileged discursive points of this partial fixation, nodal points. (Lacan has insisted on these partial fixations through his concept of points de capiton, that is, of privileged signifiers that fix the meaning of a signifying chain. This limitation of the productivity of the signifying chain establishes the positions that make predication possible—a discourse incapable of generating any fixity of meaning is the discourse of the psychotic).18

For signification to be possible, then, meaning has to be temporally and provisionally fixed at nodal points, and the agents who have the privileged access to nodal points are institutions, organizations, and individuals whose wills to power and domination are forcefully expressed through discourses that repress diªerences, or in our new historical moment, recontain diªerences through channeling them to unthreatening venues. Examples are numerous. The discourse of multiculturalism that so easily slips into a recontainment of diªerences is a ready example. Another example: the flow of postcolonial migration to the United States is governed by the nodal points articulated by the Immigration and Naturalization Services in terms of priority and desirability clearly favoring immigrant investors over economic and political refugees. Likewise, the virtual flow of images and money, theoretically always in transit and deferred in their consumption—as in Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto’s intriguing formula of M-I-M (money-image-money) and I-M-I (image-money-image) in which capital “accumulates not only through the circulation of money but also through the circulation of images without end,” that is,
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“without being consumed”19—nevertheless accumulates meaning-eªects, or in Laclau and Mouªe’s language, confronts nodal points. The endlessly circulatable image is Stuart Hall’s “dominant particular,” to which the challenge from the margin is deferred and whose vitality is renewed through circulation and recirculation, whereas money, even in its virtual form, lines the pockets of some and not others. The necessary tension and contradiction between fluidity and fixity can be examined in detail through an analysis of flexible subject positions in the transnational context. In the following analysis of Sinophone filmmaker Ang Lee’s early films as well as their divergent reception in Taiwan and the United States, I will illustrate how the nodal points of meaning assert themselves across the global divide in and through flexible articulations of culture. My reading of the operation of these nodal points in Ang Lee’s early work will suggest the persistence of meaningproduction privileging the nation-state, albeit more than one nation-state. In the juxtaposition and interaction between the two nation-states, Taiwan and the United States, we will see how two nodal points—nationalist patriarchy and gendered minoritization—separately discussed in Asian Studies and Asian American Studies respectively but never together, and it is Sinophone studies that makes this unorthodox commingling possible— operate within and with flexibility. I briefly explain the ways in which these two nodal points are utilized below. In postcolonial historiography, as well as studies of colonialism in general, native nationalism has been an important discursive construct as the predominant form in which resistance is articulated. When analyzed as a gendered discourse, nationalism has most often been seen in its complicity with patriarchy and masculinity, which either represses internal feminist causes or competes with colonial masculinities. The works of Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World and The Nation and Its Fragments, have helped define the terms of the discussion, alongside various works on the relationship between gender and nationalism nicely summarized in Nira Yuval-Davis’s useful book Gender and Nation.20 While nationalism in the Third World is construed as a reactive cultural and political discourse that has ambivalent implications for Third World agency, it delimits the coherence of its power through the repression of internal dissent and diªerences, in particular, its female constituencies. Gendered minoritization, on the other hand, is a familiar topic in Chinese American Studies. By “gendered minoritization,” I mean that the process of minoritization—to turn an immigrant who was a national subject into the mi]


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nority subject in the United States—is often structurally revealed to be diªerent for men and women. Sau-ling Wong, for instance, has argued convincingly how gender becomes ethnicized for Chinese immigrants in the American context and thereby men and women acquire diªerential access to acculturation and assimilation: female immigrants seem to acquire “whiteness” more readily than do male immigrants in that they assimilate more eªortlessly and they are more easily accepted by white society.21 In mainstream representations, Chinese American men are more readily associated with their race than with their sex (hence they are racialized and desexed or feminized in stereotypes), while Chinese American women more with their sex than their race (hence they are sexually considered enticing and perceived as less threatening). The gendered minoritization of Chinese Americans and Chinese immigrants has been a condition noted by many scholars, who bemoan, for instance, that Chinese American women writers have always received much more favorable reception by the mainstream audience and media, while male writers have suªered from neglect and prejudice. Hence the perceived necessity to construct hypermasculinity by Chinese American male writers such as Frank Chin in order to fight emasculation.22 In sum, in the operation of these two nodal points—nationalist patriarchy and gendered minoritization—“nation-ness” ends up dictating the discourses involved, and the category of the “national” remains an important determinant of meaning. FLEXIBILITY AND NODAL POINTS If the realm of legitimacy for nationalist patriarchy is the Third World nationstate, and that for gendered minoritization is the metropolitan nation-state, how does someone simultaneously situated in both places operate in terms of these two nodal points? The case of film director Ang Lee oªers an interesting example of how someone simultaneously Taiwanese and Taiwanese American eªects a flexible subject position with seemingly flexible gender and race politics. The crucial question for me in the following is this: what does it mean for someone to be a national subject and a minority subject simultaneously? To a large extent, the emergence of Ang Lee as a flexible subject has much to do with the U.S. cultural hegemony in Taiwan through decades of propagation of Americanism. Knowledge of American culture became a given for the educated Taiwanese to the extent that a national subject from Taiwan can be readily transformed to a minority subject in
Globalization and Minoritization ]


Alex. The Wedding Banquet. Zhu comes to live with his son. 1993. 1994). My ideology critique that follows will reveal the reconstitution of patriarchy and patriarchal gender politics. all produced by the Central Motion Pictures Corporation in Taiwan. Zhu was caught in a situation where he could only shield either his wife or his son from the violent raid of the Red Guards. ] 48 [ Globalization and Minoritization . Alex now lives in New York and is married to a white woman named Martha. especially The Wedding Banquet. There have been many movies with immigrant themes prior to and after Ang Lee (Clara Law’s Farewell China and Sylvia Chang’s Siao Yu. The diegesis thereby establishes the patriarch’s absolute dedication to his son. Lee’s films’ success begs the broad question of ideology—cultural. When Mr. and sexual—rather than the usual query about style and technique. the patriarch Mr. which was the most successful film in Taiwan history. so to speak. I then examine a diªerent set of conformities in the films’ appeal to the American audience to illustrate the particular content of Ang Lee’s flexible representation across the Pacific in these early films.the United States. his discomfort due to cultural conflicts with his white daughter-inlaw therefore immediately becomes a question of Alex’s unfiliality. we are told that during the Cultural Revolution in China. he chose to protect his son instead of his wife. thereby any remotely unfilial act on Alex’s part becomes a moral. Eat Drink Man Woman. The films were major box o‹ce successes in Taiwan. contributing to Alex’s immense sense of pressure from having to mediate between two cultures. the films are set in the United States. the evasion of pointed political issues. which exploit flexibility with a much more nuanced critical awareness. as he has sacrificed his wife for him. to name two prominent ones). 1992. Unlike his later films. Ang Lee’s success as a director began with his small-budget Father Knows Best trilogy (Pushing Hands. but none has garnered such widespread appeal and box o‹ce success. who later died. defect. if not mortal. In Pushing Hands. political. I discuss the supremacy of Americanism in Taiwan in more detail in chapter 6. these early films may be seen as model illustrations of how Sinophone films can be squarely caught within a political economy of culture structured by the unevenness of power along the axes of gender and nation. As a good patriarch should. and all begin with issues of cultural or generational conflict and end with some kind of resolution. Except for the last one in the trilogy. and the subsumption of homosexuality under heterosexual hegemony as prominent features in the films’ appeal to Taiwan audiences.

confirmed by a graceful widow from Taiwan who falls in love with him. as he always does. When first meeting Wai Tung’s parents. In The Wedding Banquet. as a good housewife should. and otherwise takes care of them and knows where Wai Tung places all his belongings. and his attractiveness. in order to win the approval of Wai Tung’s parents. Zhu) and Taiwan (the widow) is glossed over by a rhetoric of shared cultural Chineseness.” This is the only film in the trilogy that presents a subject position closest to that of the national subject (albeit under the aegis of a politically suspicious “Greater China”). his conflict with Martha is mainly attributed to her inability to fulfill her traditional role of a daughter-in-law. AlGlobalization and Minoritization ] 49 [ . his extraordinary mastery of the Chinese art of taichi. and a sense of pan-Chinese sympathy is established. whose patriarchal and patrilineal orientation is sympathetically portrayed. all Sinophone peoples are. It is also he who suggests that Wai Tung stage a marriage with an immigrant woman from China who needs a green card. The white lover of Wai Tung. so to speak. So the tale of love configured here is a triangular one. Against white America. Simon acts nervously. The unsympathetic representation of the white wife may explain why the film was the only one in the trilogy not publicly released in the United States. Such manipulation of homosexuality into conforming heterosexuality has led Hong Kong critic Lau Mun-yee to conclude that The Wedding Banquet did not at all subvert heterosexual hegemony.25 This entire comic drama. occupies the feminine role of the daughter-in-law in a patriarchal household: he buys appropriate gifts for the parents. “Chinese. of course. buttressed by his selfless dedication to his son. An illustration of this is his peeking at his grandson Jeremy’s penis and calling it his “root of life” (ming’genzi) that will continue the family line (chuanzong jiedai) in a typical Confucian patriarchal fashion. leads to the conclusion that the patriarch is the one who always wins: if the patriarch desires heterosexuality. cooks. with two women ( Wei Wei and Simon) vying for the love of Wai Tung in a heterosexual economy of desire. then so be it. Simon. Throughout the film as well. as befits the role of a new and shy daughter-in-law per Chinese customs.The object of sympathy in the logic of the diegesis is always the displaced father. a homosexual son must stage a heterosexual wedding in order to please his visiting parents from Taiwan.23 The patriarch’s pathos from being an immigrant in the Unites States is time and again compensated by his moral righteousness. Wei Wei.24 Here the Sinophone is problematically equated with a kind of pan-Chinese culturalism. Any potential tension between China (Mr.

and thereupon he let Simon know that he would accept their homosexual relationship. though in the end it was revealed that the patriarch knew about the homosexual relationship between Wai Tung and Simon all along. as several critics have pointed out. where the love stories of the three daughters appear to dominate the narrative. Unlike his three daughters whose romantic experiences are filled with much bad air.] 5 Taiwan poster for Pushing Hands. the patriarch got what he wanted. With Wei Wei pregnant. the old widowed father (played by the same actor as in Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet) ultimately emerges as the hero. in the end restores the woman’s place in the kitchen. he pretended that he didn’t until the marriage between Wai Tung and Wei Wei was consummated. In a similar manner. what passes seemingly as a woman-centered narrative in Eat Drink Man Woman. the patriarchal authority of the father is confirmed and shown to be capable of dealing with unexpected and unconventional challenges with flexibility. the father has secretly nurtured a lover his daughters’ age.[To view this image. In an understated manner. ] 50 [ Globalization and Minoritization . refer to the print version of this title. Through what the Taiwanese audience would consider benign duplicity.

The films garnered a degree of international attention unprecedented in Taiwan cinema. albeit through dubious means. The Taiwan government launched a much-publicized promotional campaign in 1994 upon the nomination of Eat Drink Man Woman in the best foreign film competition at the Academy Awards. In all three films. that would advance the international image of Taiwan. as long as it can coexist. The films therefore became “national” representations. the most career-minded of the daughters. with local patriarchy. furthermore.27 and a largely recontained representation of homosexuality at that. homosexuality may even be a strategy. which is now seen as even more capable of containing challenge and renewing its validity through flexible negotiations and “well-intentioned” duplicity when necessary. His fame is considered a reflection of Taiwan’s ascendancy in the global cultural arena. returns to the kitchen.To everyone’s surprise (particularly to the young lover’s mother. exemplars of Taiwan’s successful globalization. Ang Lee’s success has been perceived as Taiwan’s national pride. is another marker of advanced civilization of the West: by watching a film about homosexuality. These are tales of “resuscitated patriarchs.” as Cynthia Lew has so succinctly characterized. the resolutions return the credit to traditional patriarchy. airline executive Chia-ch’ien. Homosexuality. one is qualified to become a global citizen. the father ends up marrying the young woman. who is represented alternately as hysterical and nauseating in her overtures to him. One of the last scenes of the movie shows his newly wed wife heavily pregnant and sitting in a rocking chair in their modern-style apartment.26 There are other reasons why the films were such a success in Taiwan and why they have invited such lingering appreciation and loyalty from the Taiwan audience. gay-friendliness has become one of the selling points for Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei and part of its cosmopolitan appeal. and with her cooking she restores the sense of taste that her father had previously lost. including a banquet for hundreds of Hollywood Globalization and Minoritization ] 51 [ . reproductive sexuality is confirmed at the expense of his daughters’ confused experiences with love and sex. In the end. His romanticism and youthfulness is confirmed at the expense of the young woman’s mother. For a nation and a city eager to be acknowledged and accepted by the global community. who has had a crush on him). the second. his virile. with The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman earning the coveted Golden Bear Awards for two consecutive years at the Berlin Film Festival. In fact. by the early twenty-first century. even though Ang Lee refrains from expressing any Taiwan nativist sentiments about Taiwan’s independence from China.

If the trilogy clearly presents the perspective of a national subject. they are psychological immigrants. there is not much diªerence. and Taipei? Except that one knows America better and sees more Americans. What is the diªerence between living in Flushing. Ang Lee himself whetted this nationalist appetite by saying in interviews aimed at Taiwan audiences that he would love to receive an Oscar in order to bring glory to Taiwan. and both groups want to be Westernized yet maintain Chinese familism and Confucian ethics. he noted. Ang Lee was extremely apologetic to his Taiwan supporters. Ang Lee himself seems cognizant of such an implication. the exotic food. having flown in the chefs and ingredients from Taiwan. Western] 52 [ Globalization and Minoritization . it also as prominently displays a representation of culture from the perspective of a minority subject. he said that the Taiwanese today are Westernized just like Chinese immigrants in the United States. When it turned out that he was not even nominated for the best director category in 1996 for Sense and Sensibility. Ang Lee wanted his father’s approval as much as he coveted national recognition for Taiwan. . He desperately wanted the recognition from the international community also in order to please his father. we can see the collusion between patriarchy and nationalism. multicultural filmic representation. the taichi moves. however.personalities replete with the sumptuous dishes so luxuriously fetishized in the film. He thereafter promised that the next Sinophone film he made would win the best foreign film award at both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards. In an interview he gave to China Times Weekly in 1993. and having spent five years as a househusband without a steady job or any job prospects before he made Pushing Hands. . Hidden Dragon winning the best foreign film award at the Academy Awards in 2001.”28 And he eventually would. with Crouching Tiger. What is at stake in this soft. psychological level. is not merely the minoritization of ethnic culture but also what can be called the minoritization of Taiwan. Taiwanese people have already done many of the kinds of work that immigrants do. for which occasion Chinese American film critic Lu Yan and the Reverend Jesse Jackson separately accused the awards committee of racism. Having failed the college entrance examinations by which one’s worth was defined by one’s parents in Taiwan society. . erotic and exotic women. saying that he “must win this honor for Chinese cinema. Although their bodies are not in the United States. and so forth. He noted that “in the process of Westernization. New York. So even on the personal. There is the stereotypical representation of consumable exotica and multiculturalism: the banquet customs.”29 According to Ang Lee’s perceptive comment.

which has the eªect of minoritizing Taiwan as it must conform to the cultural hegemony of the United States. Shun Lee West. given 12 hours’ notice. complete with a recipe for “Stir-Fried Taiwanese Clams” and suggestions on how to find the dishes cooked in the film in local Chinese restaurants in New York.’ requests must be made in advance. 43 West 65th Street. Ang Lee seemed to have endorsed this transformation wholeheartedly—he himself went to this very same Chinese restaurant in New York and posed in front of a table full of luxurious dishes in a photo for the food writer. promoting what they say was China historian John K. After the release of this film.”31 This passage captures the uncanny transformation of the foreign into the domestic. Increasing global tra‹c of cultural production and consumption not only has subjected national cultural productions to minority status within the United States in the name of multiculturalism. and if agreed to by a majority of Taiwan citizens. the slippage is between Taiwan and the United States. but also has turned the geopolitical Taiwan into the minority “region-state” of the United States.30 Part of the minoritization process of Chinese culture as ethnic culture in Ang Lee’s films also involves the fetishization of Chinese food. It is revealing that while the Taiwan poster for Eat Drink Man Woman shows the venerable father in a pensive mood in the foreground (since Globalization and Minoritization ] 53 [ . Fairbank’s original suggestion to turn Taiwan into the fifty-first state of the United States. mediated by Chinese food. A serious and organized version is the “Club 51” (wu yi julebu). It is therefore not surprising to hear certain Taiwanese jestingly call Taiwan the fifty-first state of the United States. established on July 4. will prepare any of the 14 dishes from the film.ization necessarily turns Taiwanese at home into psychological immigrants. the national into the ethnic. The club’s ultimate goal is to call for a plebiscite on Taiwan’s union with the United States as its main agenda. The Chinese food fetishism here in multicultural America is also appropriately gendered. since more than 80 percent of Taiwanese government personnel are graduates of American universities.S. Ang Lee devoted about five minutes of the opening sequence of the film Eat Drink Man Woman to the preparation of exquisite Chinese dishes. Its motto is “Rooted in Taiwan with America in the Heart” (lizu Taiwan xinhuai Meiguo). there were a series of two articles in the New York Times by food writer Suzanne Hamlin on the food in the film. present the proposal to the U. Congress. (212) 595–8895. One particularly telling example: “To order any of the dishes seen in ‘Eat Drink Man Woman. 1994.

They are old. volatile. The Father Knows Best trilogy.34 confirming Edward Said’s fear of the “dangers and temptations” of employing Orientalist structures of cultural domination by the dominated upon themselves. there is ample proof that the minoritization of Chinese culture through exoticism and eroticism has itself become the desirable means of consumption in Taiwan. and the daughters are an equally tasty trio. consumable beauties neatly fits the porno-culinary genre in which the film falls. the American poster shows only a sensual set of the three sisters with a beautiful. In all three films. the men. not at all a big surprise. then. delectable. exquisite. “The people in this movie are almost as great-looking as the food. Ang Lee cleverly suppresses the potential contradictions. while embracing the exoticist requirements necessary for the approval of the American audience. what brings tears and sighs of relief to the Taiwan audience—the pathos of the patriarch— poses no threat to the voyeuristic enjoyment of the American audience. More than that. handsome but languorous.35 ] 54 [ Globalization and Minoritization . they are objects of love by other Asian women. Vis-à-vis the Taiwan audience. the films embody the process of minoritization of national constructs into a consumable multiculturalism. But more importantly. the national subject and the minority subject positions present contradictions. the patriarchs are situated outside the U. the films are national constructs. But upon closer examination. The national subject and the minority subject are successfully fused. albeit the “national” has to remain ambiguous at times due to the confused designation of the relationship between China and Taiwan.”32 And another reviewer: “The meals presented look mouthwatering.the emphasis is on resuscitating patriarchy). One reviewer notes. Vis-àvis the American audience. therefore. The only attractive Asian male figure. One dish after another: the women slender. Wai Tung in The Wedding Banquet. embodies the nationalist appeal to the Taiwan audience through resuscitated patriarchy and the Taiwanese craving for international fame. it registers the eroticization of the exotic female in the stereotypical mode of sexualization of Asian women. delectable dish of Chinese food— literalizing the Chinese metaphor that women are so beautiful they are edible (xiu se ke can).”33 The transference of food metaphors to the women as tasty. Curiously. waiting to be awakened by the women. economy of gender. and they pose no threat whatsoever to the dominant economy of masculinity and femininity. On the surface. which is. hence nonnormative. of course. is also appropriately emasculated as a gay man.S.

with the Taiwan government and the entire populace deeply anxious about every minute change in U. or two Chinas. refer to the print version of this title. In no uncertain terms. Taiwan functions as a minority to be conGlobalization and Minoritization ] 55 [ . just as one struggles to name China’s containment policy toward Taiwan? For China and the United States. Taiwan—a nation without an internationally recognized state. Former president Bill Clinton’s public a‹rmation of the Three No’s policy toward Taiwan during his 1998 visit to China—“We don’t support independence for Taiwan. the two constructs of the national and the minority are closely intertwined. rhetoric about Taiwan. power to determine Taiwan’s fate but as a new kind of colonialism.S. as Taiwan’s national fate is largely seen to be at the mercy of the United States. colony or minority state. relations. How else should one name the U.S.S. a non-nation-state nation—functions like a U. and we don’t believe that Taiwan should be a member in any organization for which statehood is a requirement”—is an instance of how Taiwan can be expendable for the enhancement of China-U. From the perspective of bilateral political relations between Taiwan and the United States.S.] 6 American poster of Eat Drink Man Woman. one China. or one Taiwan.[To view this image.

Ang Lee employed numerous strategies of flexibility in rationalizing his participation in the making of the movie through a prominent evocation of the trope of translation. Taiwan is a useful chip insofar as it weighs in on vilifying China or pacifying China. I realized that all along I had been trying to do Jane Austen without knowing it. Confucian morality. he recuperated age-old notions of Zen-like nonaction. His directorial work in Sense and Sensibility (1995) has been quite uniformly applauded as a masterful feat. where Chineseness is equated with the past and the nonmodern. In many ways.38 In my films I’ve been trying to mix social satire and family drama. Jane Austen was my destiny. On the other hand.tained. “family values. On the one hand. since somehow a “director from Taiwan” was able to capture quintessential Victorian England. prompting Prince Charles to say that he did not know England to be so beautiful until he saw the film at its royal premiere at the queen’s palace.37 Ang Lee also provided the following rationale: I feel very comfortable in the world of Jane Austen. Because as a society we Chinese are still in transition from a feudal culture and filial piety to the modern world. I think the Chinese would understand 19th century England better than the English today because we are still there.39 A linear notion of time that identifies contemporary Chineseness with Victorian England is the premise of his argument in the first quotation. this iden] 56 [ Globalization and Minoritization . taichi (he actually taught Kate Winslet taichi during the shooting).36 To the Western audience. and so forth. the American Republican government’s use of Taiwan as a counterbalance to China is largely a continuation of Cold War policies that have now been conjoined with the rising discourse of China threat. The minority subject position proves to be inescapable for Ang Lee as he begins to deepen his foray into Hollywood after the success of the trilogy. he told them that although he had made an English film. While facing the Taiwanese audience. the American Democratic government has always shown willingness to barter Taiwan in exchange for more engagement with China. a die to be cast at will at each twist and turn in the relationship between the superpowers. depending on the needs of the White House at a given moment. he directed the film as if it were a Chinese film.” Confucian notions of ren (benevolence) and li (ritual). I just had to overcome the cultural barrier. In the second quotation. In each case. since he grew up in Taiwan.

a nodal point. Retrospectively therefore. The Academy Awards’ exercise of gendered and racialized minoritization is such a moment of arrest. and best music) was merely one of the screws in the making of the machine. To put it bluntly for the moment: racism disregards Ang Lee’s strategic flexibility and universal appeal as irrelevant at moments of crucial production of meaning. best screenplay. and was nominated for seven Oscars at the Academy Awards. He was merely Globalization and Minoritization ] 57 [ . family issues.” 42 What gender implications can we draw from this fluid marriage between translatable cultures? What is the gendered position of this translatability? To put it diªerently. unlike many of his coworkers who were nominated for the film (best picture. one reviewer would call Eat Drink Man Woman a result of the combination of “Austen-like acuity with Chinese food. nor was he even nominated for the Oscar in the best director category. But the absence of the award for Ang Lee is damaging even besides charges of racism: it suggests that Ang Lee. subtlety of human relations. swept up the best screenplay and best drama awards at the Golden Globes. Likewise. best fashion design. I suggest that this is where flexibility ends. his fortune merely being that the producer (who is the designated recipient of the best picture award) did well in hiring him. what transpires in the process when a director obsessed with resuscitating patriarchy ends up directing a semifeminist film that criticizes patrilineal property inheritance law in England? The minority gender implications of the film for Ang Lee can be discerned in both the production and the reception of the film. Firstly. to the dismay of many.40 implying the emancipatory meanings of Western modernity. best photography. in the process of flow. Although Sense and Sensibility received awards from the London Critics Circle Film Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle Award. In a diªerent interview he invoked the foot-binding of Chinese women as a cruel Chinese tradition. best actress. there is the occlusion of Ang Lee’s contribution to this film’s success. Ang Lee did not receive the best director award from the Golden Globes. and he also understands “the strains and stresses of social ritual extremely well. Western film critics and reviewers also had to rationalize why Ang Lee could do such a superb job with the English material— hence various evocations of universalism that are often used in discourses of tokenization or model minority: Ang Lee is good at depicting generational relationships.”41 all of which are universal for all cultures. best supporting actress.tification allows him to place his own artistic destiny as Jane Austen. it is Chinese traditionalism that gives him authentic credentials for shooting a film about Victorian England.

”48 one who was authoritarian and yet taught the crew Eastern rituals (including meditation. wet towels. arguing in the influential Sight and Sound that the shaping vision behind the film belongs to Emma Thompson and that the audience is not to believe the credit shown on the screen that says “A Film by Ang Lee. involves the taming of the shrew.’”47 Ang Lee began as the consummate combination of Oriental despot and “selfcontained calm.46 Thompson observes: “It’s easy to feel a terrible bully with Ang”. At the Cannes Film Festival of 1997. and Ang Lee was supposedly “deeply hurt and confused. Elinor.”44 Thompson herself captures her brushes with Ang Lee during the shooting of the film: she and other actors had diªerent opinions on how certain shots should be done. Fuller notes that the older daughter. having never read any of her books before he was hired to direct Thompson’s script”43 (emphasis mine).” the actors in England dared to challenge Ang Lee’s despotic directorial style. as I illustrated above. where “directors are allowed to do exactly what they want.a hired hand. But Ice Storm was not at all showered with such rationales of compatibility. Graham Fuller. this time in making a film about 1970s America. Ang Lee’s directorial debut in Hollywood. and the good luck opening ceremony)—all typical “Oriental” imports with their stereotypical authoritarianism. the making of Sense and Sensibility and its reception. Therefore it is not surprising to read the same film critic. and the minoritization of a national subject. Ang Lee’s credibility as an Asian director was again tested. there is ample sense that Lee is no longer a despot but is tamed into a democratic director who listens to opinions and buys champagne and Chinese food for his crew. not the original artist who put the film together.” where Ang Lee was supposedly accustomed to being “followed with chairs. and spirituality. its suªragette and heroic ‘male’ surrogate.”45 Unlike shooting in Taiwan. Extending this argument. the feminization of a despot. a critic notes unambiguously. and. Ice Storm was branded as a Holly] 58 [ Globalization and Minoritization . assumed the “male position” in the disenfranchised female Dashwood house and the “heroic role” in the narrative. When Ice Storm appeared. Toward the end of the shooting. With the success of Sense and Sensibility. taichi. “Hugh has taken to calling him ‘the Brute. again to the acclaim of many. exoticism. all manner of rationales for Ang Lee’s superb direction compared his sensibility to Austen’s favorably. tea in constant attendance. ashtrays.” After analyzing the absence of the father figure in the film. “Ang Lee was no devotee of Jane Austen. he concludes that Emma Thompson is “Sense and Sensibility’s auteur.

49 When Ang Lee tries to translate not the remote Victorian England but 1973 New England in the home front.wood commercial film by French judges and considered an inauthentic representation of America by American critics.” hence their subjection to the logic of minoritization was nothing short of humiliating for audiences in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. When short Jackie Chan was paired with the tall Kareem Abdul Jabar at the Academy Awards ceremony the same year. It might have been just too close for comfort. and very negatively at that. American film reviewers were not as forthcoming with their praise. “Taiwan National Treasure. and martial arts know-how of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The success of his trilogy owes much to the translation of a national culture (of China or Taiwan) to that of an ethnic culture. as opposed to being the national representative. it ignited an angry reaction in Siniticlanguage media across diªerent Sinophone communities accusing Hollywood of “dwarfing the Chinese” (aihua zhongguoren). and consumption of an ethnic culture by an American suburban audience. commodification. translatability of Ang Lee’s films commandeers a bigger. translatability in the transpacific political economy of power. This translatability ensured easy assimilation. repeatedly saying that he feels less pressure as an individual. should these stars be subjected to the same demeaning processes of minoritization? The ease and flexibility with which Ang Lee oscillates between and incorporates these two subject positions begs the question of translation. When Ang Lee did not receive the Oscar nomination for best director for Sense and Sensibility. he begged Taiwan media reporters not to make it a “national” issue or national shame at the hands of racism.51 If for Benjamin translatability secured a longer life for a literary work.S. cultural vitality.50 What with the economic prowess. Chan is honored with the label “Hong Kong National Treasure” and Ang Lee. minority position. Jackie Chan told the media just to leave him alone. and Ang Lee mentioned in an interview that he understood Chan’s reaction completely. FLEXIBILITY AND TRANSLATABILITY If Ang Lee embodies the Taiwan national subject at moments when he tries to appeal to the Taiwan audience. he at times prefers the anonymity of the U. Globalization and Minoritization ] 59 [ . or rather. It is perhaps ironic to evoke here Walter Benjamin’s rather positive assessment of a work’s translatability as the mark of its capacity for future flowering in the afterlife as a translation.

Translatability. is a necessary mode for the minoritized to acquire access to and acceptance by the center. this contractual relationship between the flexible subject ] 60 [ Globalization and Minoritization . In examining popular culture.” the presentation of local national culture with the anticipation of ready decipherability by the nonlocal audience. If Benjamin’s translatability of the original text presumes a linear temporal relationship between itself and the translation.S. The reception of both Sense and Sensibility and Ice Storm. easy consumption and assimilation are guaranteed. The flexible subject’s resistance toward the containment of the nationstates by evoking transnational paradigms of subjectivity is itself dictated by what the nation-states involved will allow. furthermore. Unassimilatability becomes a ready excuse to circumscribe Lee’s success as a foreigner. in this sense. gendered minoritization of an immigrant cultural producer in the United States have circumscribed and will continue to constrict the production of true contemporaneity. coeval. by which Taiwan is minoritized. But this contemporaneity encoded by easy translatability is more a symptom of the neocolonial cultural relationship between Taiwan and the United States. who seemed to have crossed many boundaries. If translatability and flexibility that draw from the terms of the dominant can easily be contained for assimilation and consumption. Although I agree with Rey Chow that there is power in the superficial and the surface in cinema in their ability to reach a wider audience and thus make a diªerence. in other words. The coproduction and dialectic operation of neocolonial minoritization of Sinophone culture from Taiwan and the racialized. shows how flexibility and translatability can be denied to Ang Lee and he can be squarely placed back to the minority position by U. so that the reception of both Taiwan and American audiences is contemporary. racial politics. Through flexible negotiations between national and ethnic cultural codes. they are also limited forms of empowerment when institutional nodal points arbitrate upon the worth of minority and immigrant cultural production by way of conservative and reactionary criteria. Translatability. and simultaneous. Ang Lee’s translatability is built on flexible encodings that can be readily decoded by both American and Taiwan audiences.transnational market and higher profit.52 it is important to continue to ask on whose terms and on what terms that reach is made possible. This is what I call “decipherable localism. even for someone like Ang Lee. hence the lingering doubt about the authenticity of Ang Lee’s translation of New England cultural codes of 1973. such as popular fiction and cinema. is accepted only when it is nonthreatening.

when encountering multiple power dynamics.and the nation-state becomes especially apparent. Globalization and Minoritization ] 61 [ . must negotiate with diverse nodal points of meaning. In the constellation of forces operating in the creation and reception of Ang Lee’s films. as marketability has always been a game of marking the right boundaries or targeting the right consumers. as I have shown above. Sinophone articulations. Marketing specialists have always known to heed cultural diªerences traced along national borders. the nodal points of meaning. including the problematic calls of pan-Chineseness and racialized assimilationism. will seem to continue tracing national boundaries by alternately extolling nationalist patriarchy and gendered minoritization.

feminist and transnationality. 1932) An image is nothing more than a relation. I examine a particular kind of transnationality in its intersection with feminist subjectivity in what may be called a feminist transnationality. —Antonio Gramsci. Thus feminist transnationality should be distinguished from transnational feminism or transnational feminist practice. and returns to the United States. ] 62 [ . returns to China. The Imaginary (1940) 2 A Feminist Transnationality In this chapter. I say “a particular kind of transnationality” as a way to circumscribe my discussion of transnationality as a mode of representation constituted by immigration.Each individual is the synthesis not only of existing relations but of the history of these relations. The two terms here. “Notes for an Introduction and Approach to the Study of Philosophy and the History of Culture” (ca. not the feminist transnational collectivity or coalition that engages in feminist work across national borders. are not givens but points of interrogation. —Jean-Paul Sartre.1 In designating the work of Chinese immigrant artist Hung Liu as working through a particular kind of feminist transnationality. inflected by transnational crossings through immigration. my intent is to register the location of the immigrant artist articulating a gendered visual economy deftly negotiating multiple cultural and cross-cultural nodal points of meaning and signification.

predictable. and feminist sentiment. based largely on a logic of antagonism against multiplex agents (Chinese patriarchy. very similar to that in Ang Lee’s early work discussed in chapter 1.Liu is not merely an ethnic minority subject as a consequence of immigration who maintains a racialized. Hence. American-style multiculturalism takes on a global form and sometimes functions as the model for understanding other national cultures.”2 or what Kobena Mercer calls. we need to ask questions about what happens after the normalization of multiculturalism in both contexts. A first step in a critical analysis of feminist transnationality therefore must examine its position within what I have been calling a “global multiculturalism. A gendered structuration— one male and socalled popular artist.S. In this sense. which manifest a more complex management of culture and ethnicity. poses a certain narrative of liberation which itself needs to be interrogated critically. state. unambiguously. When diversity is the predominant term of value in these multicultural contexts. minor perspective in her relationship with majority culture. the U. The becoming of this feminist subjectivity after immigration. which sets up a binaric structure of criticism of various forms of oppression. this chapter can be read as a twin to chapter 1: the concern in both of these chapters is the logic of travel of culture across the Pacific. Insofar as Hung Liu as an artist practices a kind of feminist transnationality as implied within the logic of both national (as a Chinese immigrant in the United States) and global multiculturalisms (as someone who flaunts Chinese cultural capital in the global terrain). We may well ask the question.S.-centered global capitalism. the Maoist state. she is also a Chinese national subject who keeps the category of China’s national culture alive in her work as a form of cultural capital. or fulfills A Feminist Transnationality ] 63 [ .”3 By global multiculturalism. and one female and so-called serious artist—is revealed within this transnational economy. that is. I mean the process in which national cultures of the globe are often reduced to ethnic cultures in the political economy of transnational representation. with one mirroring and implying the other. The world of nations and national cultures appears increasingly to have become the world of ethnicities and ethnic cultures in the new global regime of multiculturalism. When criticism as a mode of representation becomes obligatory. Both of these subject positions are underscored by what may be called a strong liberal. the domestic. and the Western gaze). a transnational political economy of Sinophone visual representation. “multiculti-commodification of ‘diªerence’ in U. we need to look for possibilities and complicities in unpredictable places. humanist.

can criticism itself be complicit? If my discussion of Ang Lee’s flexible subjectivity (as a Taiwanese and a Taiwanese American simultaneously) in the context of the transnationalizaton of the popular film market has shown that promises of diªerent scenarios of identity may in fact resuscitate many of the old binarisms and hierarchies constructed along national and gender lines. the mainstream American viewer is also ready to venture into the more “authentic” Chinese culture in and from China. This is necessitated by Hung Liu’s work. ethnic. which addresses both the condition of being an ethnic minority in the United States and the condition of being a national subject from China deeply invested in Chinese history and culture. ] 64 [ A Feminist Transnationality . the frames of my analysis will move back and forth between what are traditionally called ethnic studies and area studies. That China is the largest market in the world is a powerful reason to enlarge one’s cultural knowledge about a venerable civilization. its autonomy.a certain expectation for a minority. or straddling. what can the so-called high art of Hung Liu promise? Can the negativity of high art—as that which negates popular culture and thus rejects and prevents the reification and instrumentalization of culture in a logic of negative dialectics made famous by Frankfurt school thinkers4—itself be commodified? Would it be surprising if the trump card of high art. that is. However. The specific globalizing context of China’s rising political and economic power is the conjuncture for this emerging transnationality where Chinese national culture is increasingly seen as a cultural asset rather than a liability. Tired of the usual fare of ethnic Chinese culture as food. or national cultural worker. is itself precariously related to instrumentalization and commodification precisely by way of a pretense to autonomy? As was the case for analyzing Ang Lee’s work. attire. has of late become increasingly commonplace as more and more Chinese immigrant artists continue to draw from the vast resource that is “China” for their art rather than cutting it oª as the land and experience of the past as would have been more likely the case during the Cold War years. This crossing over. since China-knowledge is increasingly seen as crucial to continuous American economic advantage in the twenty-first century. As to how this “authentic” Chinese culture becomes subjected to a representational economy that is nonetheless circumscribed by a politics of ethnicity and minoritization is the process of global multiculturalism. when this subjection becomes an enabling mechanism in the classic Foucaultian scenario of subjectivity. and mores of urban Chinatowns.

as sculptural composition of miscellaneous objects. 1a. of juxtaposition. In this case. This gathering of things can constitute an organic whole. In the second definition. Montage comes from the French term monter. as in a machine. Second. mechanical organicism. This is useful in thinking about how identities can be actively formulated by the artist (through practices of identification). or antagonisms. things. meaning “to mount. and also fragments is emphasized. 2.” and refers A Feminist Transnationality ] 65 [ . A sculptural composition of miscellaneous objects.” According to the first definition. 4. identities can be understood as fragments (Hung Liu actually calls her art “identity fragments”). and of gathering of people. The act of assembling. such as a machine. b. of montage and collage—assemblage has a more active dimension. and yet at the same time how identities may be ineluctable constructs of historical imposition beyond one’s control (one is being identified as such). I propose to read Hung Liu’s work from diªerent periods dealing with diªerent subject matters as constituting a metaphorical assemblage of identities. Assemblage as metaphor provides a good working formula for understanding the complexity of identity formation as well as the multiplicity of identities and their interrelations. For instance. as in the third definition. or artful. 3. Assemblage: The third edition of the American Heritage College Dictionary gives the following definitions of assemblage: “Assemblage: n. Hung Liu’s artwork and its politics of feminist transnationality in the context of globalizing multicultural formation. a gathering. A fitting together of parts. then. or a three-dimensional sculptural art. instead of a static conception of identity as multiplicity and hybridity— or to use art terms. can be distinguished from both the montage and collage. these identities pose various kinds of resistances. the idea of collection. To analyze. Furthermore. assemblage has both voluntary and involuntary dimensions. self-conscious composition. gathering various objects together in a meaningful composition as in the fourth definition. and their various relationships can be understood in terms of gatherings. The state of being assembled. the form of assemblage. The question at stake is therefore a very diªerent one from those we usually expect: What if this process of subjection and subjectivization is anticipated prior to the event? Our postmodern historicity challenges us to think beyond tired structures of opposition here. against diªerent agents of power.we might find that this logic of subjection can itself be strategically utilized to gain subjectivity for the immigrant artist. A collection of people or things. I propose two other operative concepts: assemblage and antagonism. together or separate. specifically.

Hung Liu works with photographs to problematize the authenticity of photographic representation of reality (a metaphor for her critical approach to her training in socialist realism in China. ecological. and to a lesser extent. geographical contexts of the formation.” such as feminist resistance toward patriarchy. anti-institutional struggles. These diªerent antagonisms. It can be freestanding or mounted onto a panel and framed. As a matter of practice.6 I view Hung Liu’s work as an assemblage of identities that express multiple antagonisms against diªerent agents of power in diªerent contexts. constructing and enacting diªerent narratives of identity. in another painting she may criticize the dominant American culture’s minoritization of Chinese immigrants. meaning “to collect. antiauthoritarian. since she was taught that art can only be drawn from real life. and in yet another painting she may criticize the Western exoticization of Chinese women.” and is a mixed-media construction that is always three-dimensional. not another representation) and to deal with the eªects of memory. Chinese American culture and history. sometimes separate. collage comes from the French word coller. Hung Liu has held numerous individual and group exhibitions and has been the subject of many interviews. meaning “to paste. minority resistance to racism. ] 66 [ A Feminist Transnationality . sometimes even contradictory. moving freely within a vast resource of Chinese culture and history.5 The three-dimensional properties of assemblage allow us to conceptualize identity fragments as having both temporal and spatial a two-dimensional art. and videos. configuration. I suggest that the totality of Hung Liu’s oil and mixed-media paintings also enact an assemblage. hence not only the presence of history but also the spatial. are made possible by the assemblage of identities her works construct. lesbigay resistance to heterosexual hegemony. in one painting she may criticize Chinese patriarchy’s oppression of Chinese women. and production of identities. with the accidental historical dates of 48 and 84 in a perfect mirror reversal. with which they refer to the expression of “forms of resistance. time. assemblage comes from the French word assembler. Antagonism: Using Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouªe’s notion of antagonism. and history. particularly in its encounter with the West and its recent history of Cultural Revolution. Hung Liu was born in 1948 and came to the United States in 1984. catalogs. articles. sometimes overlapping and intersecting. Hence. each painting a historical and spatial fragment.” and is also mainly two-dimensional and only occasionally uses low relief. and others such as urban. Very accomplished and by all measures considered a successful artist.

Hung Liu makes unambiguous statements about the commodification. since they are originally oªered as sexual goods in the flesh market. and objectification of women in Chinese society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. IDENTITY FRAGMENT 1: FEMINIST ANTAGONISM AGAINST CHINESE PATRIARCHY Hung Liu based a series of paintings on photographs of late nineteenth century prostitutes contained in a book that she discovered in the Beijing Film well as a multitude of other issues. plate 1). an unequivocal feminist reading can be readily oªered: Here the women are not only the objects of gaze but also the literal objects of commodification. the Western gaze is anticipated even prior to the Chinese gaze and this anticipation necessarily triangulates the structure of desire and makes ambiguous the question of female agency. these portraits suggest a much more complicated structure of desire across China and the United States. Similarly. The vases and the carved wood panel both serve decorative functions. Supposedly. These works all tend to be of monumental size. the more high-class courtesans. In view of a politics of feminist transnationality as well as the seductive surfaces of these images. She projects photographs onto a canvas using a slide projector. 50 × 85 × 11. With Olympia (1992. suggesting a metonymical relationship between the woman and the flowers. 34 × 86 × 7. With these paintings. while the empty bowls A Feminist Transnationality ] 67 [ . eroticization. Since Liu’s paintings are meant for exhibition and consumption in the United States. making her own revisions and modifications to the image along the way. Broadly. figure 7) and Olympia II (1992. a book such as this one served as a catalogue of available prostitutes for customers. then paints the photograph onto the canvas. in the second assemblage. a shelf in the same design holds up ornamental vases as well as an intricately carved wood window panel. Then she often adds sculptural relief objects or frames to the piece and drips linseed oil over the finished piece for specific eªects. in this case. Liu reinforces this interpretation by placing artificial flowers on a shelf in the former. however. thereby stating a clear antagonism against Chinese patriarchy. sharing the same purpose as display. I will divide a decade of her work (from the late 1980s to the late 1990s) in terms of their objects of antagonism into four categories or identity fragments in order to more fully analyze the paradoxes of feminist transnationality.

] 7 Hung Liu. Olympia (1992. the object of the gaze (Chinese prostitutes) gazes back and even preempts the gaze by the gazer (Chinese male customers). (found also in Olympia) under the vases are Liu’s frequently used code for the Chinese patriarchal conception of women as empty or valueless. What about the anticipated gaze of the West? The artist’s silence about this ] 68 [ A Feminist Transnationality . which we may call the first level of interpretation for which the object of a feminist antagonism is Chinese patriarchy. in this and subsequent paintings with the same theme. 50 × 85 × 11). turns him into an object. Hung Liu has remarked on their gazing back as suggesting the possibility of agency in the vein of Manet. Manet painted a woman who looked back directly at her gazer. refer to the print version of this title. reputedly coached to do so by their photographers. Hung Liu’s prostitutes all gaze back. whose voyeurism is then theoretically unsettled. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. Likewise. Instead of depicting passive.[To view this image. eye-avoiding female nudes. This is the most predictable level of reading of this series.8 In this basic structure of gaze.7 The unambiguous subtext to these paintings is Manet’s famous painting by the same name that was a sensation when it was first shown in Paris.

where the artist is situated. we ask instead whether reinscription reinforces the original by extending the life of the original in the act of translation. not undermine. This silence absolves the Orientalist viewer from worrying about his or her voyeuristic pleasure derived from gazing at these Chinese Olympias in their exotic and sexual allure.gaze is intriguing. As Algerian scholar Malek Alloula has shown in a diªerent context. encoding transgression as erotic appeal. the prostitute gazing back in colonial photography can reinforce. thus giving the pleasure principle its reign during the experience of viewing. On the one hand. therefore. Hung Liu has retained the Oriental allure and seductive materiality of the image. the Orientalist can suspend any self-reflexive judgment. whether it be looked at by Chinese patriarchy or the West. the two basic layers of discourses here—the photographic objectification and commodification of the Chinese courtesan. whose viewers have been increased by this act of translation. this poses an ethical ambiguity of a Third World or transnational feminist whose goal of overturning native patriarchy may become complicit with white male colonial patriarchy.10 The fact that the prostitutes were originally directed by the photographers to gaze into the camera corroborates this. insofar as this gaze is what determines the paintings’ marketability.”9 More than anything else. Orientalist narratives of the sexually promiscuous women. Even though Hung Liu intends to reinscribe the masculinist economy of desire in the Chinese context. With this reinscription being more or less stereotypically liberal feminist in orientation. not the Orientalist viewer. where white men may be seen as saviors of native women. By reproducing the image of the courtesan in the Western context. hence the ironic formula that “white men are saving brown women from brown men. the object of criticism is Chinese patriarchy. and thus without the burden of critique or the burden of rescue. can escape the circularity of the masculinist and Orientalist economy of desire. Having been placed outside the hermeneutic circle. We may evoke here Gayatri Spivak’s trenchant critique of colonial gender dynamics. There is an overlapping or a duplication of male desire from China to the A Feminist Transnationality ] 69 [ . The selling point here is the prostitute who gazes daringly. This puts into doubt whether such a gaze of the Orientalized woman. For Hung Liu to be silent about the anticipated Western gaze and its implications. can be troubling. collectibility. and their status as art in the United States. the question is whether reinscription can be automatically determined as a form of critique. and Hung Liu’s copying and translation of the photograph—remain complimentary layers that do not cancel each other out.

long ago anticipated by the most basic theory of gaze. their Westernization adds to their erotic capital. Here a putative feminist intent may just be a tired gesture. The fashion now is Western. second-generation Chinese American women were criticized by their male immigrant community as acting like prostitutes in turn-of-the-century San Francisco Chinatown. It was common practice. Our dresses must be new and in style.11 A typical Cantonese song from turn-of-the century San Francisco Chinatown written from the perspective of a prostitute illustrates this nicely: Yes.13 Similarly. The erotic allure of these prostitutes for the Chinese male customers partly arises. it tickles my funny bone to tell you. Westernized women were condemned by male nationalist narratives as being like prostitutes. It is a process of selective endorsement of Westernization to which even the Chinese men themselves secretly or openly aspire. the context of the ] 70 [ A Feminist Transnationality . or more specifically. for certain high-class prostitutes to wear Western clothes and to show oª their use of Western technology (such as the telephone). The converse of that—that prostitutes were expected to be Westernized—spells out the double logic of male desire with two divergent expectations for wives/daughters and prostitutes. these photographs are themselves Western mediated diagrams of desire for Chinese men. thereby eliciting transgressive desire. whether under colonialism or minoritization. furthermore. Taken to the transnational context. As figures of transgression. We in this business of pleasing men must keep up with the trend.12 Recall that in colonial India. retaining no ambiguity for genuinely critical possibilities. oftentimes reacted similarly to those women who transgressed the boundaries of native culture. from their Western accoutrements. for instance.United States. Even if we have to sell and pawn.14 Native patriarchy under threat. prostitutes can dress their part. Surely the men will find us very pleasant. both Westernized Chinese immigrant women and American-born. We’ll buy all the clothes we want. With the upholstered couches upon which they lie and the cultural meanings of photography in the last turn-of-the-century China as a specifically Western product. Doll ourselves up like beautiful American-borns.

colorful. is thus successfully constructed outside the frame. IDENTITY FRAGMENT 2: LIBERAL ANTAGONISM AGAINST THE MAOIST STATE In a series of paintings and assemblages created between 1993 and 1995. male or female. and Westernization is further mediated. one that is paradoxically legitimized by Hung Liu’s feminism. desire. A new Orientalist viewer. as mentioned above. and stunning images of these women in their complete ornamental regalia seduce their viewers to peep into the hidden spaces of Chinese femininity in courtesan quarters and the imperial harem. She is Chinese and yet is surrounded by some familiar Western objects. but also translates easily across time and space. who is superficially feminist. is back at the Chinese patriarchy within the diagetic frame of the works. By not asking the viewer too much beyond an expected critique of sexism and Orientalism. ornate. Although the images of these women may be made faint by the dripping eªects of linseed oil.American art market and viewership. the relationship among gender. Su‹cient similarity in the body of the exotic— or hybridity of a nonthreatening sort—can replicate the same logic of desire for the Western male viewer. Distance between the object of gaze and the Western subject of gaze is momentarily bridged through such an act of recognition of familiar objects. These women’s gazing back. the paintings become glossy surfaces upon which we witness the collusion of male desire on both sides of the Pacific. Hung Liu articulated a clear intent of critique against Maoism and the Maoist state (1949–76) A Feminist Transnationality ] 71 [ . This recognition is historically specific. When sexism and Orientalism have all supposedly been dealt with from decades of rigorous critiques. not the American viewers. exotic. The fact that these paintings are colorful and visually pleasing works of art helps underscore this translatability. aªording them the pleasure of voyeurism. a stereotypical antisexist or anti-Orientalist position can easily become a marketing strategy or an empty gesture that serves as an alibi for purposes that might resolidify Orientalism. who then can assume an innocent pleasure of a renewed sort of Orientalism freed from the fear of accusations of sexism or racialized eroticism. which Hung Liu used to mark the passage of time. Here the structure of gaze absolves the Western gazer. whose chief experience is pleasure and voyeurism. the nonetheless glossy.

16 but the woman has become more like a man devoid of gender subjectivity. women must suppress their femininity. This is clearly a reactive reversal and thus replicates the logic of oppression by taking it to the other extreme: under traditional patriarchy women can only be feminine. plate 2). under Mao. In an earlier painting entitled Golden Lotus/Red Shoe (1990). Liu extends this critique into a cross-cultural one in Reddest Red Sun (1993) where. ] 72 [ A Feminist Transnationality . an overgendered foot-bound woman is similarly juxtaposed with a degendered woman revolutionary to similar eªect. Here the song lyrics and the androgynous dancers emphasize the primacy of class struggle and the repression of femininity. In the middle are two ballet dancers from the ballet version of the model opera The Red Detachment of Women. Swan Song (1993. with the two reinforcing each other. the underlying critique is provocative. Here Maoist discipline of sexuality through its displacement by revolutionary discourse is literally coincided and overlapped with Victorian prudishness and denial of sexuality.from a more or less liberal and feminist perspective. Just as the contrast is dramatic. Allegedly liberating women from traditional patriarchy. The woman’s bound feet may have been “liberated” in Mao’s China. one notices small inserted circles depicting a pair of bound feet and dainty hands. regimes of domination. but nonetheless equally problematic. Mayfair Yang has. If traditional patriarchy valorized and fetishized bound feet and dainty hands. in this regard. in which class has taken over individual identity such as the gender identity of the dancers. the Maoist state instead inculcated them into a Maoist patriarchy in which the gender of women is repressed.”15 Upon closer inspection of Swan Song. two symbols of hyperfemininity celebrated by pre-Mao. Maoist patriarchy fetishized masculine women whose feminine features were erased. entitled A Proletarian Fights All His Life for the People’s Liberation. consists of two panels of musical scores from the Cultural Revolution model opera The Red Lantern. traditional patriarchy. These are two diªerent. onto the printed score of My Spirit Storms the Heavens (also from The Red Lantern) was superimposed a Victorian lady carrying a parasol. called this procedure of gender suppression in the name of gender equality that hides a male norm “gender erasure. Hung Liu has mentioned in interviews that she considers the Maoist state to be authoritarian. This involves a liberal perspective on Maoist politics and a feminist perspective on the particular form of gender suppression in Maoist China. and familial and romantic love is displaced by class love. Representative of this set of works. 61 × 91 5/8 × 3.

figure 8). figure 10). Hung Liu’s father was in the Guomindang military and was imprisoned after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China for the rest of his life. they are not as readily consumable as the first set of paintings of prostitutes. when she was in the States. and ideological divides between Maoist China and Victorian England. Hung Liu never saw her father when she was growing up. In other words. Grandma (1993. 101 1/2 × 60. geographical. In the way in which these two works are di‹cult to read without a knowledge of Maoist gender politics. In the first of these three paintings. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. Hung Liu added autobiographical elements to her critique of Maoism in Father’s Day (1994. figure 9) and AvantGarde (1993. and they are also not as translatable into an obligatory and predictable feminist critique. they maintain the need for a degree of labor in the act of interpretation. thereby departicularizing the patriarchal management of women as a prevalent condition across the cultural. 54 × 72.] 8 Hung Liu.[To view this image. Hung Liu begins with a photograph of her first meeting with her father. 54 × 72). A Feminist Transnationality ] 73 [ . 116 × 43. Hung Liu’s mother had to divorce him in order not to be persecuted by association. Father’s Day (1994. and decades later. refer to the print version of this title.

a strong protest against political persecution. 101 1/2 × 60). a tiny mark used only to decorate the annals of history.[To view this image. refer to the print version of this title. which eliminates background and focuses the viewer’s attention on the persons thus emphatically presented. which hopes to move the viewer. and this is the painting of herself holding her fragile father. The door frame carving on the upper right denoting objecthood and decorative function here suggests a diªerent function from those in the prostitute paintings: A fragment tossed around by fickle political and ideological changes. She negotiated his release. hence Liu’s intentional use of this method in this and many other works registers a formal intent to critique the ideological use of art. Liu again reinscribes the ] 74 [ A Feminist Transnationality . Cutout figures are usually the domain of propagandistic hagiography. if at all. Grandma (1993. In Grandmother. This method adds a strong emotive quality to the work. Here Liu uses the cutout method. her father is like a forgotten object.] 9 Hung Liu. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. she discovered that he was still alive in a labor camp.

The sculptural quality of the cutout brings special attention to the wrinkled hands of the grandmother. The portability thus implied adds a uniA Feminist Transnationality ] 75 [ .] 10 Hung Liu.[To view this image. refer to the print version of this title. cutout form to celebrate an ordinary person. her grandmother. Avant-Garde (1993. For both works. cutouts eliminate the immediate context or background of the images presented and thus make them transportable to other contexts. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. which visually signify the hardships she has endured. 116 × 43).

as in the logic of the two works analyzed above. as something that could happen anywhere. like ancient spirits and ghosts in a cave of horror inside a cheap entertainment park. Very cheap. Wong accuses these writers of a showy victimology that “by displaying their wounds and suªering. If the cutout figure is celebratory. It is the use of the cutout form in the third of these works. the militarized figure here suggests a degree of agency that transcends the capitalist gender binarism between the masculine and the feminine. Some of Hung Liu’s paintings about Maoism may in this sense be seen as ethical constructs that maintain a degree of ] 76 [ A Feminist Transnationality .18 Though highly problematic in its masculinist premise when Chin prescribes what ethnic writing should be. based on a photograph of Liu as a young woman in military uniform. searching for [cultural] roots. very fake. and why not as many in other genres? Hong Kong writer Wong Bik-wan has this to say about these writers: “Those Chinese who write in English write about the Cultural Revolution.17 One cannot but be reminded of Frank Chin’s lament that ethnic autobiographies are a genre for sellouts as only the minoritized will confess. it has become obvious that this particular form of historical trauma renders itself to easy commodification.”19 Without mincing her words. footbinding. In the spate of trauma narratives set in Maoist China and written in English by Chinese immigrants. Avant-Garde. If recognizably essentialized Chinese culture can serve as cultural capital for the artist in the prostitute paintings. The narratives that clearly cater to either the paranoia about China or the “China threat” for purposes of financial gain are to be distinguished from the more complex and ambiguous narratives that show multiple perspectives on a complex phenomenon. it may be fruitful to ask whether Maoism or Chinese political history can also serve as cultural capital. fengshui. Chin’s critique might also contain a grain of truth. where the gender norm hid a masculinist premise but where women were legally and otherwise more equal to men than in capitalist societies.versal dimension to the oppression of ordinary people. Why else is there such a prevalence of memoirs and autobiographies if the market cannot sustain them. they ask. big persecutions. Can there be agency in degendered womanhood? This is a question that we can fruitfully ask of Maoist China. ‘How would you help me?’”20 This is not to say that trauma under Maoism cannot be written about or represented visually. that brings out her ambiguous stance on Maoist gender politics. but that it is in the how of the representation that one’s ethical stance can be determined.

S. The new date of birth in a sense marks her rebirth in the United States. Although she was born in 1948. where she has repeatedly announced in numerous interviews that she found artistic freedom and liberation.” an American invention. in these works that are mostly created simultaneously with. for her.ambiguity even while other works of hers may appeal to a liberal feminist universalism through hyperfeminized and hypervisualized Chinese womanhood. 1984 marked “the birth of an independent artist after reaching the States. context refers to a history of racialized exclusion and stereotyping. Rather than flaunting Chinese cultural essentialism as cultural capital.”22 But the moment we note the conjunction between the liberating potential of her immigration and her criticism of the Chinese state’s repression of artistic freedom. She examines the history of Chinese immigrants who were detained at Angel Island via a painted photograph from that era (Customs. shows a parody of Liu’s green card. 1996). “Fortune Cookie. a cliché about Chinese culture. she marks her date of birth as 1984. the previous two sets of works. She is not only collapsed into a stereotype. figure 11). we are confronted with her new name. she A Feminist Transnationality ] 77 [ . 90 × 60. the trade route between Baltimore and China in an exhibition focused on Baltimore’s role as America’s Canton. this set of paintings dating from 1988 to the mid1990s has received the most favorable attention in studies of multicultural art. and a racial stereotype. 1994). the year she came to the United States. Hung Liu registers the process of immigration as a process of minoritization with all its attendant implications of subjectivization in the Foucaultian fashion of subjection. and some slightly earlier than. which in the U. IDENTITY FRAGMENT 3: ANTAGONISM OF A MINORITY SUBJECT Of all of Hung Liu’s works. the fantasy of the Gold Mountain by the early immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century in an installation made up of two hundred thousand fortune cookies in the shape of a mountain left to rot in the exhibition hall ( Jiu Jin Shan.21 Explicitly positioned as an immigrant and a minority subject in the United States. she focuses on her minority status and situates it in terms of the history of Chinese immigration to the United States. and various racist stereotypes of the Chinese people in the United States. The much-reprinted and talked-about painting Resident Alien (1988. a trivialization of Chinese tradition.

The title Chinaman refers to the racist ] 78 [ A Feminist Transnationality . is also marked as “alien. To further debunk the fortune cookie stereotype. 67 × 48). state. the American identity she would like to claim. refer to the print version of this title. Liu provides constructive representations of racialized stereotypes. 72 × 38). “Her identity—indeed. This cutout painting was first shown in the exhibition in Baltimore mentioned above. the painting puts the nameless woman on an equal plane with the two celebrity figures. Liu created the Cookie Queen (1995. and the American identity she is assigned. who are all equally memorialized in large cutouts.] 11 Hung Liu.S.”23 By the sheer act of juxtaposition and its ostentatious incongruity. since Americans who go to Chinese restaurants have virtually no awareness of the workers who stuª glad tidings into fortune cookies. Holiday and Ruth are of course famous figures known to many. In similarly themed works such as Chinaman (1995. Three identities collide: her Chinese identity. commemorating its bustling China trade in the nineteenth century. It was flanked by a painting of jazz singer Billie Holiday on one side and baseball legend Babe Ruth on the other. 75 × 36) and Laundry Lady (1995. while the woman worker in the fortune cookie factory depicted here is anonymous.” The naturalization and immigration agency and its green cards represent the U. 90 × 60). her fortune in life—is unknown to us. Resident Alien (1988.[To view this image. The painting is also uncannily Orwellian. George Orwell wrote his novel 1984 in 1948. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. that which circumscribed the potential freedom from Maoist repression.

its anticipation structuring the visual economy of the apparent and already multilayered gazing. from a collection entitled The Face of China as Seen by Photographers and Travelers. figure 13) shows the image of a few well-suited Western men posing in front of a Chinese prisoner locked in a wooden cage in a photograph shot in September 1904 in Shanghai. According to the exhibition catalog. The right panel in the diptych Souvenir (1990. IDENTITY FRAGMENT 4: ANTAGONISM AGAINST THE WESTERN GAZE Hung Liu created a series of paintings based on photographs about China and Chinese people taken by Western travelers. Hung Liu may be seen as following her footsteps here. seeming external Western gaze inside the frame. a Chinese immigrant artist looks at Chinese men looking at Chinese prostitutes and anticipates the gaze of the Western viewer and art buyer. the cage was a form of execution for criminals: “Major criminals were sometimes left to die publicly as an example to the innocent. 1860–1912. By painting an ordinary lion dancer in monumental size. In either case. in these paintings. Liu ascribes heroic qualities to the racist stereotype of the “Chinaman. we need to posit the shared. A ‘cage’ was constructed so that the inmate could either stand on tiptoe to relieve the pressure around his neck or finally suspend himself until he is A Feminist Transnationality ] 79 [ . In the paintings about prostitutes.” Recall that Maxine Hong Kingston revised the term Chinamen into China Men in her book of the same title as an act of restoration of the manhood and dignity of those whose “M” was dwarfed in Chinamen. a Chinese immigrant woman artist looks at Western men looking at Chinese men and women and equally anticipates the Western gaze. by unconventionally showing his face in an exalted gesture (hence he is no longer just an instrument that hides behind the mask and moves the exotic lion to dance). Hers was an arduous historical reconstruction as well as narrative representation of the history of Chinese men in all their multifarious and important contributions to the United States in order to reject the narrativizing of their history as emasculation. 48 × 64 × 8.epithet used to denigrate Chinese men since the nineteenth century. and by presenting him as a cutout figure.24 This set of paintings oªers a diªerent structure of gaze than those about prostitutes as Liu’s reinscription is supposedly of the Western gaze on Chinese objects.

Hung Liu’s mimicry of this photograph into a painting suggests two simultaneous dynamics. On the one hand. This man also gazes into the camera. 1978).” as Hung Liu’s entitlement of this nameless photograph implies. 89.] 12 Original photograph depicting execution in old Shanghai. 1860–1912 (New York: Aperture. This posing accentuates the function of the caged prisoner as a spectacle. refer to the print version of this title. strangled. posed with him. but the man second from the right wears a distinct grin under a well-shaped moustache. The facial expressions of most of these white men are rather hard to read. These Western men had first gazed at the prisoner. then anticipated the photography to be a record of ] 80 [ A Feminist Transnationality .[To view this image. a “souvenir. there is the obvious critique of the voyeuristic gaze of the intended Western viewers of the photograph as well as the gaze of the Western men inside the photograph. from The Face of China as Seen by Photographers and Travelers. September 1904. self-consciously posing for the photograph.”25 The clean and well-dressed Westerners are in stark contrast with the prisoner and the few Chinese men shown partially on the edges of the frame. for the Westerners to be brought back home.

Hung Liu’s critique does not seem to have centered so much on Chinese apathy as on the Western gaze as a modernizing and colonizing one. obviously showing curiosity at the photographer and not at the prisoner.[To view this image. The gazes here are quite uniform in the sense that they are all positioned to turn China into the embodiment of otherness and diªerence. the question here is A Feminist Transnationality ] 81 [ . the second interpretation takes into account Hung Liu’s anticipation of the first dynamic being received and gazed at by American viewers of her painting based on the photograph. refer to the print version of this title.] 13 Hung Liu. In other words. 48 × 64 × 8). The dynamic here is reminiscent of that of the infamous photograph of Chinese onlookers gleefully watching a Chinese revolutionary being beheaded by a Japanese soldier that Lu Xun so viscerally criticized as a quintessential representation of characteristic Chinese apathy and ignorance in the early twentieth century. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. Souvenir (1990. The few partial images of the Chinese men in the photograph. On the other hand. their witness of Chinese cruelty to be seen by other Western viewers. suggest their own indiªerence to the prisoner as well.

The more Western gazes the photograph accumulates over the decades through its exhibition.”26 Liu’s reinscription. For others.the coincidence among all three layers of Western gazes: those within the photograph. constituting a triple form of violation of the gazed-at object from three diªerent historical moments. and those looking at Liu’s reinscription of the photograph in the painting. Roland Barthes has famously shown how the viewer’s desire is aroused and maintained for the duration of the process of stripping. which articulates itself through the vilification and vindication of the West’s “demonization of China. popularly circulated in Western print over the last century. Here you have an image from Chinese erotica. This voyeurism in turn inflicts wounds upon contemporary Chinese pride. This replicates the logic of desire of a striptease. the image is more and more capable of becoming. in which the public is made voyeurs only for the duration it takes for the strippers to shed clothing. which is exploding at the seams as China begins to ascend as a global power. the three layers of Western gaze would gaze back at them with a weighty ethical and moral question about their own positionality as the voyeur. Farther and farther away from 1904. more hidden. A critical intention in the end may resuscitate an Orientalist ] 82 [ A Feminist Transnationality .27 The box that hides the essential parts from view therefore can function as the last item of clothing that stays on the stripper to sustain the desire of the voyeurs. Hung Liu placed a three-dimensional box and an empty bowl on the box to block the view of the erotic focal point. with its completion bringing forth an anticlimactic desexualization or de-eroticization. Ostensibly antiOrientalist in intention (refusing to show what is most desired for viewing). Its primitivism is reinforced by the passing of time. a classic example of the erotic Orient. the embodiment of Chinese cruelty and apathy. for the Western viewer. may yet be caught in such an oppressive discursive and imagistic logic of otherness and nationalism and paradoxically extend its life. the panel paradoxically also sustains the eroticization of the Orient. those looking at the photograph. making it more suggestive. and publication. The left panel of Souvenir is imbricated in a similar logic as the prostitute paintings from the first identity fragment. therefore. For those critical viewers who are more adept at decoding Hung Liu’s intention. The wounds easily become displaced as justifications for patriotic pride. the three layers of gaze can easily collapse into the same voyeuristic gaze. hence even more desirable. the more powerful and solidified that voyeurism becomes. circulation.

Representing bound feet for Western view is like airing dirty laundry from the perspective of the Chinese nationalists. Hung Liu’s perspective seems to collapse for a moment with the Western photographer’s critique of Chinese patriarchy. bound feet represent both erotic fascination and perversion of the Chinese male. which started around the tenth century. A closer look at the Chinese discourse and practice of foot-binding. By using her stock feminist images of a decorative glass plant and an empty bowl. foot-binding itself may have granted women some form of small-scale agency. There was never an imperial edict or rule imposing foot-binding on women at any time in Chinese history. with opposing and approving voices. In a work with no name. 25 1/4 × 14 1/8 × 8). there were varying discourses about foot-binding. and attains the moral high ground on the other. just as high-heel shoes may enhance certain women’s sense of beauty and well-being. From an Orientalist perspective. while for Hong Kong critic Wong Bik-wan. which would be false. may challenge the facile equation between bound feet and male domination. hence the epitome of China’s backwardness in its inhuman treatment of women. which in turn influenced reform-minded Chinese. Without going so far as to establish a blanket agency for foot-binding. This is what I mean by how an anti-Orientalist gesture can slip into a reconfirmation of Orientalism.eroticism. however. the Western photographer as Orientalist attains voyeuristic pleasure on the one hand. A more stereotypical image of wounds is of course the bound feet as the emblem of Chinese women’s oppression. even with the Qing court banning it in the early years of its rule. it may not be far-fetched to say that as a form of social practice. as the passage cited earlier shows. Both the Western photographer focusing on the deformation of the A Feminist Transnationality ] 83 [ . Untitled (1991. Historian Dorothy Ko’s study of footbinding has shown that foot-binding cannot be reduced to “a core of absolute and timeless meanings” and that the equation was very much a discourse constructed by Western missionaries in China in the nineteenth century. The protocol of decorum would have ordinarily prevented the woman from exposing her malformed feet. Hung Liu based the image of a bound-foot woman with her deformed feet exposed and displayed on a photograph taken by a Westerner. so this exposition was a rare instance of a “behindthe-scenes” image of Chinese womanhood. Exposing the fetish.28 Prior to the nineteenth century. it is akin to succumbing to the logic of Western consumption.

one may say that there are at least two levels of appreciation or reception. the gaze of the Westerner who looks at the artwork is again implied to be innocent. then. which refers to the surface look of the work: looking at most of Hung Liu’s work from the 1990s. For both sets of viewers. For some viewers. is a diªerent kind of flexibility in comparison with that of Ang Lee. Hung Liu’s explanations of her intent in creating such works. discussed in ] [ A Feminist Transnationality 84 . both Hung Liu’s national subject position (as a Chinese national) and minority subject position (as a minority in the United States) can be seen as resistant positions against objectification and stereotypes. if i have been successful. In the layering of these Western gazes. that is. and antagonisms is what I would call the potential of a feminist transnationality. Her paintings sell extremely well—all of her paintings from the 1996 Last Dynasty exhibition were sold even before the show opened—and they have also garnered critical acclaim from such distinguished art critics as Norman Bryson. then. When art buyers and gallery goers visit the galleries. Here. I have made a case about an assemblage of identity fragments in Hung Liu’s work strategically articulated as multiple and shifting antagonisms against four agents of power. The second level is the conceptual or the textual. One is the visual. The intersecting point of these identities. While the gaze of the Western photographer is criticized by Liu for its voyeuristic peeping into the inner sphere of Chinese culture but then subtly reinstated by the logic of the gaze. subject positions. we find more of a coherence than a dissonance. Hung Liu has something to oªer. giving her works a critical edge that art critics and academics are very glad to see.bound feed and Hung Liu repeating this focus through an act of reinscription grant the bound feet a stock symbolic meaning. the visuals are strikingly Oriental. where Liu’s reinscription becomes a reinforced inscription of the same. which suggests a practice of self-Orientalization even though the artist may have a critical intent. On one level. Such feminist transnationality makes possible taking multiple subject positions against multiple power agents. this is su‹cient ground for their enjoyment of her works. which reflects the increased complexity of contemporary experience of immigration as well as the scattering and multiplication of hegemonies that overdetermine the lifework of a transnational artist. The multiple meanings of footbinding within the Chinese context are thus simplified and made to cohere into one meaning: the oppression of Chinese women by Chinese men.

I have shown that critique for the sake of critique is not always already ethical.”29 Hence Spivak’s poignant question: What about those groups that cannot become diasporic? I now come full circle in delineating the economy and the epistemics of feminist transnationality as seen through Hung Liu’s work: the two imply each other in a dance that occludes class as a category of production. and representation. the same relationship of privilege that has separated the intelligentsia from the subaltern classes. and so must its tactics. the epistemics of transnationality as embodied in diasporic feminist work is highly problematic. with a diªerent accent. When terms of resistance and critique themselves become scripted events. Gayatri Spivak has lamented in a very timely essay that. It is a kind of flexibility that works on diªerent levels simultaneously to draw in the viewers. at its worst extreme.30 He further noted the pitfalls of the artist as ethnographer. be they the more critically initiated or the more visually oriented. in a disguised form. A Feminist Transnationality ] 85 [ .chapter 1.”31 Through a diªerent route. accumulation. Furthermore. the art market. and the critical discourse about her work possible. Sinophone visual culture situated transnationally must reckon with its resistant and complicit implications across diªerent contexts and against diªerent agents of power. Liu’s transnationally situated feminist subjectivity ironically makes this transaction among her work. The content of the political changes according to the times. this chapter has hopefully called attention to one of the many transnational complicities that we live with today. where “the quasi-anthropological role set up for the artist can promote a presuming as much as a questioning of ethnographic authority. can become a combination of victimology and self-Orientalization. to her. to insist on a stereotypical anti-Orientalist critique is to risk falling back into Orientalism. they can be deployed for other strategic purposes. an evasion as often as an extension of institutional critique.” where abjection is fetishized to the extent that it may reconfirm a given abjection. Hal Foster satirically criticized certain American art of the 1990s as belonging to a “cult of abjection. The tendency toward self-ethnography in multicultural American art or immigrant Chinese art. She quotes Jean Franco approvingly when the latter notes: “speaking as a woman within a pluralistic society may actually reinstitute.

increasing economic integration of Taiwan.”1 Scholars explored the cultural manifestations and consequences of this integration. —Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. especially in light of the developments in mass media such as popular music and film. When the primitive territorial machine proved inadequate to the task. On the other hand. their imaginary fusion into a single entity called “Greater China. given the need for strategic market penetration and expansion beyond national boundaries. . in both popular and academic arenas. the despotic machine set up a kind of overcoding system. to see to it that no flow exists that is not properly dammed up. The combination of these two factors—political ambiguity and easy access to massmediated cultural productions—further spurred the consideration of the potential emergence of a public sphere in this region outside the direct intervention of the “states” ] 86 [ . such coproductions tended to render ambiguous which “state” they were speaking for or against.2 where coproductions and cultural “joint-ventures” (hezi) were becoming increasingly commonplace. regulated. On the one hand. colonial Hong Kong. . and China spurred.The prime function incumbent on the socius has always been to codify the flows of desire. finds itself in a totally new situation: it is faced with the task of decoding and deterritorializing the flows. But the capitalist machine . the availability of electronic mediation greatly facilitated the tra‹c of popular cultural productions among these sites. channeled. to record them. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1983) 3 The Geopolitics of Desire In the mid-1990s. to inscribe them.

late-twentieth-century capitalism in mass-mediated cultural productions across the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan (at the time euphemistically dubbed zhong-gang-tai )4 region operated through two contradictory gestures on the plane of gender: mass media targeted for consumption throughout this region strategically suppressed native patriarchal and nationalist sentiments in order to maximize market expansion. Here is a triangulated look at the anxieties under the threat of missiles sent oª by China on Taiwan (discussed in chapter 4) and the threat of containment by China for late colonial Hong Kong (discussed in chapter 5) in gendered form. the greatest fears and desires as well as the most fantastic projections of confidence are always articulated in gendered terms. colonial Hong Kong. which continues to be relevant for the twentyfirst century is this: was culture. As I see it. like economy. The crucial question. “panChinese culture” or “global Chinese culture”) was being created. were never divorced from political tensions that had been mounting in the region. while media aimed at local audiences tended to resuscitate and reconsolidate native patriarchies and nationalist/nativist sentiments. and customs. as some would claim?3 This chapter triangulates the question of identity in media representation among Taiwan. The chapter posits that there is no identity negotiation that is not at the same time a gendered negotiation. so that a “transnational Chinese culture” (alternatively. as well as in Hong Kong cultural workers’ pre-1997 earnest attempt to carve out a unique identity against China. particularly since they already shared a putatively similar cultural heritage. Little has been said about how gender inflected the perceived economic and cultural integration in the region. and conversely. it was the site of gender representation that attracted the heaviest concentration of political anxieties.involved. In fact. In highly volatile situations. My inquiry in this chapter therefore concerns the relationship between gender. and the question of a pan-Chinese public sphere. how such an integration eªected a specific kind of gender economy. mass media. their cultural correlates were found in the increasing calls for a cultural nativism in Taiwan. The increased migration of mainland Chinese women to Taiwan and Hong Kong in those years played a significant role in a complex trajectory of anxieties intimately enmeshed with the The Geopolitics of Desire ] 87 [ . becoming more and more integrated in these sites. particularly in regards to mainland gendered subjects in Taiwan and Hong Kong media. then. Inscriptions of gender in the latter case. and China in the mid1990s and examines it through the prism of gendered transnational articulation of desire. languages.

From analyzing these anxieties in the representation of mainland Chinese women in mass media in Taiwan and Hong Kong. however. If one posits ] 88 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . and China. where the women involved were often revealed to be further oppressed by their Third World nationalist patriarchies under colonial or neocolonial control. I suggest that the perceived economic integration was by no means a fait accompli. and cultural anxieties in the figure of the mainland woman consistently precluded the emergence of a gendered public sphere in these sites and systematically undercut the “transnationalizing” tendencies that the situation seemingly promised. and film) were thereby profuse with patriarchal injunctions against these women’s threat and contamination (in the case of Taiwan’s “mainland sister”) and fantasies of their containment and assimilation (in the case of Hong Kong’s “mainland cousin”). Manichean struggle between the male colonizer and the male colonized. was in reality a transnational and multiangular social phenomena created through the migration of media and people. Hong Kong. economic. Yet this “national” interpretation is itself highly ambiguous: Hong Kong was fated to become more and more closely integrated into China after 1997 (despite the policy of “One Country. which makes the designation “national” more of an approximation than an accurate rendering of intense nativist feelings felt by the majority of Taiwan’s populace and now a decreasing number of people in Hong Kong.volatile political and economic relations in the region. the boundary of each discourse has been generally delimited to the geopolitical nation-state and its violation at the hands of unwelcome invaders. going beyond the prevailing paradigm of the contradictory relationship between gender and nationalism.6 The mediation of gender across Taiwan. but its discursive constructions were characteristically “national” in sentiment. Two Systems”) and Taiwan was and continues to be under direct threat of forceful reunification with China. and the representations of Chinese women in mass media (newspaper. hence woman becomes the third term in the binaric. nor did it translate to cultural and political integration. More specifically.5 In these earlier discussions on gender and nationalism. television. The disjunctions and contestations in the cultural and political arenas challenge the facile narrative of a coherent pan-Chinese capitalism that operated entirely according to the logic of capital and thwart easy assertions of the emergence of a pan-Chinese culture in this region. Here we are confronted with a much more complex question. I suggest that the interweaving of political. and indeed an entirely new question.

and peoples has achieved a high degree of denationalization and deterritorialization. or political. In the end. and economic threats posed by transnational migration. whether social. the specific gender representations in the context of China-Taiwan-Hong Kong interrelations in the mid-1990s exemplify an opposite eªort to nationalize or territorialize politics and culture due to the perceived political. were largely opposed to integration.8 By disembedding patriarchy from the nation. as well as rampant adultery of Taiwan and Hong Kong businessmen working in China. In such a context. Feminisms in contemporary Taiwan and Hong Kong thus moved away from the dichotomous model of “women versus the nation. This was because the migration of Chinese women into their midst. however. It was this paradigm of women versus the nation that had earlier told women to wait for national liberation before women’s liberation could be accomplished.that the ambiguous interplay between the transnational and the national characterizes the new social formation in the late capitalist world in general. If they had been silent in the face of patriarchal disparagement of Chinese women in popular media. especially Taiwan. commodities. had seriously compromised and threatened the interests of native women.” in which the nation is equated with patriarchy. cultural. parts of which are fast approaching the First World in terms The Geopolitics of Desire ] 89 [ . and resisted. the erstwhile twin of nationalism—patriarchy—was nevertheless denounced as the agent of abuse. deconstructed. The multiangulation of gender relations across the region by a complex of historically specific issues then oªers a new paradigm for studying gender in a changing Third World. the notion of “Greater China” itself was revealed to be heavily China-centric.7 It will become apparent in the following analysis that native feminists in Taiwan and Hong Kong simply tolerated and sometimes strategically evoked the “national” when dealing with the issues regarding Chinese women. Taiwan and Hong Kong feminists appeared allied with the larger cultural and economic nativist movements in their societies. these feminists did not condone the same patriarchy’s further oppression of native women through its members’ extramarital relationships with Chinese women. If nationalism was strategically tolerated so as to sharpen the focus on native women as the real victims. since the perspectives from other Sinophone communities. cultural. where the transnational flow of goods. the presumptions of patriarchy can be more clearly delineated. and therefore antipatriarchal voices were always either dismissed or brandished as antinational and traitorous.

She had been aware of Ji’s existence for several years and was alleged to have gruesomely murdered both Ji and her baby son. Hence.9 Lin Li-yün. The simple fact is that feminists are beings in the social. There is no innocent transnational feminism that can dissociate itself willfully from geopolitics. this chapter also intends to show how transcending national boundaries in transnational organization can encounter insurmountable di‹culties in situations where questions of political and cultural identity remain volatile. The extent of (im)possibility of a public sphere in the region therefore must also circumscribe the conditions of possibility for a transnational feminism. The story began when the businessman. the wife. A crime of passion—the murdered woman is the Chinese mistress of a Taiwanese businessman and the accused murderer is his wife. Ji Ranbing. BELEAGUERED COMMUNITIES Chinese New Year. left his wife and children in Taiwan to open a factory in China to expand his business and there found himself a mistress. If one does not take into account the complicated political. a feminist transnationality must be interrogated rigorously whether across the Pacific (here and in chapter 2) or across the Taiwan Strait. and Southern California’s Sinophone community continued to be reminded of the tragedy of transgressive relationships between the Chinese and the Taiwanese. and eco] 90 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . As with the first trial that had ended in a hung jury. In light of growing interest in transnational feminism. P’eng Tseng-chi. The second trial in the murder of a Chinese woman dragged on in Orange County Supreme Court. cultural. He eventually moved Ji Ranbing and their newborn baby to an apartment in Southern California. and there is no geopolitics that is not gendered. local newspapers related the daily events in court on the front page of the local news section. and projects a new geopolitics of desire in an age of blurred national boundaries. 1996. not far away from where his two children by his lawful wife lived and went to school as “little overseas students” (xiao liuxuesheng ). allegedly encountered Ji Ranbing during one of her visits to Southern California.of economic status. even when masculinist underpinnings of capitalogic appear to be the dominant frame of reference. and gender issues are fundamentally constitutive of identity (whether political or cultural).

It is important to note that. and economic tensions in their native places. who came to Southern California to attend her funeral. in the Sinophone community in Southern California. and later when she was pronounced guilty. If. due to linguistic similarity. and providing legal and psychological counseling to her and her family. with whom the Chinese immigrants needed to sympathize in solidarity. the same could not be said of Taiwan. the male child. be it a split one.nomic transactions across the region. thus constituting an uneasy Sinophone community of some sort. P’eng could not be accused by the Taiwanese immigrants either. These tensions complicate the roles and functions of gender. and Hong Kong.and late 1990s renders the epThe Geopolitics of Desire ] 91 [ . uniformly reticent regarding the husband P’eng’s wrongdoing. who feared that it would deepen the discord between the Chinese and the Taiwanese in an already contentious situation. cultural.10 The Taiwanese showed their solidarity instead by rallying around the wife. and a classic case of the wife’s internalization of patriarchal values and displacement of her anger over her husband’s adultery onto the mistress and the symbol of the mistress’s power. On the other hand. the story reads just like another instance of the moral failings of a patriarch ruining the lives of two women and their children. was. Lin. split between the Chinese and Taiwanese. The crisis situation in their interrelationships in the mid. seeking the governor’s pardon. P’eng therefore could not be accused by the Chinese: to accuse him for his moral lapses would degrade the murdered victim and her family. adultery was beyond reproach because of the fissures among the various groups of immigrants who embodied the political.11 If in old China male polygamy had been sanctioned by the seamless operation of patriarchal power. however. however. allowing them to publicly sympathize with her and to oªer assistance to her tearstricken father and sister. by establishing the Friends of Lin Li-yün Association on Mother’s Day in 1996 and continuing their support by visiting Lin periodically in the prison. China. The Sinophone community in Southern California. the Sinophone community in Southern California can be tentatively called a community. in contradistinction to other racial groups. P’eng’s public declaration of love for his murdered mistress in the local newspapers provided the Chinese in the community with moral ammunition to defend Ji’s adultery as an act of genuine love. and disallow the emergence of a translocal voice of antipatriarchy. new Chinese immigrants often settled in heavily Taiwanese areas such as Monterey Park.

using “mainland China” as a primary signifier requires a thorough contextualization in the specific configuration of relationships within the region in the mid-1990s. and film representations of Chinese women in Taiwan and Hong Kong were fraught with multiple overdeterminations that “mainland Chinese women” as a category became overlaid with meanings beyond the biological and economic determinations ordinarily apparent.” How did gender become configured in those times of crisis and potential violence on the eve of 1997? Under a thin facade of reportage realism. while Hong Kong’s “return” functioned as the authentication of China’s ultimate power over Taiwan: “it was only a matter of time. In the mid-1990s and to this day. as mistresses and surrogate mothers for Taiwan and Hong Kong businessmen in coastal cities in China (that prosperous margin that is more than “China”). The grand rhetoric of “reunification” that prohibited “territorial division” threatens both Hong Kong and Taiwan. In other words. magazine. which disguises intense animosities.” they carried potent political and cultural meanings in their signification. newspaper. Reading media representations of mainland Chinese women therefore requires a double attention to the categories “mainland China” and “women. but also because Hong Kong’s “return” to mainland rule had been seen as a model and testing ground for the planned takeover of Taiwan. whose fates were linked not only in their shared subjection to Chinese hegemony. The rhetoric of “antiterritorial division” loomed as the grand narrative for the containment of Taiwan. Indeed. but foregrounding “gender” also requires a reference to the transnational paradigm of “tra‹c in women” and the ] 92 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . and has threatened and indeed increasingly curtailed freedom in the media and basic democratic rights of Hong Kong’s citizenry. Although these were the bodies that served as prostitutes and wives in Taiwan and Hong Kong. China has continued to renew its threats to conquer Taiwan in the name of “reunification. It is the uneasy tension and mutually constituting relationship between the bodied (as index to women’s oppression as commodified and exploited bodies) and the socialized (as index to political and cultural complexes) that I see as central to the examination of gender issues here.” although they inevitably intersect. the bodied becomes so embroiled in the socialized that the latter threatens to displace the question of women’s bodily exploitation.” whose most ostentatious manifestation was the March 1996 missile crisis.12 and accordingly their representation became heavily “bodied.ithet “Greater China” an indication of putative ethnic similarity and economic codependency.

But more than mutually contradictory.tai triangle helps to foreground the commodification. the “transnational” and the “national” are also ambiguously constituted vis-à-vis each other because of the memory of their former unity and a putatively shared cultural heritage. this memory and sharedness was increasingly refuted by Taiwan. even while liberal democrats have put up frequent protests against the Chinese rule. 1997. Cantonese.tra‹c of women across boundaries. required a recuperation of this sharedness with all the hoopla of ritualistic and carnivalesque celebration. because a similar language was spoken in China’s Fujian province. as will be discussed in chapter 5. contradictory ways. and extortion of Chinese women as bodies. Strategizing Hong Kong’s emergent yet threatened-to-be-lost cultural identity and Taiwan’s struggle for international recognition as an independent nation-state requires a complex but clear delineation of the “national” and the “transnational” in this region that capitalizes on both its constituents’ sameness and diªerence in multiple. also the language of Guangdong province. So the boundaries Chinese women traversed were not the linguistic ones that often trace national boundaries: those who went to Taiwan often could speak a semblance of the Taiwanese language.14 and by erstwhile Hong Kong nationalists (procommunist or not) resisting British colonial domination and many Hong Kongers’ conciliatory reception of Chinese rule after 1997. Minnan. by the then Guomindang government in Taiwan to validate its “Chinese” culture as more authentic than that of communist China. With the military threat from China. This memory was deployed by all three sides: by the Chinese government as a rhetoric of containment.13 This “transnational” dimension of the tra‹c in women (smuggling and abduction) and tra‹c of women (willing migration) within the confused network of the zhong-gang. to hear the Taiwanese-inflected Mandarin spoken by Chinese prostitutes rounded up by the police and interviewed on television was more than unnerving: the diªerence necessary to maintain and police the boundaries of national identity appeared to be nullified in this case. exchange. For the independence-oriented intellectuals in Taiwan. and those who went to Hong Kong often spoke a variation of the same language of its populace. For Hong Kong. but the conflictual trajectories of their “national” histories immediately undermine that “transnational” reading and replace the bodied reading with a socialized reading of cultural and political antimonies. The threat to Taiwan’s independence was in this sense The Geopolitics of Desire ] 93 [ . yet it lingers on in various forms such as in the strategic assertions of Taiwan’s cultural superiority over China. “becoming Chinese” on July 1.

women are admitted only with reservation and only as sex. with China’s military exercises opposite the Taiwan coast conspicuously asserting China’s will to conquer Taiwan. gripped a paranoid Taiwan readership. And when August 1995 actually rolled around. The migration and tra‹c of Chinese women to Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is within this specific context that I endeavor to decode the representations of Chinese women in Taiwan and Hong Kong media in the mid1990s and locate a new geopolitics of desire. and consolidation of diªerence.the threat of similarity: if a large number of illegal immigrants from China succeeded in crossing the Taiwan Strait. Hong Kong and Taiwan cultural imaginaries must turn elsewhere for the recognition.15 By 1996. however. Without the convenient marker of language or ethnic diªerence (being majority ethnic Han in both countries). China need not resort to military means to conquer Taiwan. yet the storm of rage expressed by the Chinese government over Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui’s uno‹cial visit to the United States in June 1995 threatened a total breakdown of the painstakingly fostered relationship. however. which predicted China’s invasion of Taiwan in August 1995. furthermore. —Rey Chow. “The Politics of Admittance” (1995) The conjunctural elements that constituted the historical moment of the mid1990s in which the specific semantic field of the “mainland [Chinese] sister” (ta-lu mei/dalumei) in Taiwan was generated may include the following: the early 1990s had witnessed increased o‹cial and uno‹cial contacts between Taiwan and China and an unprecedented rise in bilateral trade. has transpacific consequences. as is shown in the case of murdered Chinese mistress Ji Ranbing. SEXUALIZING THE “MAINLAND SISTER” In the imagined community of the new nation. This can be illustrated by the extent to which the sensationalist book August 1995. the scenario ] 94 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . Taiwan. anxiety over Taiwan’s relationship with China ran deep in popular and o‹cial discourses alike. and Southern California thereby constituted a distinct Sinophone zone with an ambiguous cultural and political relationship to China. production. Even before Lee’s visit. pre1997 Hong Kong. political analysts and newspaper columnists conjectured about the possibility of actual invasion based on the book’s scenario.

In the mid-1990s.of invasion. were instead replaced by a deep sense of ambivalence toward all transactions with China: Was Taiwan’s economy becoming too dependent on China? Would Taiwan businesses lose their investments in China if tensions continued to mount? On a smaller scale. The migration was necessitated by Taiwan’s lack of labor resources and the di‹cult marriage market for native males and was fueled by the supposedly “gold-digging” (taojin) aspirations of some Chinese men and women. they went to Taiwan legally and illegally in droves: laborers were recruited to work on ships and construction sites. no longer confined to the realm of imagination and the market. Related to the migration of Chinese men and women to Taiwan was also the prevalent phenomenon of Taiwanese businessmen The Geopolitics of Desire ] 95 [ . that Taiwan could make money by conquering China’s virgin market and exploiting its inexpensive labor. and that Taiwan was culturally more modern and sophisticated than “backward” China. what markers of culture could be deployed to show Taiwan’s superiority? Or were there any realms left with which Taiwan could comfort itself vis-à-vis China’s political hegemony or resist that hegemony.16 Late 1980s and early 1990s confidence that Taiwan was economically more advanced than China. Although the late 1980s and early 1990s had seen a mushrooming of Taiwan independence-oriented cultural production. triggered a massive exodus of Taiwan foreign currency and an immigration frenzy and necessitated the Taiwan government’s intervention in the stock market for fear that a drastic fall would irrevocably damage business confidence. could Taiwan businessmen in China still act the rich compatriots asserting their economic superiority when China itself was increasingly becoming richer? To put it diªerently. ironically in part because of the eªorts of Taiwan businesses? Increased legal and illegal immigration of the Chinese to Taiwan did not decrease hostility but instead heightened Taiwan’s anxiety of contamination and fear of takeover by the Chinese. the rhetoric of independence had been losing popular support because of the overwhelming threat by the Chinese government that an assertion of independence would be tantamount to an invitation to invasion. and marriage services organized trips to China and helped with the eventual immigration of Chinese brides. women were smuggled over by Taiwanese “snake heads” (shetou—human smugglers) for prostitution. when economic gaps were gradually being bridged. the political crystallization of which was the establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party. that Taiwan could teach modernization techniques to China. as China’s market economy modernized.

Newspapers sometimes carried sensational stories of her sexual abuse. the term little sister (mei) suggests the means by which the quest was conducted—sexuality and youth. and when applied to a young woman in an unflattering context. which curiously made her even more seductive. and dalu taitai. The word mainland (dalu) suggested economic backwardness and hence the quest for monetary gain. As such. she was immediately called dalumei. as the latter two could easily be reduced to dalumei if the enunciator at any moment wished to denigrate the Chinese woman he or she China taking Chinese mistresses (the Southern California murder trial being an example of this) and the practice of husbands involved in an infertile marriage finding surrogate mothers in China. Mei in classical Sinitic parlance is often used to designate the female lover. as they sometimes remained mistresses to the men. often caused marriage crises for the married couples. waitress. bar hostess.” seemed to lead her to any activity that would fulfill that goal. unambiguously refers to the woman’s low social status and exploitability. and who in some cases successfully disguised as a native and worked as a singer. when a dalu nuzi was seen as undeserving of an arranged marriage with a native husband. she was reduced to a dalumei. willingly or otherwise. the dalumei was a woman who in most cases worked as a prostitute. “searching for gold. she was diªerent from “mainland women” (dalu nuzi or dalu nuren) whom Taiwanese businessmen took as mistresses or who married Taiwanese and became “mainland wives” (dalu taitai).” the dalumei.17 The dalumei in newspaper and magazine representations was most often a flat character whose singular obsession. came into being as a media construction in the mid-1990s. So when a dalu nuzi was found to be residing in Taiwan illegally. But there was no epistemological clarity between the terms dalumei. These surrogate mothers. or beautician. as expected. Who was this dalumei in Taiwan? Popularized by sensational stories of sexual exploitation in newspapers. dalu nuzi. But if dalumei prostitutes were found and rescued by the native police from their indentured sexual labor. The paradox is due to a kind of performative contradiction: newspaper coverage ] 96 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . It was roughly within the intersection of these social junctures that the “mainland sister. The two prime signifiers of the dalumei are money and sex—her desire for money making her a readily available sex object that provided moral justification for her exploiters (“she wants it herself ”). they were bestowed the honorary title of dalu nuzi so that the moral authority and benevolence of the police could be subtly asserted.

$14. at NT$1. and noted that one of them had had the “adventure” of having had breast implants. The obvious jab here was at the dalumei who pretended that they did not realize their impending fate to be prostitutes. as dalumei became not the object of sympathy (which would have confirmed Taiwan’s moral superiority). Why else would a dalumei get breast implants if not with the intention to become a prostitute? The absence of moral concern in the article was striking. Rather. A small headline for a news item on dalumei in September 1994 read: “Receiving 350 Customers—the Price for Coming to Taiwan.that was meant to arouse people’s concern over the problem ended up turning the reports of dalumei into tantalizing tales of sex and money. how the dalumei paid for it or was forced to pay for it.19 in representations after the 1995 fallout with China.18 While earlier accounts of dalumei exploited for sexual labor expressed a certain concern for their well-being. while earlier stories concentrated on how inhuman the smugglers had been in deceiving the dalumei into indentured prostitution.” The article detailed that the fee for smuggling two dalumei into Taiwan via Thailand with false passports was serving 350 customers each. A February 3. the fact that they could now come to Taiwan without paying the smuggling fee in advance showed how vulnerable Taiwan’s border was to their infiltration. which.000 per customer. The moral sympathy or support of the society was therefore unnecessary or superfluous.000 (U. They could actually come for free and make the money to pay the smuggling fee afterward. for instance. The stories were consistently about their involuntary and voluntary engagement in the sex business.000). post-1995 stories tended to tell of how these dalumei willingly came to become prostitutes under a contract with their smugglers to pay oª their smuggling fee through their sex work. translated into NT$350. even forced sexual labor was depicted with a tinge of ironic humor. to report how much the smuggling fee was. but the object of derision. This was because. news item depicted how three dalumei were saved by the police just when they were being forced into prostitution. It was customary. and what was happening to the dalumei at present in terms of her financial status.S. their labor given explicit numerical monetary values. Concern for the welfare of the dalumei was here clearly replaced by alarm at the ever-clever and “corrupt” dalumei who were “contaminating” Taiwan. The popular Taiwanese news magazine China Times Weekly carried at least The Geopolitics of Desire ] 97 [ . The two prostitutes paid oª their smuggling fees in less than five months and were since able to keep 40 percent of each transaction for themselves up until they were caught. 1996.

$1. because today’s mainland beauties are no longer so easily taken. While the semantic field of dalumei in Taiwan was saturated with illicit sex and money. on the contrary.000. and material goods.” describes three stages in the relationship between dalumei and Taiwanese businessmen in a pseudoanalytic and pseudohistorical manner. The first of these appeared in January 1993 and dealt not with the dalumei at home. As opposed to having Caucasian and black lovers. conflating Chinese prostitutes and Chinese mistresses of Taiwanese businessmen. and Japanese lovers. But the Taiwanese businessmen still preferred having a dalumei over having a mistress in Taiwan because the latter was still more expensive (about U. luxury. Racially and linguistically compatible. The reporter defines the first stage as occurring between 1988 and 1990. walking down the street with Taiwanese men did not trigger much attention or prejudice from the local population. 1990–91. the dalumei in China was. monthly expenses for keeping a dalumei had risen from U.000 to U.000). and the Chinese women were equally impressed by the “tenderness” of Taiwanese men.$3.”21 The reporter gives another warning: court ] 98 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . who tended to speak little Mandarin. In the second phase.S. Unlike Hong Kong lovers. tellingly entitled “Dalumei Love to Kill Taiwanese Men. and the women were easily seduced. but with the dalumei in China. This was the period of easy conquest for Taiwanese men: they showed their tenderness. The article. when Taiwan businesses started to expand into China. characterized by an insatiable greed for money. most importantly. whose male chauvinism was unacceptable.20 In the third phase. She also typically demanded a purchased apartment (around U.$200. it became harder for Taiwanese men because those previously willing mistresses were no longer satisfied with a few hundred yuan of foreign exchange currency or a few dozen pairs of stockings. The article ends with the following remarks addressed to Taiwan businessmen: “Let me ask you: Do you like to be showy and exaggerate your wealth? Do you slap your face to make it appear plump? Do you dye your hair to seduce women? I advise you to conduct a self-examination.S.$2. the two sides found perfect romantic matches in each other.S. dalumei became even more expensive to keep. but demanded substantial amounts of gold and money. tender.200 a month) and entailed a greater risk of discovery by the wife. bestowed some money and small gifts of jewelry. This was when Taiwanese businessmen were lured by the ready availability of beauties in China. By 1992.S. Taiwanese men spoke Mandarin and were.two special reports on the dalumei question.

It revealed the dalumei’s wide spectrum of social backgrounds but emphasized their shared desire for money as the prime motivator for their migration to Taiwan. The threat of dalumei was therefore the threat of massive migration: besides the fifty-seven detainees. The article ended with the story of a dalumei connected with high government o‹cials in China. because she will demand more and more from you. he notes. Taiwanese businessmen were The Geopolitics of Desire ] 99 [ . It called for a controlled exercise of financial power to better manipulate the women and avoid being manipulated in turn. as exemplified by the newly coined saying “The old Gold Mountain is in the United States. When this power was threatened by dalumei’s clever maneuvers. the warnings uttered by the report presented a reverse scenario of exploitation that subalternized the Taiwanese businessmen. and warns that “increasingly smarter dalumei are happy to eat up the simpleton compatriots. Dalumei represented as a sexualized body hungry for economic gain.the dalumei with your money and you are the one who will suªer. noting that the Chinese government had been known to employ dalumei as spies to work in bars and restaurants in Chinese coastal cities frequented by Taiwanese businessmen. It included some new information regarding the dalumei and their activities in general and included an interview with three of the fifty-seven dalumei then held at the women’s detention center in the city of Hsin-chu in northern Taiwan. and concluded that some dalumei in Taiwan might be communist agents sent by the Chinese government. hence exploitable and prone to the sexual conquest of Taiwanese men. reflected a fantasy of Taiwan’s economic power. but the new Gold Mountain is in Taiwan!”22 The three dalumei interviewed were presented as having not the least bit of shyness or shame: they bragged about their success making money and vowed to try to return to Taiwan after deportation. A second special report appeared in the December 1995 issue of China Times Weekly. translated into sexual power.” While the pseudohistory of the relationship between Taiwanese businessmen and mainland Chinese women. the article noted that no one “dared” figure out how many dalumei were actually in Taiwan. There is a reason why the Chinese call you a “simpleton compatriot” (daibao) instead of a “Taiwan compatriot” (taibao) as a homophonic pun on the latter word.23 Dalumei as money-chaser was now replaced by the projection of national security concerns as China began to conduct its ostentatious military exercises targeted at Taiwan. replete with financial statistics. read like a “man-to-man” mistress guide or sexual adventure guide.

[To view this image. .] 14 A dalumei image in Taiwan media. refer to the print version of this title.

The call to Taiwanese businessmen to exercise self-control was now underscored by a heightened sense of urgency because of its national implications: Stop being seduced! Stop being duped! Stop making yourself more vulnerable! Elided in all these heavily troped representations of dalumei. but also the fate of native women in Taiwan. was not only the actual physical maltreatment of mainland Chinese women. they did The Geopolitics of Desire ] 101 [ . Wang would be punished. because the availability of the dalumei undoubtedly threatened native women’s desire for monogamy and equality. So when native feminists marched on the streets in 1995 against teenage prostitution in Taiwan. incarnated for the readership the economic threat of usurping and exhausting Taiwan capital through her seductiveness and the political threat of migration. More precisely. She was not merely a threat to Taiwanese businessmen’s pocketbooks. The story of a Taiwanese woman who killed her children and committed suicide after her husband’s aªair with a Chinese mistress led to complete neglect of his family was not just a story of the increasing peril felt across the Taiwan Strait. however.” and the dalumei increasingly came to embody threat. infiltration. If the Taiwanese government had earlier considered the entry of Taiwan businesses in southern China as a strategy of “connecting with the South and approaching the North”24—Taiwan capital as capturing southern China and loosening control from Beijing—now Taiwan investment in China was increasingly perceived to be vulnerable to the whims of the communist government and became a liability. The dalumei. The rumor that Taiwanese business tycoon Wang Yung-ch’ing planned to build a large-scale chemical factory in China instead of in Taiwan sent nervous government o‹cials scurrying to Wang’s door. The desire and fear in Taiwan’s economic and political relationships with China uncannily paralleled the media representations of the dalumei. and when Wang publicly announced in early 1997 that he had already begun construction in China.reminded of their status as “simpleton compatriots. She was even a threat to Taiwan’s national security. and invasion. but also a story of a modern-day Medea. but a generalized threat to Taiwan capital and industrial advantage as Taiwan was becoming more and more dependent on Chinese labor and market. not to mention economic security. Taiwanese o‹cials were extremely embarrassed and had to announce that if his actions were found to be illegal. The situation of native women was of great concern for local feminists. native patriarchy could take full advantage of the availability of the dalumei to further consolidate its arbitrary domination over native women. a gendered embodiment of dalu (mainland).

gold diggers. vociferously condemned patriarchy from the perspective of the local wives’ “double loss.” the loss of both husbands and money. is merely considered an “injury” for which the greatest punishment is only two years in prison. those Chinese women who willingly complied with Taiwanese men’s demands were depicted as usurpers. In this book. a parodic reference to the Chinese Communist Party’s slogan of “One Country. Her alleged murder of the Chinese mistress might well symbolize for them the collective revenge of the Taiwanese wives. The responses to the Chinese murder trial in Southern California were thus conditioned: Lin Liyün. “The dalumei issue is a blind spot in our feminism.”25 Hence the unabashedly patriarchal tone of the media representations of Chinese women—as desirable and easily exploitable bodies and then as embodiments of threat—were unchallenged by local feminists. the smarter solution would have been to castrate the husband. and child custody. but the main target of criticism was consistently Taiwanese patriarchy. thereby provoking some measure of nationalist sentiment. divorce. Qiu and Lin not only oªer biting criticism of the adulterous husband P’eng Tseng-chi in the Southern California murder case. according to Taiwan laws. Likewise. They reason that killing the mistress had resulted in a very di‹cult legal situation for Lin the wife (who was later sentenced to life imprisonment). condemning patriarchal Taiwan laws and the corrupt husbands these laws protect. they oªer legal counsel on such issues as property possession. who coauthored it with Lin T’sui-fen. prompting Lee Yuanchen. but castration. Theirs was an adamantly local feminist voice that. if at all. to say. Two Wives. was seen as the victim by Taiwanese women. This explains why Taiwanese feminists were reluctant to take up the issue of dalumei. a leading local feminist leader.26 ] 102 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . and opportunists. Two Systems” used for Hong Kong. the Taiwanese wife. In this book of legal analyses of many representative cases and their consequences for local wives. The book is entitled One Country. The most eloquent testimony to this local-oriented feminist endeavor to help the wives of adulterous Taiwanese husbands was a book-length study of the phenomenon by a famous feminist lawyer named Chiu Chang. but also suggest to the wives that instead of killing the mistress. while drawing subtly on nationalist sentiments to fight against the perceived infiltration of the Other women.not include dalumei prostitutes in their agenda: the real subalterns might well have seemed to them not the willingly exploited dalumei but the native women who had had to endure their husbands’ infidelity.

In Hong Kong. Hong Kong society mainly consists of earlier Han immigrants from China. there were dalumei prostitutes as well. and there was considerable prejudice against those “new immigrants” (sunyeemun) who were considered “Chinese” rather than “Hong Kongers. to control it. bugmui for those from northern China in general. this battle must play itself out in local-specific feminist politics that resist transcontext theorizations of gender. administer it. In 1995 alone. This does not imply that this adamantly local feminism was therefore unable to dialogue with other feminisms across diªerent geopolitical spaces.”27 It was to this group of mostly lower-strata individuals that mainland women belonged.28 The Geopolitics of Desire ] 103 [ . and so forth. whose appellations were often based on their places of origin: Tinjoenmei for those from Tianjin. FEMINIZING THE “MAINLAND COUSIN” It’s vital to have possession of this memory. however. there was a strategic appropriation of nationalist sentiments in order to raise the feminist consciousness of local women. Instead. “Film and Popular Memory” (1975) The typology of Chinese women in Hong Kong in the mid-1990s was more variegated due mainly to a long history of immigration from China to Hong Kong. an unprecedented number of more than one thousand illegal mainland prostitutes were caught by the police. —Michel Foucault. The battle here was between the forces of deterritorialization and reterritorialization from a gendered perspective.Despite the local focus of this feminism. their easier access to Hong Kong. and their presence in varying strata of Hong Kong society. tell it what it must contain. Rather. that feminist struggles should not and could not be articulated in universalistic terms of transparent translatability across diªerent locations. it clearly did not cohere to single nation-state-based discussions of the relationships between gender and nationalism as mutually contradictory. it suggests how no single feminist position can account for the ideological simultaneity of various feminist positions arising from diªerent contexts. Wunanmui for those from Hunan Province. although occasionally there were successful entrepreneurial and professional new immigrant women who became visible in society.

32 and there began debates and proposals to criminalize the baoyeenai phenomenon through new legislation. The large-scale adultery captured media attention in late 1994 and early 1995. who no longer needed to succumb to native women’s demands since earlier gains in gender equality were due in part to the shortage of women and the necessity for native men to compete for them. For native women in general. a group of angry Hong Kong wives protested to the Hong Kong government to demand the curtailing of rampant adultery between their husbands and mainland women.34 Native wives also faced the fate of losing both the money and the husband. about 5 percent of the entire Hong Kong population of 6 million. because they were “inexpensive and of beautiful quality” as well as compliant to the demands of Hong Kong businessmen in exchange for financial gain.But the more urgent issue. yet another castrated her husband. who needed pampering and demanded equality. their struggle for equality was severely undermined by the overwhelming surplus of women available for Hong Kong men.33 The situation for local feminists in Hong Kong was perhaps even more urgent than for Taiwan feminists due to the sheer quantity of such incidents and the overwhelming number of illegitimate children who would very likely have the right of legal residence in Hong Kong. and several other incidents of tragedy were publicized. another woman killed her adulterous husband. with the entire bordering city of Shenzhen in the Chinese Special Economic Zone becoming a “village of yeenai.” and with China ironically dubbed the “yeenai-providing sphere.35 The first book on women’s services and women’s groups in Hong Kong noted how the main ] 104 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . and their shared fate with Taiwanese wives did not go unnoticed.31 In late 1994. unlike native Hong Kong women.30 A betrayed Hong Kong mother of three was rescued from an attempted suicide. as did Taiwanese wives. The opposing parties to this call for criminalization came up with the shocking proposal to legalize the yeenai with the argument that Hong Kong businessmen needed to have their sexual desire satisfied while sojourning for long periods for business purposes. when statistics of Hong Kong businessmen having mistresses in China—the so-called keeping a concubine/ mistress (baoyeenai) phenomenon—was revealed. as in the case of Taiwan. was the prevalence of mainland mistresses for Hong Kong businessmen. It was reported that Hong Kong men had collectively sired about three hundred thousand illegitimate babies with their yeenai/ernai in China.”29 These yeenai had been easy prey for adulterous Hong Kong businessmen. one feminist journalist in Hong Kong taunted.

might be positively innocent. lack of proper etiquettes and accoutrements. The Hong Kong feminist perspective. Beyond the obvious similarity between the conditions of native women in Taiwan and Hong Kong. since it was obviously situated between a globalized capitalism and a communist system that continued to impose an ideological stranglehold. biusuk fittingly served as a metonym for the generational diªerence in the relationship between the “motherland” and its putative “child. used in the Cultural Revolution model opera The Red Lantern as a code name for underground communists during the anti-Japanese war in China.agenda of one of the community centers for women was to oªer support for the wives whose husbands work in China. was to see the baoyeenai phenomenon as a social problem that victimized native women. Taiwan has been flaunting its democratization as a way to repudiate the communist system both symbolically and pragmatically. The ideological category of the biutse was a communist cadre whose name literally means “older female cousin. the biutse in Cantonese or biaojie in Mandarin.37 But for Hong Kong in the mid-1990s. old-fashioned. or engaged in immoral behavior such as robbery and bribery. with its erstwhile Marxist-leaning intellectuals having largely lost their calling in the society due to the association that Marxism equals sympathy with China. more critically. an impassioned attempt to defy the compromise of feminist ideals resulting from the transnational migration of Chinese men and women across borders.36 Feminism in both contexts had to be vigilantly local. but its explication oªers crucial vantage points in understanding how ideological issues were gendered in the mid-1990s and.38 Both terms probably originate in the term biusuk (maternal uncle). the biutse also tended to denote a set of mostly negative characteristics: backwardness. however.39 When circulated in Hong Kong. like that of the Taiwan feminist. ideology was of imminent importance. In the pre-1997 climate of Hong Kong. how this category became the playing field of a certain nativist urgency to define a Hong Kong cultural identity destined to gradually become extinct with the retrocession.” While her male counterpart. the biugo (older male cousin). and an inclination to use bribery and connections. unfashionableness. during which the “return” to the “motherland” was construed by some as a transition from British colonialism to “ancestorland colonialism” (zuguo zhimindi) or a process of The Geopolitics of Desire ] 105 [ .” Hong Kong. This highly ideological category did not exist in Taiwan. I am also interested in delineating a peculiar category of mainland women in Hong Kong’s popular imaginary.

1989. due to the imminence of “return. there was a curious boom contributed to by rising real estate prices and a prosperous stock market (partially fueled by the infusion of “red capital” from China). in which the daily experience of oppression is synchronized with a ] 106 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . Conversely. especially the mass media. massacre in Tiananmen Square had mobilized Hong Kong’s democratic forces against the communist regime and injected a sense of urgency into their eªorts to democratize before the arrival of communist rule. saw Hong Kong’s coloniality as the better of two evils and defined British colonialism as “a form of opportunity. Thirty-six percent of the respondents claimed they were “Hong Kongers. if we consider “Chinese” in “Hong Kong Chinese” as merely an ethnic designation (even though “Chinese” is not an ethnicity. Economically.“recolonization” (zai zhimin). the implications for the relationship with “maternal” relatives became increasingly problematic.” the previously thoroughly commercialized cultural arena. I present in the following a necessarily broad description of the historical junctures of Hong Kong in the mid-1990s in terms of politics.” and only 20 percent “Chinese” and 12 percent “British Chinese. economy. Concomitantly. The June 4. and demographics. The legislative election of September 1995 registered an overwhelming success for the prodemocratic forces.40 The mass media’s desire to construct a Hong Kong identity reflected and paralleled the desire of the populace as seen in the result of a public poll taken in February 1995.” 32 percent “Hong Kong Chinese. for instance. became increasingly obsessed with delineating Hong Kong’s unique cultural identity vis-à-vis China in the years leading to 1997. a prominent Hong Kong diasporic intellectual in the United States. Rey Chow. It is no exaggeration to say that the primary obsession of the Hong Kong populace in the mid-1990s was the approach of the 1997 retrocession to China. since they could acquire the so-called round trip certificates (shuangchengzheng ) or smuggle themselves into Hong Kong relatively easily.”41 The percentage of Hong Kong residents who more or less claimed a Hong Kong identity amounted to almost 70 percent. To contextualize my analysis of the representation of biutse. The demographic changes were apparent as Mandarin was more frequently heard on the streets of Hong Kong. New Chinese immigrants were also becoming more and more visible. as I have shown in the introduction). followed by a more sustained inquiry into the cultural scene. there was an upsurge in a kind of identity discourse that strategically evoked British colonial history as a constitutive element of Hong Kong identity in order to distinguish it from China.

The more futile the search for a unique cultural identity. what prevents China’s contemporary cultural elements from becoming part of the impurity of Hong Kong after 1997? Could not contemporary Chinese cultural elements be incorporated in such a way that Hong Kong’s impurity becomes another justification for an innocuous multiculturalism? In the absence of “nativist” paradigms of culture. Chow defined Hong Kong’s emergent cultural production as “impure” and presented a vision of an “alternative” culture or community in a “third space” between British and Chinese cultural systems.44 as that which celebrated the obliteration of the violence of colonial history. thereby disenabling domination from both directions. saw hybridity as the means to deconstruct “the illusion of cultural purity” envisioned by both Chinese nationalism and Hong Kong Occidentalism (i. As the return to the “motherland” is described as domination by yet another colonizer.42 In a diªerent article. A diªerent formulation of Hong Kong identity.e. however. worship of the Occident). if not problematic.” So even though British colonialism had been a form of violence. as posited by Quentin Lee. with which she emphasized both the oppression and agency of the colonized in a situation of successive colonialisms. any assertions of the unique constitution of a Hong Kong identity is bound to be at best tenuous. This is because the option of imagining a “national” identity (as in Taiwan) has never been available for Hong Kong. the greater the urgency and desire. the return promised a kind of “postcoloniality” that only mocks the implications of the prefix “post. Nick Browne’s description of the temporal mode of 1990s Hong Kong cinema as “future anterior” to suggest the “complexity of an impending return that threatens to be a future undoing of its past The Geopolitics of Desire ] 107 [ .46 The other potential danger in the impurity/hybridity discourse is this: if the essential diªerence between China and Hong Kong is the former’s purity and the latter’s impurity.43 She carefully avoided the term hybridity as popularized by Homi Bhabha. who saw it as intertwined with the English gaze. since it was British colonialism that had also selectively legitimated Hong Kong’s hybridized cultural production. it was one that was “lived as an alternative to greater violence elsewhere.”47 because decolonization does not mean liberation or independence.45 Lee here treated hybridity and impurity as one and the same. however. and instead insisted on the notion of impurity. Such an impurity/hybridity discourse was criticized by others..” “elsewhere” undoubtedly referring to China.self-conscious search for freedom in alternative forms.

These films range from farce. like nostalgia. and romantic drama to pornography. Hong Kong films in the 1990s leading up to 1997 were in this sense fantastic souvenirs of a culture that was not perceived as an autonomous entity and an attempt to appease the anxieties of the nostalgic. and yet longing for an impossibly pure context of lived experience at a place of origin. paradoxically premised upon its absence. Hence the temporal mode of this desire was the “future-past. farcical. like any form of narrative. and ] 108 [ The Geopolitics of Desire .” or “future-anterior”: the prospect of the future engendered an anxiety over the loss of the past because that loss was guaranteed. bravo!”. Hence the desire to find an object. a souvenir. literally. see color plate 3). a sadness which creates a longing that of necessity is inauthentic because it does not take part in lived experience. But the films did more than nostalgically evoke unique Hong Kong cultural elements. it remains behind and before that experience. is always ideological. hence the “essences” of Hong Kong culture became a prime focus of representation through their contrast with those of China. Rather. always absent. produced between 1990 and 1994. as the memory marker of a culture.50 The production of about half a dozen films about the biutse in Hong Kong cinema may be understood as the souvenirs of a past. that past continually threatens to reproduce itself as a felt lack. for they also projected possible future narratives beyond 1997. The past it seeks has never existed except as a narrative. ultimately it was a utopian dream that generated longing precisely because of its impossibility. Nostalgia. This point of desire which the nostalgic seeks is in fact the absence that is the very generating mechanism of desire. Hostile to history and its invisible origins. and hence. provide ideal sites for examining the political and cultural negotiations these films project onto Hong Kong’s relationship with China precisely because they are hyperbolic. but a particular series of four movies made by director Alfred Cheung titled Her Fatal Ways (biutse nayhoye. comedy. I quote Stewart at length here: Nostalgia is a sadness without an object.49 The search for a narrative of Hong Kong identity was. a face that turns toward a future-past.48 This paradoxical search for a cultural identity that is premised upon its very impossibility or futility may be understood in terms of Susan Stewart’s discussion of nostalgia. nostalgia wears a distinctly utopian face. “mainland cousin. a past which has only ideological reality.achievement” underscores the paradoxes in the search for a cultural identity. represented by the biutse.

all signs of femininity and sexuality are erased. policewoman who crosses the border to Hong Kong to track down mainland criminal elements. since this is when the biutse first comes to Hong Kong. She walks a wide. The pleasure thus gained is an exercise of power and control. clichéd ideological rhetoric to deal with awkward situations that might otherwise force her to betray her own innermost desires and wishes. even though it may only last for the duration of each film. and they become comedy material for the audience to laugh at. who stands at the ideological forefront). her ideologically correct behavior and language are eminently misplaced. The suppressed. speaks in a loud voice of authority. enacting the disappearance and appearance of Hong Kong in an attempt to use symbols (films) to control its absence and further make sense of its impending future. these film enactments can be likened to the child’s “fort-da” games. and. At times. private self is discovered soon after she enters seductive. degendered “iron lady” (tie niangzi. To borrow a Freudian trope here.52 This sense of control is further communicated by the genre of the films—farce—which displaces anxiety with laughter. she quickly. gun-wielding. party cadre. masculine gait. which have up until this point been exclusively dictated by communist ideology. feminine desires. urban. the biutse is the narrative figure whose changing relationship with Hong Kong symbolizes those possible scenarios of Hong Kong’s past and future. and she gradually awakens to her own deeply repressed. Shuonan herself consciously applies dry. and spews o‹cial party rhetoric. she is a masculine. This process of transformation is most explicitly depicted in part 1 of the series. The comical eªects are achieved by what may be called the “ideological malapropisms” of her behavior and language in the diªerent context of Hong Kong.bombastic. Shuonan (literally “great male”) lives and breathes communist ideology. albeit in somewhat crudely mimetic fashion as the genre of farce dictates. kung-fu master. Here. But there is a further twist: Shuonan is shown to become more and more self-conscious about her masculine and uncouth behavior and language. For a party cadre who is not supposed to harbor any “bourgeois” desires. and is gradually released. A typical. It is through her transformation that we see an explicit confirmation of the culture of Hong Kong. The biutse herself is an amalgam of comic eªects in the four-part movie. The split between the ideological self and the private self is thereby constructed along clear lines. as to be expected of a party cadre.51 In the films. capitalist Hong Kong. and of course The Geopolitics of Desire ] 109 [ . Played by Hong Kong actress Cheng Yu Ling.

secretly. wears dresses. the biutse becomes increasingly comfortable displaying her feminine self. since now she has decided to remain in Hong Kong as a permanent resident. Shuonan falls in love with a Hong Kong man. cable television. subtlety. and fashionable clothes). who ate with her “left” hand so as to be ideologically correct. revolutionary. the crowning symbol of urban Hong Kong) is as dramatic as the confirmation of Hong Kong’s cultural superiority. Her exclamation confirms the superiority of Hong Kong culture because it is spoken by a staunch communist party cadre who has heretofore been very careful to hide her fascination. As the films progress. and falls in love. Shuonan settles down in Hong Kong and vows to be “more Hong Kong than Hong Kongers. civility. The confirmation also comes from its contrast with an earlier scene in which she lectured on the art of spitting and spit right out the bus window and into the mouth of a passing motorcyclist on her way to Hong Kong. who sang with such a high-pitched. even though her falling in love is in some ways devastating since it subverts what she is supposed to represent for China. By the end of the last of the four movies. whose gaudy makeup made her look like a “red women soldier” (hongse ni] 110 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . In each of the four movies. desires to become feminine—applies lipstick.” The Chinese policewoman who lectured on the art of spitting on the bus to Hong Kong. she exclaims at the beauty of the colorful neon lights seen from the upper deck of a double-decker bus. Her transformation from an uncouth cadre with no taste or sensibility to a woman longing for beauty and love (and the change of transportation from a primitive bus to a double-decker bus. So the evolution of the four movies is also a progression toward the completion of Shuonan’s journey: from crossing the border back and forth. products that speak to individual desire (lipstick. bustling urban scenes. operatic voice that shattered glasses in a karaoke bar. Abstract qualities of humaneness. These qualities then add up to an inventory of Hong Kong culture. In an unguarded moment when she is with a Hong Kong policeman played by the supremely handsome and likable Tony Leung. The film consistently posits the universal validity of beauty and pleasure in the “bourgeois capitalist” mode and identifies those elements that constitute Hong Kong’s culture as superior or universal. and emotional concern for others are wedded to material manifestations of capitalism: state-ofthe-art technology. there is a definite prospect of Shuonan marrying a man in Hong Kong. and above all the “rule-bylaw” legal system represented by the Hong Kong police. set in opposition to China and Chineseness as represented by the biutse.

” even as the The Geopolitics of Desire ] 111 [ . the films projected a set of negotiations with “China. is strategically seduced by a half-British. the first of the films rarely invokes 1997. Qian Li. dark-rimmed glasses and long straight hair are continuously modified in the four films into thinrimmed glasses and slightly wavy hair. her seduction is a conspiracy of the entire police department to ensure Hong Kong’s financial future and the policemen’s own financial security. Xiao Ru.” Despite its farcical overtones. her baggy shirts and pants are replaced by attractive. Beyond “modernizing” the biutse into a feminine. feminine self. because Xiao Ru is the daughter of the Chinese general who will be in command of the People’s Liberation Army to be stationed in Hong Kong after 1997. I will remain in Hong Kong after 1997. and thereby confirming the universalizing and humanizing capacities of Hong Kong’s capitalist culture. bourgeois capitalist. dramatic gait gives way to sensual steps. masculine voice softens into a gentle. What Hong Kong does to her is to arouse in her the “universal” longings of a woman and regenders her into a true. “Mr. she hands him a note on which she has written: “After 1997 maybe we can cooperate again. this is my identification card. The typical last scene at the border is now painfully explicit. 1997 becomes a consuming obsession and fear for the Hong Kong characters involved. for fear of retaliation after 1997. and when it does. Made in 1990. her “Hong Kong-ization” can be said to be complete. feminine one. now readily absorbs and displays bourgeois values and becomes another Hong Kong woman among many. we see the entire staª of the Hong Kong political bureau confessing to a high mainland o‹cial.angzi jun) from the Cultural Revolution model opera with the same name. Seducing her would translate into having influence over the general’s decisions regarding Hong Kong. and this is seen to directly aªect Hong Kong stock prices and other financial conditions. With the prospect of marrying a local man. please remember me. her loud.” By part 3 (1992). They tell him the sins they committed against China and seek forgiveness. the films also explicitly engage in discussions of 1997.53 who is visiting Hong Kong. and her wide. So in the last scene of the movie. form-fitting shirts and skirts. In fact. Another mainland woman. an ominous sense of reality looms. He says to Xiao Ru’s father. half-Chinese policeman. We see Oliver “using connections” (kao guanxi) to ensure his future in the manner of a Chinese mainlander navigating a corrupt system. General. Her appearance changes accordingly: her thick. Oliver. In the fourth installment (1994). when Shuonan says good-bye to her first Hong Kong lover at the border. Together. the threat is not yet directly felt.

the fact that the biutse was infinitely seducible by Hong Kong men and readily replaced her mainland culture with Hong Kong culture also presented a narrative of assimilation. In a similar manner. “Modern. latter was consistently made the object of laughter.] 15 Interview of Qian Li from part 4 of Her Fatal Ways. To venture an allegorical reading here. it is a biracial (half British. And it was only with the Scot that her love was fully reciprocated and a union was expected. but by the third film. half Han). In contrast. a Scot. refer to the print version of this title. the union of the Scot (who ironically represents the colonial government) and the Chinese mimicked the political cooperation between the British and the Chinese governments who had decided Hong Kong’s fate without the participation of the Hong Kong people themselves. could “civilize” the ] 112 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . whose fate was beyond their control. Shuonan’s romantic encounters in Hong Kong actually involved men of diªerent races—she falls in love with two Hong Kong Han males in the first two films.” “cultured. and the fourth film. it was suggested.[To view this image. suggesting the occlusion of Hong Kongers.” and capitalist Hong Kong. the man who seduced Xiao Ru is half British.

The projection of Hong Kong’s cultural power therefore could well be another fantasy equally fracturable in the face of China’s political authority. Hong Kong media’s recourse to The Geopolitics of Desire ] 113 [ . this formidable force of Hong Kong mass culture was the “Northward Imaginary” (beijin xiangxiang ). At the very least.54 In the language of the Hong Kong Cultural Studies Collective. The apprehension about 1997 could then be displaced by projecting a vision into a farther future. state-sponsored nationalist leftists in China. While Taiwan media resorted to nationalist sentiments to reject the lures of Chinese women and thereby asserted Taiwan’s moral supremacy and economic leverage. The immense creative energy emanating from a population of 1. and in this narrative. the capitalist seductions of the city could “soften” the “hard” mainlanders to such a degree that perhaps 1997 would not be as traumatic as expected. As director Alfred Cheung pointed out in an interview. What went unsaid in this optimism. time was on the side of Hong Kong. and its assimilating potential quite exaggerated. was the potential vulnerability of such assertions of cultural power (derived from the universalizing power of Hong Kong capitalism) in the face of blatant exercises of political power. whose advance could not be stopped. What came to be dubbed as “Hong Kong Cultural Imperialism” was criticized not only by ultraconservative. curiously. This optimism regarding Hong Kong culture’s power of assimilation was at the time validated by the immense influence Hong Kong mass media had exerted in southern China. and the reach and influence of this “Hong Kong cultural zone” was reaching farther and farther north. the projection of the feminizing supremacy of Hong Kong mass culture in the mid-1990s can be construed as a fantastic imagination of power and agency and a form of displacement of the fear of the impending retrocession to China. when China will become more and more capitalistic in the Hong Kong mold and may eventually eschew monolithic communist rule. Hong Kong television was transforming the ideology of 60 million people in southern China. of course. embodied this optimism. weary of Hong Kong mass culture’s incursion on China.4 billion now wields more power to assimilate Hong Kong mass culture into its fold rather than the other way around. Taiwan’s clashes with China could be seen as proof for this.55 The feminization of the biutse in Her Fatal Ways. Seen in this light. though differently from the ultraleftists.backward Chinese and thereby neutralize the eªects of the 1997 takeover. but also by the so-called Chinese postcolonial critics (or the Chinese New Left) whose compulsory critique of all nonnative forms of culture made them equally. then.

post-Deng. and the similarly celebratory perception of mass media as the site of peripheral cultures manufacturing alternative identities against domination.a feminizing capitalism as the means to carve out a cultural identity was in the end quite futile when China itself has been vigorously advancing on the route of a flexible.57 whereas reconsideration of this relationship generally fell into two modes: the celebration of the deterritorializing potential of mass media and its capability to form a transnational public sphere. the mass media’s potential for the construction of a pan-Chinese public sphere in the ChinaTaiwan-Hong Kong region was not only unlikely but also impossible.56 Classic discussions of the public sphere in the tradition of Jürgen Habermas saw its relationship with mass media to be an oppositional one. will have much leverage in determining all aspects of human activity through its boundless and borderless reach to diªerent corners of the world. The divergent encodings of mainland Chinese women are suggestive of the diªerent degrees of autonomy available for Taiwan and Hong Kong in the mid-1990s. Bruce Robbins’s discussion of mass media ] 114 [ The Geopolitics of Desire . Hong Kong’s lack of autonomy was irreversible due to its impending retrocession in 1997. One consequence of global capitalism in the twenty-first century is precisely that its new centers of activity. of which China is the primary example. the Hong Kong films analyzed above imagine a narrative of assimilation and domestication in order to neutralize China’s threat. or the so-called postsocialist years. GENDER AND PUBLIC SPHERE If Taiwan media representations of the dalumei can be largely decoded as manifestations of the fear of contamination. market-oriented “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in the postMao. This is despite the professed optimism seen in various cultural circles in the early 1990s and the fact that coproductions of movies continue to be made into the twenty-first century. Arjun Appadurai’s notion of mediascape and Miriam Hansen’s discussion of the deterritorialization of public sphere based on the transnational flow of electronic media are examples of the former mode. Capitalism’s feminizing power is not for use by Hong Kong alone. but by all. Whether or not the availability of autonomy might be ultimately an illusion for Taiwan. In light of such antithetical underpinnings in the representation of Chinese women in Taiwan and Hong Kong mass media.

34 × 86 × 7). [To view this image.] 2 Hung Liu. Swan Song. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. Olympia II (1992.[To view this image. Courtesy of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. refer to the print version of this title.] 1 Hung Liu. . refer to the print version of this title.

and the filmmaker Alfred Cheung. from left: an anticommunist Guomindang remnant. .[To view this image. a Hong Kong royal policeman. the biutse.] 3 Publicity photo of Her Fatal Ways depicting ideologically coded characters. Photo provided by Alfred Cheung. refer to the print version of this title.

p. . 41.[To view this image. refer to the print version of this title. from The Practice of Chineseness.] 4 Detail of cover of The Practice of Chineseness by Yuk-yuen Lan. Photograph by the author. 5 Display in Shanghai Tang store.

[To view this image.] 7 Wu Mali’s Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang (1997). Photography by Chung-hsing Lin. video. cloth woven with words and patterns. sandblast glasses with inscription and video. Epitaph (1997). refer to the print version of this title.[To view this image.] 6 Wu Mali. Used with permission of the artist. used with permission of the artist. . refer to the print version of this title.

pink sponge. [To view this image.[To view this image. Formosa Club (1998). neon light.] 9 Wu Mali. refer to the print version of this title. refer to the print version of this title. Photography by Ching-tang Liu.] 8 Detail of words woven into cloth from Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang. wooden board. . interior space. used with permission of the artist.

refer to the print version of this title. at the Palazzo Delle Prigiaoni.] 10 Wu Mali. Photography by Chung-hsing Lin.[To view this image. perplex containers. Biennale Venezia (1995). shredded books. golden labels. metal bookshelves. The Library. used with permission of the artist. .

[To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]


Detail from The Library, the Bible placed in the middle of the room.

[To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]


Wu Mali, Sweeties of the Century (1999), child photos of celebrities respectively from left to right, then top to bottom: Aung San Suu Kyi, Mohandas Gandhi, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Rachel Carson, Bertrand Russell, Margaret Thatcher, Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, Adolf Hitler, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Nam June Paik, Jean-Paul Sartre, Mikhail Gorbachev, Oprah Winfrey, Marcel Duchamp, Václav Havel, John Lennon, Lee Teng-hui, Gertrude Stein, Rainer Maria Rilke, Frida Kahlo, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lin Hwai-min, T.S. Eliot, Haile Selassie, Walt Disney, the Dalai Lama, Princess Diana, Simone de Beauvoir, H.M. King Bhumibol.

as the potential site for disenfranchised minorities or marginalized collectivities to articulate their cultural identities is an example of the latter.58 China scholars have also debated the question of the public sphere, asking whether there was a public sphere in imperial China on the pages of Modern China in 1993 and whether certain locations can be found in today’s transnational landscape for a Chinese public sphere. Tu Wei-ming’s conception of “cultural China” as the realm of common awareness of all Chinese peoples beyond geopolitical boundaries was then identified as the possible site of a Chinese public sphere.59 In relation to mass media, Mayfair Yang charted the transnationalizing tendencies in Chinese identity formation in China in the age of diaspora and free-flowing mass media.60 In both the conceptions of cultural China and transnational China, the authority of hegemonic statism is undermined by virtue of the scope and dynamics of these conceptions. While Yang locates the agency of antistatism in the urban Chinese populace in China, Tu would locate sites external to geopolitical China, that is, Sinophone communities, as the most vital areas of cultural China. Even though the term zhong-gang-tai existed as a possible name for the intimacy of the three places, its constitution as a possible public sphere was highly problematic and continues to be so. The three terms of the name—China, Hong Kong, Taiwan—have fractured each other in multiple ways. There was also the absence of the basic premises of “communication” and “rational-critical discourse” as required by the Habermasian paradigm, even if one allows for historical diªerences between Habermas’s Germany and the region in question as the departing point of theorization. Assertions of China’s political power over Taiwan and Hong Kong in the mid-1990s, fueled by the reorganization of power due at the time to the impending death of Deng Xiaoping and its unpredictable consequences, were made vigorously and conspicuously. Taiwan and Hong Kong therefore resorted to asserting economic and cultural power as a means to resist China’s political power, but such forms of resistance, as bombastic and regressive as they might have been, were fraught with a sense of fatalism and apprehension. To the extent that mass media in Taiwan and Hong Kong aªorded moments of fantastic narrativization of power, one can perhaps ascertain the potential of mass media as a form of resistance. However, in the overlapping of “state” powers of China, Taiwan, and the colonial government in Hong Kong, as well as in China’s ever-tightening policy over Taiwan’s claims to independence and its post-1997 policies of containment of Hong Kong, the room for generating truly alternative identities that would be
The Geopolitics of Desire ]


recognized as such in the international arena remains limited. If “Greater China” as an entity was largely an economic trope, the prevalence of oppositional dynamics in mass media’s gender representation exposed the impossibility of imagining it as a culturally or politically integratable entity. Hence, representations of mainland Chinese women in mass media emphasized their cultural diªerence from the women of Taiwan and Hong Kong and are filled with patriarchal as well as capitalist injunctions and eroticizations. In the end, these women were ironically made to become linking agents for the patriarchal “kinship system” in the region— Taiwan and Hong Kong men did have unions with Chinese women either legally or illegally—but their “linking” function triggered the fear of contamination in the case of dalumei, and in the case of the biutse, the fantasy of assimilation. Such a situation also portends the untenability of a gendered public sphere across these places. Although Taiwanese feminist groups incorporated aspects of Chinese culture to empower themselves and imagine solidarities,61 the towering imperative of Taiwan’s national well-being disallowed and will continue to prevent the engagement to become any kind of universal feminist critique of women’s oppression.62 Understandably concerned with local women’s welfare, Taiwan and Hong Kong feminist groups alike chose to focus their eªorts on local wives as victims of the patriarchal domination of their lustful and adulterous husbands. These are not women who are waiting for their nation to be liberated before they can assert themselves as agents of history as in old theorizations of Third World women versus nationalism. These are not women who cross national boundaries searching for an ideal of a transnational feminism that can serve as attractive material for transnational feminist theorizing. Rather, these women deploy their national and transnational allegiances pragmatically and locally to define the meaning of their own politics. The imagined construction of a feminist public sphere among certain select feminists in these areas would then have to be an obviously classed aªair for those who can aªord to be feminist universalists. Ultimately it is the critical imbalance of political power that disallows the emergence of a public sphere, gendered or not, in the Taiwan-Hong Kong-Taiwan triangle. The Sinophone and local sensibilities of Taiwan culture will continue to be weary of China and Chineseness, and this weariness will continue to be gendered.




The Geopolitics of Desire

An ambiguity, then, is not satisfying in itself, nor is it, considered as a device on its own, a thing to be attempted; it must in each case arise from, and be justified by, the peculiar requirements of the situation. —William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity (1947)


The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity

On a rainy day in the side lobby of a four-star hotel in Beijing, a group of about twenty men dressed in T-shirts with “Woodpeckers from Taiwan” printed on their backs are practicing their choir songs for the International Choir Festival. The Taiwan Hotel, located in the upscale Goldfish Lane in the heart of Beijing, is notorious for being “luan” (messy), meaning that it is rife with prostitution and other kinds of problems. The hotel rooms are also much dingier and cheaper than those of neighboring hotels—the Palace Hotel and the Peace Hotel. A Taiwan artist who has given up on the Taiwan art market moves to Shanghai and spearheads a movement to turn old colonial warehouses along the Suzhou river into art studios for a “Su He” (Suzhou River) district, after New York’s SoHo.






Another magazine suggests that the Chinese are simply using the Taiwanese for the duration of their usefulness. which underscores the di‹cult question of identity for Taiwan. like American English.” as well as considerable success in reconstructing local history and culture in Taiwan in its particularity. developed its own vocabularies. and the local film market is dead. up to six hundred thousand of whom resided in Shanghai. except for occasional transpacific or trans–Taiwan Strait coproductions such as Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger. is similar to the diªerence between British English and American English in the specific sense that Guoyu is the standard language of those diasporic Han Chinese who left China in the late 1940s and immigrated to Taiwan (the so-called provincial outsiders.I Another Taiwan artist laments that there is no future for art in Taiwan. in Taiwan). accents. Amid calls to bid “farewell to China. Edward Yang. and unstable state of cultural and economic relations with China. The diªerence between Hanyu and Guoyu. the Minnan. Hanyu. Hidden Dragon or the French. some of the most successful soap operas on Taiwan television showcase mainland Chinese actresses and actors. the question of identity in Taiwan continues to be intimately imbricated with China. Guoyu has since. one Taiwan business magazine suggests that the Taiwanese have to give up their sense of Taiwanese superiority. in practice. There were reputedly 1 million Taiwanese living and working in China by 2002. disorganized. and expressions diªerent from China’s o‹cial Hanyu. which is Mandarin. which is to replace the Guomindang’s designated “national language. In the meantime. I I I begin this chapter with a series of anecdotal observations as a way to comment on Taiwan’s haphazard. This imbrication is the locality of the Sinophone in its struggle to become “Taiwanese. But Guoyu was in some sense a ] 118 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity .or Japanese-funded art house films of Hou Hsiao-hsien.” This struggle is a linguistic one to the extent that what in China’s Fujian province is a topolect is very similar to one of the o‹cial languages in Taiwan. is also similar to China’s o‹cial language. which has been baptized by socialist ideology. but then will move on and leave the Taiwanese behind once China becomes economically more advanced. fragmentary.” the Guoyu. To be successful in China. The center for art in Asia is now unquestionably Shanghai. Guoyu. and Tsai Ming-liang. waisheng’ren.

for heuristic purposes. literary.colonial language in Taiwan. languages. The international community. but this particularity as a discourse constructed within Taiwan runs into immediate di‹culty in the international context. led by the United States. and other forms of culture must be understood both as a response to China’s threat over Taiwan’s bid for sovereignty and as the desire to construct a unique identity against China.”1 If Sinophone is the transitional term that negotiates between what is Guoyu and what is Minnan. The extent to which aboriginal cultures became sinicized over the centuries clearly posits the Sinophone as a product of colonial imposition. If we can. the question of identity in Taiwan. American o‹cial policy of ambiguity has not given much room for Taiwan to maneuver its The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 119 [ . What prevents the strengthening of a multicultural identity in Taiwan. who were mainly speakers of Minnan and Japanese until the late 1940s. and economics. has been an overwhelming “obsession with China. it excludes aboriginal languages that trace completely different linguistic trajectories. and cultures. must always be a question of multiple identities.”2 not so much due to cultural allegiance to China but due to China’s looming threat of military invasion. Victor Mair has ironically noted that for the Taiwanese speaking Guoyu is a lesson in “how to forget your mother tongue and remember your national language. The fact that negotiations between Chineseness and Taiwaneseness are continuously replayed in visual. however. For instance. as it was imposed by the exiled Guomindang government on the local Taiwanese people. the standardization and valorization of Guoyu over the years of Guomindang rule until 1987 involved the relegating of Minnan speakers to second-class citizenship. just as the Francophone is to native peoples in North Africa and elsewhere. adhering to China’s “One China” policy but simultaneously maintaining a sympathetic stance toward Taiwan as its de facto protectorate. we will see factors of ambiguity and paradox appearing to overwhelm local desires for clarity and particularity. has persistently deployed a policy of ambiguity over Taiwan-China relations. Whether Taiwanese or Sinophone. culture. in other words. ethnicities. As forceful imposition. divide the question of identity into the registers of identifications within the realms of politics. The chief political paradox is that Taiwan’s political and national identity acquired unprecedented particularity articulated against China in Taiwan’s social imaginary at the beginning of the twenty-first century after a decade of governance by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

This is the location of the second paradox that informs the tension between the state of active instrumentalization of universality for economic purposes and the state of desiring particularity from China for political and cultural reasons. which intelligently utilized China’s export quotas to the United States and other countries. to the more recent entry and expansion into the domestic Chinese market. that their economy has become far too dependent on China. the Taiwanese suddenly woke up to find.” even though it is supposedly protected from Chinese aggression by the trilateral defense system set up among Japan. their cultural and linguistic similarity with the Chinese. after two decades of heavy investment in China. these declarations also provoked strong reactions from China.political declaration of “independence. From deploying Chinese labor for exporting purposes to the Western countries since the 1980s. the United States. asserting Taiwan’s autonomy and trying to attract international attention to Taiwan’s plight. For economic gain on the one hand. This contradiction is one crucial site of ambiguity. Taiwanese capitalism found China to be the means to its ] 120 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . that is. then. this state of ambiguity was increasingly seen to be dangerous by the Taiwan leadership. local desires run into direct conflict with international restrictions. The economic determinations of Taiwan’s identity are also fraught with ambiguity. which contributed in a significant way to the creation of a consumer market in China.” These outbursts of declarations clamor for clarity and particularity. leading to both the missile crisis and the passing of the anticessation law by China’s People’s Congress in 2005. hence the occasional outbursts of political rhetoric claiming Taiwan’s separate national status such as the pronouncements of the two Taiwanese presidents: Lee Teng-hui’s “Theory of Two Countries” and Chen Shui-bian’s “Each Side a Separate Country. In the realm of politics.” China’s eªective international diplomatic blockade on Taiwan has also led to Taiwan’s extremely marginalized position in international politics. If they were eªective means of battling ambiguity. For the last two decades of the twentieth century. and Taiwan. the Taiwanese have capitalized on what may be called a Sinophone cultural universalism. the latter unilaterally legalizing the use of military force against Taiwan in the event of Taiwan’s “declaration of independence. mainly due to the contradictory American policy of promoting democracy in Taiwan (whose logical limit is the independence of Taiwan) and adhering to the “One China” policy (whose logical limit is China’s occupation of Taiwan). Confronting the ascending economic power of China.

” meant to overcome the divisiveness of identity politics. The cultural consequences of political and economic “obsession with China” are the obsessive staging and performance of Taiwan’s cultural relationship with China in an eªort to search for and to codify new locations of cultural value. But the crowning of a Taiwan multiculturalism. The meanings of “China” and “Chinese culture” have been multiple. Sinophone culture is often confused with Chinese culture. contradictory. ambiguous determinations of similarity and diªerence also inform the question of identity. Seen in the practices of the everyday in Taiwan. celebrates multiculturalism. was that its capitalist character further denationalizes those Taiwanese who work and live in China to the extent that they themselves have become new immigrants in China. the multicultural identity is yet to take root in Taiwan. due mainly to Guomindang’s sinicization campaign through most of the second half of the twentieth century. colonial history. and as more and more Taiwanese settle and live in China. multilingualism. This new collectivity of the “New Taiwanese. The fear that Taiwan may not be able to sustain its own economy without China has led to the Taiwan government’s decade-old policies of control attempting to curtail Taiwanese investment outflow to China. and unresolved for a long time. This economic universalism clearly undermines Taiwan nativists’ political claim of independence.continued economic expansion and prosperity. hides internal hierarchies and inequities. like all multiculturalisms. which strategically deployed cultural universalism. The added complexity that emerges from this economic drive. Simplistic identity politics that had been too quick to categorize and repudiate each other either as unificationists or independentists (dupai) had torn through the fabric of Taiwan society to the extent that a new collective consciousness had to be invented in the last few years of the twentieth century to mend the rifts. In the Guomindang The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 121 [ . while Taiwan-centered cultural purists hasten to construct Taiwan’s unique cultural history based on its unique cultural geography. These Taiwanese immigrants cannot but settle in China and become a new kind of “Chinese” with complex and ambiguous allegiances. Even if we suspend these hierarchies and inequities for a moment. and multiethnicism. and archaeology against China and Chineseness. climatology. hence those who continue to appreciate classical Chinese culture risk being identified simplistically as unificationists (tongpai). as the economic sector in Taiwan finds its well-being increasingly entangled with China. such as the threat of imprisonment for those who invest without government approval announced in August 2002. In the cultural realm.

it is the local translation. Chinese American culture. These “provincial outsiders” have literally been purged from the literary canon for their politically incorrect nostalgia for China. taking it as fact that their “Chineseness” is cultural to a limited extent of heritage. One clear example of this is the falling out of favor of the generation of Taiwan writers who were born in China and went to Taiwan in the late 1940s. Taiwan is the locale that preserved authentic Chinese culture in contrast to socialist China’s denunciation of Chinese culture during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76). some may even claim that contemporary Taiwan culture is more Japanized and Americanized than otherwise.imaginary. and that theirs is a local culture with no necessary relationship to contemporary Chinese culture from China. With the Sinophone. As a consequence of Guomindang policy. A comparative perspective would help us understand why this confusion over Chinese culture in China and Sinophone culture outside China is rather unique to Taiwan. the terminological shift from calling oneself a “Chinese” person to a “Taiwanese” person has basically required a political revolution—the overthrow of the Guomindang regime—albeit through democratic means. not Chinese culture in and of itself. In this sense. This is the consequence of conflating “Chinese culture” (Zhongguo wenhua) with “Sino-culture” (zhonghua wenhua) or “Sinophone culture” (huayu wenhua). But because “Taiwanese culture” is opposed to “Chinese culture. Guomindang-ruled Taiwan’s claim to authentic Chineseness was not unlike ChosQn Korea’s self-nomination as a “small China” (sojunghwa). against the Manchu-ruled Qing China. The shift from “Chinese culture” (culture of China) to “Taiwanese culture” is then largely accomplished. for instance. but then this a‹nity is not the determining factor of Taiwan’s culture. on the contrary. Other diasporic Han communities and societies in Southeast Asia or North America have long historicized and theorized their “Chineseness” in terms of their diaspora and immigration. is largely defined against Chinese culture as American] 122 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . There is no need to deny Taiwan’s cultural a‹nity to China. and reinvention of Chinese culture that is of importance. the last bastion of Chinese civilization. because it inherited and protected the classical qualities of that culture overthrown by communism in China.” there is a tendency to excise indiscriminatingly what is “Chinese” from all aspects of Taiwan culture. revision. Guomindang’s self-presentation to the world was therefore in the mode of “competitive authenticity”: Taiwan’s “Chinese” culture is more authentic than China’s Chinese culture.

To bid “farewell to China” has proved to be more di‹cult than anticipated. As Asian American Studies tended to exclude Sinitic-language materials—a prominent example is the refusal to consider literature written in Hanyu about the immigrant experience into the Chinese American literary canon—the Sinophone becomes a necessary and useful category in the U. cultural. In sum.3 Taiwan’s impossible ambiguity makes it the inescapable condition of being.born Chinese Americans rebel against their immigrant parents’ culture: generational diªerence is commonly transferred into cultural and linguistic diªerence. In Taiwan. which requires flexible subjects to conform and to lead. even though it was clear from the beginning that this was an impossibility. If for late capitalism. not on Asia. hence the title of this chapter. not on various languages from Asia. ambiguity surrounds Taiwan’s economic. even after extensive and sustained analysis and theorization of Taiwan’s cultural diªerence from China throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Flexibility here is not so much a choice but a necessity: what must a Taiwan capitalist do in terms of cultural and political allegiance when economic survival depends on China? If amThe Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 123 [ . the community becomes Asian American. While flexibility for core capitalist countries earns them unprecedented profits. as suggested above. an unnatural consequence of the Guomindang ideology that Taiwan alone represented authentic Chinese culture. on the English language. flexibility is the chief mode of production and reproduction. flexibility for a semiperipheral but not so insignificant economic entity such as Taiwan is a means of maintaining the limited degree of stability for economic. The main agenda of the Asian American movement and the academic studies it spawned lies in the claim of Asian Americans on the American nation. and political survival. context. the confusion over distinctions between Sino-culture or Sinophone culture and Chinese culture is. This is a textbook example of how ideology can be false consciousness bordering on hallucination.S. The word Chinese in the term Chinese American is theoretically a superfluous adjective that describes but does not determine the core noun of the term: American. and political relations with China to the extent that the notion of “Taiwan identity” as such must be flexible. The legacy informs the fourth kind of paradox. cultural. It is the first-generation immigrants who speak diªerent Sinitic languages that constitute the Sinophone community—when the language changes into English. which leaves the Taiwanese feeling ambiguous about Chinese culture and Chineseness.

and economic rapprochements with China in the 1990s rendered in the visual medium. Nostalgia was wedded to the professed protection of traditional culture and expectation for political unification. until the mid-1980s. political. as it is represented in Taiwan’s cultural discourses at large and television travel programs in particular. simultaneously the land of the utopian past. the “continent” (dalu) has had various meanings in the social and cultural imaginary of Taiwan. safety? How many types of ambiguity. can the Taiwanese tolerate or invent. they mark an important moment in the genealogy of Taiwan’s relationship with China and Chineseness. the “mainland “ in o‹cial discourse and the popular media closely dictated by that discourse had been. or the “mainland” (dalu) for short. it was the object of longing and it also promised the hope of return. to be “restored/ recovered”—guangfu—from the hands of the communists. How does one find clarity when ambiguity is the value of the day.biguity and flexibility are the best guarantee for security and prosperity. I oªer a selective genealogy of the trope of “mainland China” (Chung-kuo ta-lu/Zhongguo dalu). when these programs were aired in major television stations and traveling to China was beginning to gain wide popularity.” the meaning and value of ambiguity and flexibility are contrary to their usual meanings and are extremely context-specific. up until the early 1990s. for the time being. These programs register the initial cultural. and nostalgia. Mobilized for the Guomindang’s political. where we see how visuality functions as the ground for the negotiation of identities. Most importantly. to ironically echo New Critic William Empson quoted at the beginning of this chapter. “The Three Principles of the People will save China!” (sanmin zhuyi zheng jiu Zhongguo). without continuously falling deeper and deeper into either identity crises or cultural chaos? In this chapter. The main setting for the travel programs is the 1990s. Hence. barring succumbing to Chinese demands of “unification. both of which helped consolidate Guomindang’s rule on Taiwan. ideological and cultural self-legitimation and the management of people on Taiwan. childhood. A SHORT HISTORY OF THE “MAINLAND” Since 1949 the “mainland. when ambiguity guarantees. children were inculcated with such political rhetoric as “Counterattack the mainland!” ( fangong dalu). As the land of the future. from elementary school on. and “Save our mainland compatriots from the deepest water ] 124 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity .” or more literally.

Chinese culture and tradition as propagated by the Guomindang was repudiated as “Chinese cultural imperialism” and “central plain centrism” that seeks to marginalize and dominate the Taiwanese people. and the need to define this identity. the popular call for the Guomindang to recognize its violence against and violation of people on Taiwan.4 Those who questioned—such as Taiwan communists during the white terror era of the 1950s and 1960s—were summarily imprisoned or killed. Such changes reflected various parallel developments: the increased personal and commercial ties between Taiwan and China.and hottest fire!” (zheng jiu dalu tongbao yu shuishen huore zhizhong ). These various developments allowed for a more personal and concrete. “Taiwanese cultural independence” (wenhua de taidu lun). which paved way for the possibility of the public expression of plural cultures and ideologies. China was denied the role of cultural source and leader for Taiwan. 1947. relationship with China.5 Such counterdomination discourse grounded itself in the ideology of “Taiwanese cultural autonomy” (Taiwan wenhua de zizhuxing ). the trope of the “mainland “ underwent radical transformations. and the lifting of martial law in 1987. Such an opening in relations with China also posed new questions concerning self-identity. In the new discourse of Taiwanese cultural nativism. and the Guomindang’s willingness to compensate the victims of the massacre. this was largely mimicked by the Taiwanese people without much questioning. especially after the o‹cial lifting of the ban on visiting China in 1987. and through ideological inculcation. or Taiwan as an “autonomous cultural system” (zizhu wenhua tixi) as articulated by numerous leading intellectuals whose allegiance cuts across the traditional place-of-origin The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 125 [ . the other propagated by Taiwan nativist cultural workers who envisioned cultural independence from China in what may be called a new Taiwanese cultural nativism. which they memorized in order to be politically correct. In the late 1980s and early 1990s. hence encouraging the emergence of two related nativist agendas— one sponsored by the Lee Teng-hui and the DPP government aimed at resisting the political hegemony of China. rather than o‹cially sanctioned and imaginary. The “mainland” had been persistently and carefully guarded as the o‹cially designated object of the Guomindang’s desire. and so forth. specifically in reference to the massacre of February 28. hence the need for a “counterdomination discourse” or “discourse of dissidence” ( fanzhipei lunshu). the formation of a multiparty system heralded by the establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986.

The fact that this had originally been the name of a renowned educator— an elite cultural leader—further exemplified the trenchant power of a popular imagination fixated on the rise and fall of the stock market. which can mean “Money Think Bright” if translated literally. as it became increasingly entangled in the commercialization of culture and commodification of cultural products. had been coined to mean “to have money is to be bright” (youqian jiuliang ). as did many others: “We need to firmly clarify the territorial diªerence between China and Taiwan. a young second-generation mainlander (waisheng’ren) cultural critic proclaimed. inclusive of all ethnicities and places of origin. to which the new discourse of Taiwanese cultural nativism had significantly contributed. but like American culture. albeit through a kind of mediated dark humor. Chinese culture is no longer the mother culture of Taiwanese culture.(sheng ji) and ethnicity (zhongzu) lines of cultural and political diªerence. climatic.6 In this scheme of things. and to delineate the boundaries of Taiwaneseness vis-à-vis China. is an ‘Other’s Culture. “Taiwanese culture” referred to the “native culture” (bentu wenhua) of Taiwan. . which was to be clearly delineated from China and Chinese culture.8 The other tangible threat to this new Taiwanese cultural nativism was the Guomindang’s incorporation and neutralization of its political opposition as it also sought to “nativize” (bentuhua) itself as a means of self-justification throughout ] 126 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . its boundaries set by the geocultural space of Taiwan. The fad of cultural criticism in Taiwan in the 1990s. to reenvision Taiwanese culture based on its specific geographical. This was evidenced by a flourish of books appearing in special series such as the New Taiwan Series. while other publishers such as the Independent Evening News (Zili wanbao) and popular publishers such as Crown (Huangguan) all put out prolific publications on the “new” subject of Taiwan. . and other conditions. territorial. illustrating the penetration of commercialization in Taiwan’s urban society. and the Taiwan Citizen Series in the 1990s. . The flourish of discourse on Taiwanese cultural nativism had contradictory consequences. Avant Garde Press (Qianwei). The popular circulation of diplomat Ch’ien Fu’s father’s name. These were only the series published by one especially committed publisher. the Taiwan Literature and History Series. Ch’ien Ssu-liang. Hence. however. was undeniably also fanned by the packaging of books and magazines with provocative titles and flashy covers.’”7 Eªorts had been made to rewrite Taiwanese history against the Guomindang’s willful neglect and omission.

and raw cultural material for economic gain. the Guomindang proclaimed itself a “native regime” in an eªort to blur the boundaries between the native and the nonnative and thus to authenticate itself. The construction of “mainland China” in Taiwan’s media hence at once pointed to an impulse to commodify China in a mode similar to the operation of a transnational corporation. while simultaneously charting the conThe Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 127 [ . The Guomindang’s nativization rhetoric was perceptively criticized by cultural nativists thusly: according to Li Chien-hung. put into use in 1996. under the auspices of new diplomatic policies variously termed “flexible diplomacy” (tanxing waijiao) and “pragmatic diplomacy” (wushi waijiao). Taiwan TV (taishi) by the spectral entity called the provincial government. although these parameters often revealed themselves to be porous. and CTV (huashi) by the Ministries of Defense and Education—defined the programming parameters. partly a desire to “nativize” itself under the presidency of native Taiwanese Lee Teng-hui. whether cultural or political.the 1980s to the mid-1990s. while the underlying agenda was to incorporate “Taiwan nativism” (Taiwan bentu) into “China nativism” (Zhongguo bentu). further showed Guomindang gradually shifting away from the political hegemony of China in the international scene at the time. and partly a subtle gesture repudiating the Beijing government’s military threat against any assertions of Taiwanese independence. or ironically termed “vacation diplomacy” (dujia waijiao). The fact that the three television stations on Taiwan were more or less under the direct jurisdiction of the government at the time—China TV (zhongshi) was owned and funded by the Guomindang. and the abolition of Sun Yetsan’s Three Principles of the People as a subject in the college entrance examination beginning in 1995. This was partly the Guomindang’s response to popular demand. and the Guomindang government’s highly publicized diplomatic eªorts to rejoin the United Nations as a nation. if not a nation-state. the Guomindang’s nativization campaign incorporated much of its agenda in a slightly diªerent form. incorporating China’s primitiveness. Lee’s taunting of the mainland government as “bandits” (tufei) during his 1994 whirlwind multinational diplomatic tour. Though repudiating Taiwanese cultural nativism as divisive and impractical.9 Examples also included the Guomindang’s o‹cial sanctioning of a new history textbook for schoolchildren called The History of Taiwan (Taiwanshi). The representation of mainland China in Taiwan’s media in the 1990s in such a complicated context was unavoidably a site of various projections aªected by the twin dictates of politics and economics. nativeness.

vergence of diverse cultural and political discourses. and by over a decade of cultural nativization drives. and finally “invade and conquer” (qianggong ). Therefore. which reached its height in the mid1990s. however. most any discussion of cultural forms in Taiwan had to be situated within a cultural economy that ineluctably negotiated with the gradually shifting political parameters of cultural expression set up by the Guomindang. Taiwan was also o‹cially granted the “postmodern” qualification by the most prominent of all American Marxist ] 128 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . economic drives have always undergirded much of Taiwan’s interest in China. Even though Guomindang rule was gradually becoming nativized under Lee Teng-hui. Taiwan began to look away from China as the cultural and geographical home and political other. such negotiations can be said to be most pronounced. This was. Particularly when cultural expressions concerned China. albeit short-lived. Often a closer examination of what might easily be regarded as political or ideological in a cultural and visual work exposes a deep investment in a profit-oriented market economy. To begin. Whether these negotiations were positive (incorporative) or negative (resistant) vis-à-vis the Guomindang government. as in the television travelogues on China. Throughout the 1980s. its political and ideological base remained solid during this time. The interweaving tra‹c between commercial and political priorities became especially heavy in the representation of “mainland China” in Taiwan’s media. This confidence was buttressed by Taiwan’s economic miracle. they were further embroiled within what can be called the postmodern.10 The inflated. and rather saw it as a source for mass consumption and economic opportunities—where Taiwanese businesses could “land” (denglu). of course. there was also quite a bit of confidence. To be sure. as the Taiwanese by this time found the promise of inexpensive Chinese labor and the possibility of its enormous market to be immense. late capitalist condition of a cultural economy thoroughly saturated by commodification. “expand the market” (guangtuo dalu shichang ). there had been a sustained debate on Taiwan consciousness or Taiwan complex (Taiwan yishi or Taiwan jie) in opposition to China consciousness or China complex (Zhongguo yishi or Zhongguo jie).12 In 1987. a temporary confidence that was soon to be replaced by anxiety and ambiguity. exaggerated military metaphors used by local magazines and newspapers echoed the Guomindang rhetoric of “counterattack the mainland” with an ironic twist.11 The bombastic rhetoric also reflected the confidence and bullishness resulting from a perception of Taiwan’s economic superiority in the early 1990s.

and as a catalog of goods. Jameson claimed that Taiwan’s urban culture exhibits quintessential postmodern characteristics. In his frequently cited essay on Taiwan cinema. after his visit there. and ultimately. it simultaneously constructed a unique identity for Taiwan as the inheritor and preserver of traditional Chinese culture. the market. desires which could be said to have simultaneously reinforced a kind of commodity fetishism and foregrounded a kind of cultural complex. negotiated with various agents including Guomindang-instituted ideology.14 Television travel programs on China. Taiwan in 1987 was declared an “international urban society of late capitalism. The urge for commodification in Taiwan’s cultural scene had the eªect of neutralizing even political agendas into forms of entertainment and oªered the space of media as a playground of multiple. Rivers and Mountains. the mainland government. Ten Thousand Li of Love ( Jiangshan wanli The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 129 [ . “ETERNAL CHINA” IN THE 1990S The neutralization of ideological or political content by turning “mainland China” into a topic or source of entertainment was abundantly illustrated in the three major travel programs during this period—Searching for the Strange on the Mainland (dalu xunqi). while skillfully repudiating Taiwanese cultural nativism’s claim that Taiwanese culture is diªerent from Chinese culture. and its curiosity toward prospects in China was buoyed by economic confidence.13 Taiwan’s declaration of postmodernity proved that it was no longer a Third World country. Fredric Jameson.” and thus a site that manifested how the economic had thoroughly penetrated all spheres of culture. Media uses of the mainland China trope in the 1990s revealed a strong postmodern impulse in its persistent commodification of “mainland China” as image. censored by the Guomindang to varying degrees. Guomindang ideology cleverly resisted mainland China’s claim to cultural and political hegemony through a construction of a vague nativist stance. In the case of the more exclusively government-funded program Searching for the Strange on the Mainland (Dalu xunqi). as culture. while carefully diªerentiating that identity from the one advocated by Taiwanese cultural nativists. and of “Chineseness” as marketable product. In other words. Taiwan’s nativist contingency. in specific reference to Edward Yang’s film The Terrorizer (Kongbu fenzi).theorists of postmodernism and postmodernity. though often contradictory.

If China as a territory was claimed fragment by fragment through turning it into a collection of tourist spots. cultural. that is. or for that matter. which were fragment by fragment reconstructed and reclaimed. These programs took their viewers on episodic and fragmentary tours through the territory of China with varying narratives superimposed on the images of land. so that touring China became touring not communist China. the marks of the Chinese socioeconomic system. cloud. and moon. ] 130 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . consume. essential “China” that had somehow escaped political and ideological contamination by the Chinese Communist Party. customs. were often removed. that all three program titles successfully avoid mentioning China by its proper name as a nationstate. signs that revealed China to be in the possession of the communists were skillfully eªaced. Notice. and history. a storehouse of Chinese culture. and Moon (Baqianli lu yun he yue). but a culture that had not changed much since the communist takeover. and Eight Thousand Li of Roads. but the pristine. and of course.16 China here was not so much a nationstate. like a catalog of goods.qing ).” Touring China was then symbolically laying claim on the territory of China. the traces of socialist economy in China at the time still patently visible. The scenes and episodes were primarily of two large categories—ethnic minority cultures and customs. China as an encyclopedia. albeit in fragmentary form.” “roads. In other words. a collection of tourist spots. while the encyclopedic knowledge was in turn transformed into seemingly manageable data. instead referring to China in naturalistic terms as the “mainland/continent. and the grand historical legacy of classical Chinese culture from pre-1949 China. people. via a correspondence between the present China (constructed as a continuation of traditional. geographical China) and China in the imagination of the Taiwan populace as the Guomindang had constructed it. exhibiting what Jameson referred to as “a kind of representational laundering of ideologically marked contents” in his discussion of Chinese film.” and “rivers and mountains. “China” as such became a constellation or encyclopedia of cultural fragments.15 In these programs as well. store. One striking similarity in these shows was a controlled absence of signs of the contemporary Chinese political and ideological scene in most of the episodes. was all the easier to manage. Cloud. since time immemorial. The process of authenticating Taiwan’s claim on China involved displacing the Chinese Communist Party as a nonexistence (or as a problem presence in rare references to it) while foregrounding the classical qualities of Chinese landscape and customs. for instance.

the show consistently made a highly selective entry into China. as well as exotic customs. to those parts full of exotic and classical beauty. as the qi in lieqi (exoticism). The construction of such a timeless. Throughout this series. The four-part special series entitled Journey West a Thousand li (qianli xiyou) was a good case in point. The qi (strange) in xunqi (searching for the strange) also most commonly means the exotic.] 16 Collage of images from Searching for the Strange on the Mainland on a video CD version of the program. refer to the print version of this title. a famous journalist. Narrated by Hsiung Lü-yang. Literally. while xunqi means searching for the exotic—the two share an intimate semantic similarity. eternal China in most episodes of Searching for the Strange on the Mainland was made possible by a series of strategies employed by the narrative voice and the camera lens. lieqi means hunting for the exotic. It was suggested that these minority villages had remained unchanged for The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 131 [ .[To view this image. whose soft and gentle feminine voice elegantly enunciated the cadences of the classical poetic expressions used throughout the narration. the roads and towns along the Silk Road were marked on the map of China in their ancient names before contemporary names were given.

and settle and live in China. asking questions of the “natives” dressed in traditional ethnic attire).” living “their lives in a traditional manner. which was soon shown to be unstable. as they were “content with following their ancestors’ peaceful lifestyles” and uninterested in “modern civilization” outside their village. This form of nostalgia had been the psychological justification for the Guomindang’s “recovering the mainland” ideology earlier.“several hundred years. run businesses and factories in China. and herbal medicines—items in a catalog of goods catering specifically to the traveler’s highly selective interests and needs. Spotlighted instead were: food items. As more Taiwanese travel to China. which both primitivized and exoticized China as an attractive tourist spot. nothing had really changed. The depiction of parts of China as predeveloped. modernization trajectory of modernity versus primitivism through the operation of a conventional exoticist nostalgia. China had resisted communist change and was still the way it had always been. handicrafts. timeless. it was undeniably one of the ways to foreground the modernity of the traveler-cum-anthropologist with a camera (the traveler often appeared in Western-style clothes carrying Western-style equipment. it is contemporary China that they have to reckon with. Second. as part of historical authentication.” the people and landscape locked in an ancient time and space. In a diªerent episode. such timelessness replicated the Guomindang version of Chinese history—that between 1949 and the present. the Yi minority people in Sichuan were similarly depicted as resistant to change. whose manifestations of technological modernity were strategically concealed. The Guomindang’s residual nostalgia toward China as embodying its vision of Chinese culture and history was here confirmed in one episode after the next.” in which the anthropologist’s object was placed in another time and was denied coevalness. and pastoral have multiple implications. First. Such a denial of coevality through a procedure that concealed rather than revealed contemporary China was an improbable projection of Taiwanese agency. Within this imagination. specifically the prosperous coastal cities such as Shanghai and Xiamen. By placing China in the linear.17 The same allochronic discourse applies to the highly selective depiction of urban China. China’s development toward modernity would threaten Taiwan’s sense ] 132 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . The construction of China as living in a diªerent time from that of Taiwan was a typical practice of othering that Johannes Fabian famously called an “allochronic discourse. these Taiwan travel programs have contributed to the construction of a discourse in Taiwan that saw Chinese modernity as a threat.

not just the “ethnic” or rural China along the Silk Road or remote areas. When Taiwan must confront. A huge illuminated map of China hung on the wall. people. music. Anchored by two famous talk-show hosts. But in the context of the quiz show. since that superiority was premised on a primitivized China. as the questions were often esoteric. the point was rather to allow the participants to surmise the answers in a humorous way. allusions. each episode of the show invited two groups of entertainers and cultural figures to compete in a quiz show format. When these travel programs were aired in the early 1990s. as they could. architectural ornamental pillars and two score boards in the design of a traditional Chinese tiled roof.of technological and capitalist superiority. architecture. which was flanked by two classical. humor. For China is not so much a latecomer to modernity. After category selections were made. food. such as history. What was remarkable about this quiz show was that the participants were not chosen for their knowledge about China but for their “star” qualities. Their knowledge of China was soon revealed to be quite lacking. The participants were then asked to answer the questions as best. “China” was divided into categories of knowledge. but has always already been part of global modernity. a cultural quiz program called Rivers and Mountains. The limit of this China primitivism is precisely the closing-oª of alternative imaginations in Taiwan’s dealing with China other than the one on the modernization-based trajectory. the Taiwanese vision of itself as more modern was bound to be made vulnerable and ultimately debunked. whether or not the participants knew the correct answers did not matter. Taiwan history as such had been displaced by an ideological education that demanded the Taiwanese ignore Taiwan and project all national longings onto China. as modernization theory would have it. customs. but a China where socialist-cum-capitalist modernization has been happening in great earnest and with great success. In the show. video clippings pertaining to those categories were shown with questions given at the end. or as humorously. Often they revealed The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 133 [ . and so on. and the show’s quiz format uncomfortably referred back to all the textbook knowledge about China that the Guomindang government required of school-age children. geography. Knowledge of Chinese history and culture had been very valuable—it had allowed the students to get good grades on major tests such as the college entrance examination. Since the Taiwanese lived on Taiwan but studied Chinese history as its “national” history. Ten Thousand Li of Love also became very popular.

but the fragmentary knowledge about China was not used to claim China or to sell cultural nostalgia but to imply. Zhenyu Chuanbo.] 17 The set for Rivers and Mountains. that it was okay not to know China.[To view this image. All in all. By dramatizing the examination of one’s ] 134 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . refer to the print version of this title. It seemed as if the pleasure here was paradoxically located in the participants’ inability to answer the questions. they enhanced the farcical thrust of the show. themselves to be ignorant about China in general. photograph provided by the program production company. the show’s humor displaced the erstwhile sanctity of knowledge about China and instead suggested that being uninformed about China was not a shameful thing in and of itself. but because they oªered funny answers. but the debunking itself also showed a kind of cultural schizophrenia at work. The dance here was between Guomindang’s imposition of China knowledge and ironic debunking of it. Ten Thousand Li of Love. China here again was an encyclopedia. The fact that it takes a quiz show to imply ignorance as a form of agency was a double-edged sword. indirectly.

The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 135 [ . and many have become a new kind of Taiwan immigrant in China. What is most ironic about the early twenty-first century state of things for Taiwan politically and economically is that “identity” as a form of particularity is becoming more and more a luxury. the Taiwanese in Shanghai have become more and more just like other locals. leading to the creation of various elementary and secondary schools specifically designed for the children of these businessmen. as Taiwan had yet to claim its distinct identity from China vigorously in the early 1990s. a masochistic recalling of that imposition was enacted. When Yung-ho Soy Café (Yung-ho doujiang )—a “Taiwanese” specialty café that used to be available only in Taiwan—cropped up in major shopping areas along the Huaihai Road in Shanghai. Taiwan’s everyday culture had definitely arrived and become integrated with local life. Other Taiwanese businessmen prefer that their children attend local Shanghai schools to become more fully integrated in the local society. which means that Taiwan businesses are in China for the long term. THE “INTIMATE ENEMY” IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY As we enter the twenty-first century. Now that they have entered the Chinese market maybe for good. The chief problem posed earlier to the Taiwanese families—Taiwan businessmen having mistresses in China (see chapter 3)—was premised on the short-term sojourning mentality of those businessmen. running their businesses and living their daily lives. The laughter of the participants in the show and the audience was filled with ambivalence and uneasiness. this examination was a repetition of the scene of traumatic ideological imposition. From being “overseas compatriots” who had money to spend and invest but wished to take the earnings back to Taiwan to support their families there. Taiwan businesses have changed over the years from utilizing Chinese labor for Western market to full engagement with the Chinese market itself.knowledge of China. appropriately punctuated by nervous laughter and a sense of release. especially in Shanghai. they have either moved their entire families to China or have married local women. though ironically responded to. the scale of confidence for Taiwan vis-à-vis China has tipped significantly over to the other side. As mentioned above. just as the Taiwanese had sought to localize themselves by absorbing local culture. These television programs served as a witness to the gradual moving away from Guomindang ideology of China-as-homeland to Taiwan-as-homeland.

oªering information about business successes and failures in China. various stories of interaction with the Chinese. this would have to be a new Taiwanese multiethnic and multicultural nativism. This is due both to the Chinese threat (the fear that Taiwan nativism will lead to Taiwan independence. however. China is increasingly seen as the place where one can revitalize one’s business that has been suªering from years of recession as well as market saturation in Taiwan. which has led to a mushrooming of media representations of Taiwan immigrants in China. What defines Taiwan’s ] 136 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity . restaurants. business opportunities. magazines about China published in Hong Kong and elsewhere. as intellectuals and politicians alike have seemed to be exhausted by contentious identity politics. Intimacy is a given due to economic necessities. television shows. As much as the Taiwan government wishes to curtail the outflow of capital and business know-how to China. there has not been a powerful articulation of this new multiethnic nativism. On the other hand. where an almost direct transplantation of Taiwan-style stores. but this intimacy is conditioned by the Chinese government’s constant threat of military invasion of Taiwan. Furthermore. popular music. direct satellite reception of China’s major television stations (banned later on). the popularization of Chinese movie stars and singers—all these contribute to the increasing awareness among the Taiwanese that China has indeed become an “intimate enemy” about whom one feels many ambivalent feelings. which in turn will cause China to invade Taiwan) and to its exclusivist character (Taiwan nativism was partly fired by its ressentiment regarding past injustices committed by the Guomindang and at times exhibited what some have called “Taiwanese nativist chauvinism”). So far. and popular novels is noticeable. travelogues (large bookstores have up to an entire shelf of travel books on China).Economic opportunities opened up by China’s developing economy have resulted in increasing economic and cultural integration of the Taiwanese business community in China with the locals. which exacerbated identity politics within Taiwan among diªerent ethnic and identity groups. Business books. fashions. On the one hand. and cultural similarities. this has caused the “Taiwanization” of China’s urban popular and consumer culture. the recession-torn Taiwan businesses have entered the Chinese market in ever greater earnest. If a new form of nativism is politically necessary for Taiwan in terms of its relationship with China. discourses of Taiwan nativism constructed so fervently in the 1980s and 1990s may also be increasingly losing ground within Taiwan as the twenty-first century rolls on.

and one cannot but notice a system of mediation with gradations of cultural power. Nandy’s main contention is that colonialism has transformed the category of “the West” from a geographical category to a psychological category for the natives to the extent that “the West” is “everywhere. it has to be more global and more integrated into the global economy. Taiwan’s situation is not very diªerent from Ashis Nandy’s characterization of the colonial situation in India in his book The Intimate Enemy. One is reminded of the role Japanese culture played in early twentieth-century colonial Taiwan. scripted resistances to coloThe Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 137 [ . While the Taiwanese may want to see this condition of enmity and intimacy as a form of ambiguity which they can deploy for as long as they wish. but there is no such thing as an unchanging status quo. cultural. and cultural influence over all of Asia and beyond is predicted to become more and more profound.”18 Hence. China will also catch up in the globalization game. within the West and outside. The paradox here is that China is a rising economic power. But many claim that Shanghai will replace Hong Kong and Tokyo as the economic mecca of all of Asia. although at the moment Taiwan businesses and popular culture seem to be playing the role of mediators. and China’s future economic. and economic imaginaries of Taiwan as Taiwan confronts China’s rising power. Ambiguity appears to help prolong the status quo for Taiwan. perhaps with greater speed than Taiwan.” “democratic. however many degrees and types of ambiguity one tries to sustain. and they exemplify a perceived need that for Taiwan to maintain any advantage over China. STRUGGLES OF THE SINOPHONE In the intimate relationship with China. how it still mediates Western culture for Taiwan besides exporting its own cultural products. in structures and in minds. political. The future development in the twenty-first century is inevitably further clarification of the status of the intimate enemy in the social. Many Taiwanese wish to repudiate this intimacy with China. but also use it for economic gain.” These qualifiers are not geoculturally specific. and economic particularity is thus left ambiguous. perhaps with the qualifiers that it is more “modern. and Taiwan is no match for its size and vitality. political.cultural. political.” and “developed. Taiwan’s intimate enemy has the potential to be either a good or a bad bedfellow. it is this constructed intimacy that provides legitimation for the Chinese government’s harsh claim on Taiwan.

but the strange applicability of Nandy’s description to Taiwan indicates. it is India. The Sinophone aspects of Taiwan culture cannot be extricated from the totality of culture as such in Taiwan.” their reactive logic caught within a Western-centric colonial dynamic. and the pressure to be the “obverse of the West” can bind the colonized “even more irrevocably to the West. by implication. the uniqueness of Indian culture lies in its ability to “live with cultural ambiguities. the postcolonial condition of today’s Taiwan. is being unwittingly suppressed. The main diªerence is that while the British no longer pose any military threat to India.”20 As an island culture with multiple colonial experiences from the Europeans. the Chinese. especially the Dutch and the Japanese.” which are used to “build psychological and even metaphysical defenses against cultural invasions. Indian culture as such is already hybrid with Western elements. hence rejection of the latter is rejection of part of Indian culture. “Taiwan is not non-Japan. The Indians may transfer the psychological category that is the West into self-empowering cultural capital in their capacity to live with cultural ambiguities. As much as it can be posited that “China” is a psychological category for the Taiwanese. If “Chinese” culture constitutes the main site of anxiety for the Taiwanese today. one may also say.” or equally.” In view of the global reach of Western culture and Taiwan’s place within it. To paraphrase Nandy’s statement that “India is not non-West. the cultural hybridity resultant from the other colonial pasts. as some older-generation Taiwanese continue to speak Japanese and contemporary urban culture is significantly influenced by what is going on in Tokyo. Taiwan culture as such is the site of a multiple colonial dynamic similar to the one we see in Nandy’s colonial and postcolonial India. China continues to exert its right to use military means against Taiwan.”21 we may say that “Taiwan is not non-China.”19 Nandy’s solution is multipronged: Indians can be free from having to be the antithesis or a counterplayer to the West. it is Taiwan. it is Taiwan. “Taiwan is not non-West. it is Taiwan. and neither can Japanophone aspects. it is more di‹cult for the Taiwanese to ] 138 [ The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity .nialism often became “forms of homage to the victors.” Nandy’s concerns about Indian culture after British colonialism emerge from a very diªerent context than that for Taiwan’s relationship with China. This is because colonialism was a shared culture for both the colonizer and the colonized. whose colonization occurred only half a century ago and whose influence continues to be significant. and the Japanese. so must at least “Japan” the ex-colonizer be such a category.

Hence.transfer “China” into cultural capital. Taiwan’s Sinophone culture is the bearer of this ambiguity and the ground upon which such ambiguity is played out. the incredible heaviness of ambiguity—the existential necessity of ambiguity which simultaneously undermines Taiwan’s bid for internationally recognized sovereignty. appear to ensure survival and security in the foreseeable future. flimsily. however. The Taiwanese must also live with political ambiguities every day. because these ambiguities are what. The Incredible Heaviness of Ambiguity ] 139 [ .

and obsession over 1997 supposedly lost its target from that moment on. was now a fait accompli. musical bells and postmodern cacophony. and Chinese immigrant composer Tan Dun’s symphony had drenched the Hong Kongers with a combination of the Chinese imperial(ist) grandeur of fifth-century b. would reputedly “write words on the sky. The rain had been pouring heavily. “Power of Cinema” (1926) 5 After National Allegory After the pomp and spectacle of the turnover ceremony on July 1. All the anxiety. that we are at the tag-end of civilization. 1997. the People’s Liberation Army had marched in.People say that the savage no longer exists in us. But these philosophers have presumably forgotten the movies. a strange calmness settled on Hong Kong. the fireworks that. according to an exBritish Hong Kong soldier in Fruit Chan’s film The Longest Summer. Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule. —Virginia Woolf. 1997. which to some is transference from one colonial power to another. fear.c. Whatever the worries—through the post– ] 140 [ .” Theories that posit that spectacle is a primary means of authenticating power appear to have found their textbook examples in the events of July 1. And then there had been the inevitable fireworks. and that it is too late to be ambitious. neurosis. that everything has been said already.

this parting glance replicated the psychological structure of nostalgia as a longing without an object. who is more pragmatic than Hong Kongers?).3 It was nostalgia for the present that would be irretrievably lost. film. it was largely business as usual. hence the nostalgic’s need to retain souvenirs of history in such forms as historiography. The heyday of “Hong Kong Cultural Studies” (Xianggang wenhua yanjiu).1 In Hong Kong–born Pakistani scholar Ackbar Abbas’s lyrical yet ironic rendering. archaeology. the loss of this nostalgia suggests the inevitability of a diªerent temporal consciousness in the post-97 cultural imaginary. this was the Hong Kong culture of “dis-appearance” that seemed to appear at the moment of its impending disappearance. It appears that since 1997 most people in Hong Kong have been more obsessed with the Asian financial crisis and the rise and fall of the dot. no overt rebellion by the Hong Kongers. as far as the stereotype goes. or “Hongkongology” (Xianggang xue)—when Hong Kong scholars. whereby the most mundane of everyday practices becomes immediately imbued with historical and symbolic meaning. people marvel at how 1997 was so very anticlimactic: there was no bloodshed.Tiananmen Massacre “escape from China” syndrome of immigration frenzy to the “backflow” (huiliu) of many of these immigrants to Hong Kong—now they should be put to rest. linear time of the Chinese rule that has already arrived and will continue indefinitely into the future. not in the sense that Hong Kong stayed the same since the turnover.2 If we may invoke Susan Stewart again. artists. and no overt repression exercised by the Chinese government. would have to be replaced with a diªerent temporal logic as the present will no longer be the site of nostalgia. Fetishism of the present. and critics had taken a parting glance at their local culture with a profound sense of mission and equally intense sense of loss over their “love at last sight” of Hong Kong in the years leading up to 1997—now seemed to have lost both its fervor and its reason for being. What then? What after both the fever for Hong Kong cultural studies and the spectacle of the turnover ceremony? What comes after nostalgia? How do we theorize the after? If the particular structure of nostalgia in the pre-1997 Hong Kong cultural imaginary can be tentatively called nostalgia for the colonial present amid fear of the impending future. cultural criticism. This new time will have to contend with the time of the nostalgic. rather.4 Indeed. which can be best described as the temporality of the future-past and the predictable. and most notably for Hong Kong. frenzy rather than After National Allegory ] 141 [ . but in the sense that worries were useless or unpragmatic since there was nothing one could do (after all.

eager. Hong Kong cultural studies’ own limited mainstreaming in academia signifies a very diªerent logic of legitimation. if not more. How this economy of colonial nostalgia implicates our own location in the United States has to do with the familiar but troubling issue of national allegory. except when the Chinese government makes obviously regressive moves against Hong Kongers such as the antisubversion law controversy and increased media censorship.with resisting Chinese rule. but it had not been sanctioned by the colonial apparatus until those last years leading up to the end of colonialism. the subtle expectations for narratives akin to national allegories was part and parcel to the project of Hongkongology outside Hong Kong. the colonial government had been just as. with the success of Jackie Chan. and Jet Li in Hollywood in recent years and John Woo’s directorial achievements. Special issues of Hong Kong studies in scholarly journals and books about Hong Kong became prized academic commodities for a while. What then happened to the cultural fever of Hongkongology within the local terrain after 1997? This is a question that we need to expand to the translocal terrain as well. primary frame of reference. Even though Hong Kong was not a nation-state. Hong Kong action film has seemingly become more and more “universal. thus helping to inaugurate a discipline that had earlier been looked on with colonial contempt. Chow Yun-fat. Not that there had been no local consciousness prior to the late colonial moment. tracing a very diªerent economy from the longstanding popular interest in Hong Kong action films.”5 but Hong Kong cultural studies is the site of proliferating particularities.” as it were. as the fever of Hongkongology in pre-1997 Hong Kong was not innocent of “the West. a lastditch eªort to hold on to the anti-China hysteria of the Cold War era and an expression of colonial nostalgia for one of the last remaining Western colonies in the world. hence literary and artistic works with “national” allegorical implications would ] 142 [ After National Allegory . Historical and cultural specificity is demanded of Hong Kong studies. Hongkongology was itself directly and indirectly encouraged by the West eager to locate Hong Kong’s uniqueness against Chineseness. While Hong Kong action films are becoming more and more mainstream in the sense of being assimilated and assimilating. which totalized Hong Kong as the object of cultural studies with 1997 as the primal. If Hong Kong cultural workers were fervent about preserving and documenting Hong Kong’s uniqueness. This explains why there was so much funding available from the British colonial government for Hongkongology in the years leading up to 1997.

sometimes contradictory nostalgic desires? How does this surface function? What does it displace? Allegory. then we need to ask what gets lost in the privileging of allegory. who has the luxury not to do it. where he finds in plentitude what has already disappeared in the West.”6 I see Jameson’s notion of national allegory as a product of nostalgia for that which America has lost but which can be located in what he calls the Third World. with its rich constellation of implications. I say nostalgia on the part of Western academia with a specific reference to Fredric Jameson’s notion of the national allegory that (in)famously posited that “all Third World texts are necessarily.” such as the capacity to link the personal story with the “tale of the tribe” and the “political role of the cultural intellectual. who has the burden to do it. is only one kind of meaning-producing form. of course. The temporal gap between the literal and the allegorical meaning of a text is the field of interpretive labor. the British colonials. Hongkongness as such.better attain visibility. A clever reader can read. and who has the privilege to do it— After National Allegory ] 143 [ . it is the politics of allegorical interpretation—who does it. especially around the politically charged moments of 1997. which dictates that Hong Kong be specific to itself and of itself. It is a form of nostalgia for the self ’s past that identifies the Third World as that embodiment of the past. national allegories. dovetails with Hong Kong cultural workers’ and British colonials’ search for authentic Hongkongness. I would like to suggest. then. . is coproduced by the overlapping nostalgia of multiple agents: the Hong Kongers. In the end. .”7 The loss of such functions and commitments then prompted Jameson to look elsewhere. even though Jameson meant it to be a critique of the First World. and it is but one of the hermeneutical codes that we can take to the reading of texts. In a short response to Aijaz Ahmad’s passionate critique of his national allegory theory. If we posit that allegory is the form that captures the conjuncture of multiple nostalgias over a radically fractured terrain of time and space. any text allegorically. . What about the surface of allegory that allows the layering of multiple. constitutes one discursive context within which we can analyze Hong Kong films from around 1997. and Western academia. the elsewhere being the imaginary Third World. Jameson himself acknowledged his theory as a way to point out “the loss of certain literary functions and intellectual commitments in the contemporary American scene. as long as he or she labors to do so. The familiar requirement of global multiculturalism. who is forced to do it. The conjuncture of these multiple forms of nostalgia.

I hope to illustrate the ambivalent site of the Sinophone in Hong Kong’s relationship to China and Chineseness.000).S. working only with unpaid amateur actors and actresses. Released in 1997. there is but the literal banality of everyday life? What if. what fades or gets elided is precisely the literal levels of meaning. 1997). after national allegory. the postcoloniality never arrives? What comes after nostalgia. Is it possible that at the moment of allegorization.000 (equivalent to about U. In other words. the actual “Hong Kong” disappears? What if. In our privileging of the allegorical meaning over the literal meaning. after peeling oª the glossy surfaces of allegory. it is allegory as an urban vision in search of an imagined community that is not national in political constitution but exhibits characteristics similar to those of a communal imagination like that of the nation. THE ALLEGORICAL TIME AND THE CITY-CUM-NATION Made in Hong Kong (xianggang zhizao.$70. and using castaway fragments of blank film gathered from two diªerent film studios. overlaid by so many nostalgias. On the most obvious level. Although allegory in the film cannot be so readily identified as a national construct—as Hong Kong is not a nation-state with an army of its own or those who are willing to die for it as is required of a national imagined community—the coincidence between personal and collective narratives within the film expresses a longing that approximates the national. the first of Fruit Chan’s Hong Kong trilogy.or the political economy of allegorical interpretation as a form of value-producing labor that the nostalgia of the First World theorist can become legible and be fruitfully critiqued. Made in Hong Kong was shot in the fall of 1996 in di‹cult conditions: with a shoestring budget of HK$500. after an initial construct of post-1997 Hong Kong as a postcoloniality after British colonialism. is an almost straightforward allegorical narrative.8 The big question returns to what is internal to the allegorical form. it is a story about four teenagers who die one after another in 1997 as China’s takeover of Hong Kong looms more than ominously in the background. this independent film garnered twenty-nine film awards domestically and internationally ] 144 [ After National Allegory . and after postcoloniality? In trying to answer these questions through an examination of selective filmic and cultural texts that take 1997 as the main frame of reference.

someone who is deeply rooted in the local. Moon (named thus because he was conceived on the day of the Autumn Moon Festival). Ping.9 Then the camera moves to a scene in which an unknown person splashes red paint onto an apartment wall. when Sylvester. The teenager is Ping. The next scene cuts to a basketball court where we see the chief protagonist. Susan. whether by suicide. from which there is no escape. and Sylvester are the four main characters in the movie. jumping to her death. various scenes of gang violence. youths beAfter National Allegory ] 145 [ . and it was perhaps the most talked-about film in that year of no significance and alarming quietness in the local cultural scene after the pomp of the turnover ceremony. terminal disease. The movie begins with three unrelated scenes. blood oozing from her body and stretching into lines that look like tree roots. Moon’s abandonment by his mother. Susan’s death is the premonition of the death of all three of the other characters. refer to the print version of this title. his retarded sidekick.] 18 Susan atop a building in Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong. This strange rhizomatic design is formed to exalt not the flexible citizen in a fluid late-capitalist world but the exact opposite. Moon. and the movie follows their stories in a disjointed form. The first one is of a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl named Susan standing on a high platform. approaches with bruises and bumps on his face. within one year (including the best picture and best director awards from the Hong Kong Golden Oak Awards). In between is a heart-wrenching love story between Moon and Ping. playing basketball with his friends. or gang violence. who approach their doom one by one. Inside the apartment lives a teenager and her mother. who suªers from terminal liver cancer.[To view this image.

who betrayed Moon and his friend Sylvester. these teenagers are drifting in a dangerous environment in late colonial Hong Kong. and Ping and her mother are left to the abuse of violent debt collectors). . and the reality of abandonment and destruction. Let me show you [what it means]!” as fire explodes from his gun. Moon attempts to kill his father for the abandonment and betrayal of the family but is shocked to inaction when he witnesses a young schoolboy. By the end of the day. in one of which. Sylvester. Most adults are gutless and irresponsible. and also the adults’.ing betrayed by the society controlled by adults. Moon exposes Wing’s false promises: “I remember you said that the world is now ruled by the youth. We have placed all our hopes on you. Ping. Who is the new father who will assume the role now again vacated? The movie ends with this voiceover from the People’s radio broadcast as the camera pans out to a distant view of Hong Kong: This is your world. Moon shoots instead his surrogate father figure. Abandoned by their fathers. . like a doppelganger.10 The film exposes the gap between the rhetoric of fatherly protection of the youth by the British. and Susan . a classic example of the threat of China to Hong Kong as a profound penetration into the most private space of Hong Kong. They are useless. What we have quoted was a speech given by Chairman Mao to the leaders of the youth. the family. not just myself. In the end. Moon’s father earlier abandoned the family for a mainland mistress. and by the Chinese state represented by the radio broadcast.” This Hong Kong-as-teenager and colonial-powers-as-father symbolism is a ] 146 [ After National Allegory . Sometimes I really want to pluck out their hearts and see what color they are. it is still yours. as I have discussed in chapter 3. cutting oª his father’s arm with a butcher’s knife in a public toilet. Let’s repeat and study the message in putonghua. Whenever things turn wrong. they will either hide or run away. while the retarded Sylvester’s parentage is unknown. You are at the peak of your power like the morning sun. the kid who knifed his father in the public toilet. You are listening to People’s Radio in Hong Kong. by the underworld gangsters who shuttle between China and Hong Kong. Both Ping and Moon are fatherless (Ping’s father left to evade heavy debt. An introspective Moon in his many interior monologues voices this sentiment several times. You young people are full of vitality. Most probably they will look like shit. and symbolic references to fatherhood in association with both Britain and China. he says: “Everyone has a story. the gang leader Wing.

Like a dream sequence. the only other thing the teenagers are left to do is to implode.11 As the teenagers seek alternative meanings in love (Moon to Ping). Moon thinks to himself about suicide: “I can’t believe I would come to this. thereby exceeding the paradigmatic temporality of successive colonialisms. This is the only alternative to the dead end situation. Moon is no longer alive to be instrumentalized by either Britain. present. and heroism and supermasculinity hasten their death. or China.E. Even the lawless gangsters merely replicate the lies that supposedly “legal” fathers tell to the teenagers. it spells out another temporality. the underworld of gangsters. because their powers of destruction are limited to powers of self-destruction. Death really does not require a lot of courage. which is not anchored in history defined by either Britain or China. You simply take a jump. Conversely. biological. and instead. This temporality. Now I can understand why Susan committed suicide. we repeatedly see Susan at various points of time before and after the actual jumping. Well. Standing atop a public housing structure. he later shoots himself in the head while sitting next to the fresh grave of Ping. This is a temporality that is symbolically anchored neither in the past nor in the future. surrogate. and it does not partake in a perception of the present as a continuation from the past to the future. friendship (Moon to Sylvester). it may sound easy. Death nullifies both abandonment and containment. is also cinematically calibrated in the visual structure of the film. performances of heroism (acting cool) and supermasculinity (wielding guns.potent expression of the status of Hong Kongers as a generation of youths who are predestined to undergo a violent process of initiation. and screwdrivers). coach. rather. The film moves among various points of the past. the containment by patriarchy also ends in death. knives. But it’s a diªerent matter when you have to really do it. he underscores the courage that Susan had shown in jumping to her death due to her unrequited love for her P. who had by then died of cancer. love and friendship are too vulnerable to the violence of the world of fathers. There is nothing scary about it.” With this. the suicide of Susan starts the film but the sequence is completely jumbled in numerous flashbacks as well as in Moon’s dreams where Susan comes to haunt him. He decides not to jump. For instance. In the end. and future fluidly without temporal markers or explanations. The repetition adds symbolic weight to her suicide as a premonition to the narrative that After National Allegory ] 147 [ . The pain of paternal abandonment ends in death because in death Moon can no longer be tortured by it. and symbolic fathers all live the same lie.

All this is accompanied by camera work that captures Moon in the music and gesture of a John Woo–style gangster hero. successful completion of the assignment is jumbled without apparent logic with the actual. where.” Linear catching up simply will not do. If the two middle-aged Chinese men who are the targets of the attack were meant to symbolize the future to come— one of them says to the other that after 1997 he should come to Hong Kong and open up a business in the heart of the city—Moon’s imaginary killing of them represents a fantasy of categorical rejection of the Chinese future. In this sequence. He is supposed to kill two Chinese men atop Victoria Peak. ironically. as the present moment in late colonial Hong Kong—the reality of public housing projects and wayward youth—does not at all constitute a romantic site of longing and belonging. In the imaginary sequence. this film is not one of the nostalgic films that dominated the Hong Kong film scene before 1997. but the film’s management of temporality as a ghostly presence that hovers around the characters like Susan herself points to what I think is the articulation of a diªerent conception of time. and a Walkman. enjoying the bird’s-eye view of Hong Kong aªorded by the vantage point of a significant site of colonial geography from British colonialism. sunglasses. jeans. Clearly. There is no nostalgia to speak of. The before. it’s another brand new world.follows. “But the world is moving too fast. The high ground of British colonialism. Victoria Peak. Here you have an obvious othering of the Chinese as future occupiers of Hong Kong. The Chinese men scatter when given the crucial time due to his hesitations. and he runs down the tramway from Victoria Peak in panic. Rather. where Moon’s imaginary. instead of a trench coat he is wearing fashionable red canvas shoes. after. So fast that just when you want to adapt yourself to it. it repudiates both the nostalgic mode (for which the past and the soon] 148 [ After National Allegory . Moon flaunts his gun like a gangster hero against the invading Chinese in heroic exuberance and self-righteousness and completes his job calmly. This nonhistorical time is exemplified in a poignant scene in the movie when Moon takes a murder assignment from the gangsters in order to help Ping pay oª her father’s debt. But the actual narrative is otherwise: he points the gun at the Chinese but fails to shoot. time moves eªortlessly between both historical time and imaginary time. is symbolically taken possession of by the Chinese. Moon says. failed attempt. and during of the shooting (or not shooting) are rendered in a nonchronological fashion with flashbacks within flashbacks or foreshadowing within foreshadowing.

refer to the print version of this title. The national allegorical implications of the film were After National Allegory ] 149 [ . an act of subversion. an ambiguous sense of Hong Kong cultural identity is articulated in the form of double refusal: refusing the temporality of colonial nostalgia as well as Chinese takeover. then its allegorical subject is time itself.] 19 Moon in the shooting scene atop Victoria Peak in Made in Hong Kong. here allegory can be seen as a guerilla tactic. confiscating. and usurping meanings of the city from the hands of both the British and the Chinese. This is what is “made in Hong Kong. who have imposed their various colonialist and nationalist narratives. Through this temporality. The fact that this film was chosen as best picture in the Hong Kong Golden Oak Awards and garnered various other awards across Europe and Asia in 1997 is not a historical accident.[To view this image. In other words. If this movie can be called an allegory. It is about the negation of colonial-inflected temporality of nostalgia and Chinese temporality of history (“the future belongs to China”). hence film is the perfect arena for the construction of a diªerent temporality. and the displacement of these temporalities by a diªerent one that exceeds and escapes definition in normative language. to-be-lost present are valorized) and the historical mode (for which the future is inevitable) by constructing an alternative time that is private and nonlinear and ultimately refuses to be defined by authorized or authoritative temporality. a final defiant gesture. A national allegorical reading of the film then concludes that Chan’s manipulation of time in the narrative is an act of appropriating.” Time in film is most malleable to creative manipulation.

The audiences across national boundaries needed a national allegory from Hong Kong in the year 1997. or selling military paraphernalia. The refusal toward China is also articu] 150 [ After National Allegory . thus exposing the reading of allegory as an interpretive labor invested. and the commodified nature of the anticolonial act on the other. thus “Hong Kong” as the nostalgic’s souvenir as such does not exist. a driver. working as a bank guard. and housing to these veterans turned out to be empty. a murder assignment. But there is another potential interpretation of the sequence just analyzed. The Longest Summer ( Jinnian yanhua tebie duo. rather. for if we read the act as anticolonial. The shooting is in fact but a business transaction. employment. It articulates the double refusal discussed above in most concrete terms as seen through the lives of five ex-British soldiers of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps. and they were struggling to make ends meet doing odd jobs on the street. nor can it be reduced to a souvenir from the past. 1998). The nostalgic’s desire for national allegory is a “longing without an object. The British colonial government’s promise of job training.” to quote Susan Stewart again. a subway assistant. whose temporality of the future-past is legible only if we assume the linearity of time as the normative. anticolonial act buttressed by nationalist sentiments. with the interpreter’s particular obsession or articulatory position within the regime of recognition of nonWestern cultural products. after they are disbanded at the end of colonialism. which contributed to the film’s enormous critical acclaim. is another ostensibly allegorical and political film that begins its narrative in March 1997 and ends with the turnover ceremony in July and immediately after. The indescribable. a contract killing that will bring Moon sorely needed funds to bail out Ping’s family debt. if not downright passive. as it were. it suggests the failure or impossibility of the anticolonial act on the one hand. THE ALLEGORICAL AND THE MUNDANE Fruit Chan’s next film in the Hong Kong trilogy. it frustrates the viewers’ desire for national allegory. jumbled temporality of the sequence further unseats the authority of the nostalgic.anticipated by various agents even before such a film was to be made: to capitulate without struggle to the retrocession of Hong Kong to China would be deemed dishonorable. The failure to shoot brings out the irony here even more. The sequence may not be national allegory in the end. not a symbolic.

Ga Suen is played by the same actor. trying to hold on to his sense of morality. He has a younger brother. but the most significant character of the five is Ga Yin. one involving a disco where the supposedly mainland Chinese male announcer yells over the microphone to the Hong Kongers dancing: “You. Money is everything. which even involves a refresher course in military training in a camp. to which the veterans turn a deaf ear. the four veterans and Ga Suen plan out the robbery thoroughly. a young gangster who kills without blinking an eye. who have real guns instead of fake ones. The movie follows the five veterans. his parents keep taunting him and comparing him to the younger. who are faster than they are. they arrive at the bank only to see a bunch of other robbers leaving the bank with the booty. In contrast to the teenagers. Not only is Hong Kong changing. the veterans are much too out of tune with time even to be e‹cient and eªective bank robbers.lated in several scenes. Now that Ga Yin is an unemployed veteran. With the bank guard buddy Bobby. The bank robbery is an important scene.” There is a deep sense of demoralization that Chinese Hong Kong is fast dipping into the immoral zone. Sam Lee. Ga Yin becomes profoundly confused in this new world of immorality. where even the law-abiding veterans become increasingly attracted to gangster activities and even end up planning a bank robbery. admiring his younger brother on the one hand. Ga Suen. These are teenage gangsters. Rescue and promise are the terms of China’s containment. whose sense of morality and righteousness is constantly threatened by the way Hong Kong society is changing after the 1997 turnover. the people of Hong Kong who live in the depths of water and heat of fire [shuishen huore zhi zhong ]: you will be entering a new era in a few days!” This rhetoric of rescue that frames China’s nationalist narratives of Hong Kong is necessarily incongruent. another veteran. and feeling that he should save him from immoral acts on the other. my parents taught me to be honorable. At the appointed time. In contrast to Made in Hong Kong. but this incongruence was exacerbated by the wrongness of the occasion—a disco party. and who kill without mercy. Now they just want me to make fast money and not have any sense of loyalty. Ga Yin. as the inside contact. It also rings hollow as the consequences of the 1997 turnover did not at all improve the life stations of the veterans and other working-class characters in the film. who played Moon in the previous movie. is deeply troubled by the change: “When I was a kid. the people closest to us are also changing. where After National Allegory ] 151 [ . gangster brother who brings in income for the household to help pay the mortgage as well as other expenses.

But Fruit Chan undermines that ] 152 [ After National Allegory . At the end of the film. amid rain and fireworks. refer to the print version of this title. who have fallen into the world of amorality. here it is the adults. A bullet pierces through the young gangster’s cheeks. an undertone of violence permeates.] 20 The bank robbery in The Longest Summer. as a foreshadowing. being fully aware that references to 1997 are important for the presentation of his film.[To view this image. It is the gangster’s holed cheeks. unspoken violence of the invading Chinese. 1997 has left a big hole in his being. Literally. especially those who were the most honest and law-abiding ones. and Ga Yin is also shot by the gangster’s cohorts. the youth is positioned in opposition to the adults. a scar so visible that it can in no way escape notice. that appear in the beginning sequence of the movie. The film depicts the time right before the handover ceremony with a fin-de-siècle sense of doom. which Fruit Chan provides very conscientiously. Ga Yin undergoes a mental breakdown and mistakes a young gangster for his brother and violently tortures and shoots him. such as the veterans and Ga Yin’s parents. mirroring violence on individual lives with the larger. This is the national allegorical reading of the film. Ga Suen and two of the veterans are dead. within which they are no match for the youthful gangsters. On the day of the ceremony.

At one nervous moment. But from the grin that slowly emerges on his face after she leaves. this trauma is seemingly also overcome by an ironic sense of mundaneness. If the hole is the site of trauma. Whether it is true amnesia or he is merely pretending. the film’s refusal of Britain After National Allegory ] 153 [ . who can be scholars. is another eloquent example that frustrates the national allegorical reading of the film. Britain. He refuses nostalgia. Chan depicts in close-up shots the high nervousness of these policemen. A violent scar can be as mundane as that. After Ga Yin recovers from his bullet wound. The hole is also juxtaposed with the subway tunnel in a montage. however.S. Half a dozen policemen land on the man to grab the bomb away from him and to detonate it in a safe area. In the midst of heightened security concerns that Hong Kongers would react violently to the PLA’s entry to the city. he says that he does not know her. the film suggests that he is making a choice not to be associated with the past but to immerse himself in the ordinary. 1997. When approached by an old acquaintance who left Hong Kong during the most traumatic days of 1997 and just returned. which overreads what is mundane and commonplace as political. The sequence capturing the procession of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on July 1. is also the hole through which a curious kid looks as if looking through a telescope or binoculars. who are fully anticipating some sort of revolt from the Hong Kongers. the Hong Kong police set up an intensive surveillance and security system to contain potential violence and conflict. evoking a sense of irony. such as the bystander. The bomb is a watermelon. To the ordinary folks of Hong Kong. the film does not tell us. When the bomb is thrown over. Moving away from a Manichean mode of politics. intellectuals. What is ironized here is the exaggerated anticipation of violence. he becomes a laborer and appears to be content with his ordinary life. U. The desire to project national allegorical overreading to the PLA’s entry to Hong Kong is that of the nostalgic. in the poignant beginning sequence of the film on the subway. it was simply another event. academia. and we see but a smashed watermelon. or politicians in Hong Kong. which did not have to stop him from carrying a watermelon home. a policeman spots a plainly clothed bystander carrying what appears to be a bomb. and elsewhere.reading simultaneously. mundane existence of the everyday in the present. The hole in the cheeks. nothing explodes. just as the hole in the youngster’s cheeks is but another extraordinary visual image that evokes the curiosity of a child but ultimately exists as another mundane detail. the kid looks at the retreating scenery through the vantage point of the hole.

he pretends to speak putonghua and demands one of the schoolgirls to respond in putonghua. The refusal of Britain and China is therefore also the refusal to be imbricated within the binaric structure of action and reaction. even asking for an autograph. This nonreactive imagination thereby also refuses the national allegorical interpretive impulses of the First World theorist who wishes to see Hong Kong texts as “necessarily” “national allegories” with obligatory references to the violence of 1997 on both collective and individual levels. As veterans. Sometime in the middle of the movie. Ga Suen has just stolen sunglasses from a convenience store for the veterans. but instead of proving that he is a Hong Konger. hypersensitivity to the mainland Chinese as the other is displaced with humor (albeit a gendered one). and with their shy showcasing of sunglasses. This is the mundane aspect of everyday existence. Another important scene illustrates the nonreactive mode vis-à-vis China and Chineseness eloquently. they are understandably unfashionable-looking. They see a couple of passengers looking like country bumpkins. This performance deflates the seriousness of the prejudice against the Chinese and at the same time opens up the possibility for Hong Kongers to be “Chinese” in an ironic way. In both instances of misrecognition. Ga Suen stands up as if in anger. Ga Suen. start clapping hands and consider Ga Suen to be really cool. hence the wrong target of prejudice.and China does not result in a reactive logic that binds the Hong Kongers in a binaric structure of power struggle. All the schoolgirls. When she can’t. where heroism is a performative act that transcends issues of authenticity or falsehood. there are no other others here. and his buddies are on a double-decker bus. and each one has put a pair on with the price tags still hanging from the frames. Just when Ga Suen is about to harass them. he picks her up in his arms and throws her out the window from the upper deck of the bus where they were. Here. they themselves are mistaken by a group of bossy uniformed schoolgirls to be mainland Chinese. and they deduce that these country bumpkins must be Chinese from China in a typical narrative of capitalist or modernist superiority. instead of getting angry. refusing China does not mean fighting a violent war with China. Ga Yin. as Ga Suen ironically performs “mainlandness” or Chineseness. the two passengers start talking in local Cantonese about the stock market. Refusing Britain does not mean fighting a violent war with Britain. Recognition of the otherness of the Chinese turns out to be misrecognition. it is the locals who are mistaken by ] 154 [ After National Allegory . This is a foreshadowing of what is to follow soon afterward.

and postcolonial grounds of discourse. one that actively endorses and allows for national allegorical readings through an act of self-commodification (Chan is fully aware of the value of political film in the art house market) and one that ironizes that endorsement with mundane details and practices of the everyday.other locals to be mainland Chinese in the general atmosphere of paranoia (fear of China’s domination) and prejudice (distaste toward China’s assumed lack of modernity). mundane narrative of 1997 undercuts such eagerness with a sideway glance that Mikhail Bakhtin had theorized so convincingly a long time ago. recognizing national allegory as an enabling condition for Hong Kong cinema while at the same time exposing its limitations with an ironic double-voicedness. The demand of national allegories by the First World theorist is responded to with an ironic form of submission that at the same time strikes back at the theorist with a sly but utterly creative maneuver. then. who criticized Jameson’s theory point by point and exposed the totalistic and reductionist logic behind it. To Fredric Jameson. Fruit Chan extends his attention to the mundaneness of the everyday to children and the aged in working-class Hong Kong. Combined. In the last of the trilogy. recognizing its power but responding to it with a sardonic twist.12 Ahmad’s may have been a strong critique of Jameson while Chan’s a weak one. It fakes submission by turning to the direction of hailing with humorous self-reflexivity. Irony deflates the high seriousness and tragic outcomes of the life stories of the veterans and Ga Suen and provides a form of comic relief. Instead of a categorical rejection of Chineseness. while an underlying. Fruit Chan is not another Aijaz Ahmad. The trauma of 1997 as national allegory becomes a strategy that allows the film’s entry into the global circuit of audiences eager for such narratives. released two years after 1997. This is what I mean by the politics of the mundane in Chan’s films that escapes the binaric and Manichean logic in Hong Kong’s relationship with China and Chineseness. the three films provide After National Allegory ] 155 [ . but Chan’s is a strong rewriting of national allegory narrative from a perspective without the luxury of clear-cut national. This rewriting strikes back at the theorist with an ironic smirk. and places a closure on nostalgia produced by the Manichean logic of domination and resistance in the masternarrative of successive colonialisms in Hong Kong. anticolonial. Little Cheung (1999). Chan’s film. there is an ironic refashioning of Chineseness. performs a double-voiced act. a relief that at the same time unsettles the allegorizing impulse of the interpreter.

one of the focal points of the narrative concerns a Filipino maid and the plight of those like her in Hong Kong. Rather. who are emotionally and materially deprived. the neglected children. middle-aged veterans. refer to the print version of this title. Little Cheung sees the world from their perspectives. ] 156 [ After National Allegory . the only respite for working-class children such as Little Cheung. They are the new members of Hong Kong society. besides being abused by gangsters on the streets. is the comfort from each other and whatever ingenuity that they can come up with. the Filipinos gather in a large square for a religious celebration. for whom the mundaneness of everyday life rarely includes issues of postcoloniality involving either the British or the Chinese. while the working-class communities of Hong Kong tear each other apart through waves of violence. and the old. Otherwise. the basis for any masternarratives of Hong Kong as a colony or a postcolony. With cameras positioned at the eye level of school-age children. an alternative community that stays together under classed oppression by the Hong Kongers.[To view this image. suggesting a powerful collectivity. Few scenes in the movie have the peacefulness of the harbor. These are four demographic groups whose perspectives and outlooks are seldom.] 21 Cameras positioned at the children’s eye level in small back alleyways of working-class Hong Kong in Little Cheung. At the end of the movie. if ever. who may be variously mistreated by their employers. but sometimes serve as emotional anchors for broken and alienated families. generational slices of the working-class life of teenagers.

where Chineseness is an imitated and revised heritage.where the children bicycle to and share a moment of respite. the mix. such as cheongsams in unorthodox and gaudy colors of yellow. they merely constitute a beautiful background with which their lives do not seem to connect or intersect. and orange. but to the children. Lan proposes a “nouveau Chineseness” that explodes classicism and authenticity in favor of the fictitious. just as the miniature Sony Walkman. REFASHIONING HONGKONGNESS Other cultural genres deal with similar issues. The island of Hong Kong and its skyline may be infused with large symbolic meanings as scholars have hastened to analyze. is a book of instructions on how Hong Kongers may practice Chineseness in Hong Kong (see color plate 4). the decor of the store. the ironic. to the extent that the usage of Chineseness can become “active and carefree within historical perimeters. Yuk-yuen Lan’s book of design. become the material embodiments of Hong Kong identity in their inauthentic and faddish Chineseness that is consumption-oriented. and postcoloniality. these things. as the title suggests. few scenes are as mischievous as Little Cheung’s revenge on a gangster by surreptitiously dropping a bloody tampon into his cup of tea. Conversely. ranging from cheongsams. The majority of the movie is shot in narrow alleyways with a low perspective. The Practice of Chineseness. green. national allegory. I will focus on a book of design and fashion as well as an archeological exhibition: two realms where the act of fashioning Hongkongness occurs literally in terms of fashion and in terms of the archeological search for the origin of authentic Hong Kongers. and so forth. whose logic escapes or exceeds the masternarratives of the nation.”13 Lan analyzes this nouveau Chineseness with a detailed case study of the Shanghai Tang store and its products. the narrow alleyways are where mundane life happens. and the playful kind of nostalgia. In this book filled with visual images and scholarly analysis of design and sign systems of Hong Kong popular culture. may emAfter National Allegory ] 157 [ . and in the rest of the chapter. in its exemplification of the “small is beautiful” aesthetic principle of Japanese culture. If the skyline is the Hong Kong that will be recorded in history with the competing narratives of colonialism and postcolonialism. the camera does not look up to the skyline. the pastiche.

However. freefloating.” At around 400 a. and decontextualized sign that can be ironically refashioned for Hong Kong use. In many history books these people are called “Lo Ting. Here the search is for a kind of Hong Kong authenticity. enveloping the fateful date of July 1.14 The Hong Kong cultural identity thus understood then includes a sense of Chineseness as a consumable. The sea god envied their success and they were cursed to live forever a rootless life.. 1998. If the authenticity of Chineseness can be exploded. as summarized in the exhibition catalog goes like this: A long time ago there was a fish called Lo living around the Lantau island area. After absorbing spiritual energy of the universe. his soldiers turned back to half human half fish and were unable to fight. and culture in such museums as the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Regional Council Heritage Museum. and 1999. The first exhibition was part of a group exhibition called “Museum 97: History.body Japanese cultural identity (see color plate 5). They became fully human on the condition that they should never go beyond their own territory. Lo Dun was killed and his followers fled back to Lantau Island and its surrounding ] 158 [ After National Allegory . dehistoricized. Individual” at Hong Kong Arts Center from June 23 to July 12. The Lo Ting exhibition belonged to the “Prehistoric Hong Kong Museum” section of the group project. The basic story of the Lo Ting. Hong Kong becomes the subject matter of research. Lan also mentions a simultaneous eªort in the search for Hong Kong cultural identity as the museumization of Hong Kong history. Community. leaving their own territory. thus it is very much akin to the pre-1997 project of Hongkongology. In these museums. why not the authenticity of Hongkongness? There have been a series of three consecutive installations of the Lo Ting exhibit in 1997. I think it is precisely this tendency to valorize Hongkongology (in search of a Hong Kong version of authenticity) as an automatic locus of resistance to Chinese rule that a three-year art installation project called “Lo Ting” subtly critiques. 1997. a “Lo Ting” named Lo Dun led a rebellion against the oppressive regime of Jun dynasty [Eastern Jin dynasty] and moved North as far as Guangzhou. archaeology.d. exhibition. they became human. and ethnography. They remained half human half fish until the famous monk Pei Tao [Beidu chanshi] positioned many spiritual rocks all over the region to release them from the curse during the early part of the 4th century. the o‹cial date of Hong Kong’s “return” to China.

However. incorporating charges against the first exhibition as fake. they are far removed from the Han Chinese in China. and even a life-size model of the Lo Ting. and people were uneasy and anxious. in an attempt to take over the salt production industry. artifacts discovered from these digs. theirs is not just ethnic diªerence. He did not die and his rotten body transformed into a Lo Ting. It reads: In 1997. In the third exhibition. living in extreme poverty.areas. all of which stage Hongkongness as in a mise-en-scène. His cries were like those of an infant. archaeology is made performative: one sees all the procedures and mechanisms of archaeological work and museumization of artifacts. The exhibition included television interviews with a presumed authority on archaeology. the narrative of Lo Ting gains greater complexity and scholarly scrutiny. there were still a few Lo Ting who survived and today fishermen still come across them at the remote islands around Hong Kong. What indeed is the Lo Ting but a collective invention of Hong Kong After National Allegory ] 159 [ . The life-size model ironically echoes the images of reversed mermaids (fish’s upper body and human lower body) in the paintings of Belgian Surrealist René Magritte. In the second exhibition. To make this point even more explicit. photographs of archaeological digs. The theory is posited that since Hong Kongers are the descendents of the Lo Ting. illustrations and descriptions of various moments of the Lo Ting history. In 1197 a massacre happened at Lantau island. where the Shun [Song dynasty] soldiers. an eyewitness account. People were worried that he would enrage 1997 and bring about greater catastrophe. they remained human and were ancestors of the Tanka [danzu] people. He taped up his mouth and tied his own hands and feet as a protest and wandered around the streets.15 The main image for this exhibition is that of a woodcut print with an inscription written from the perspective of a Taiwan person—the artist Hou Chun-ming—in classical Hanyu. especially a 1934 oil painting entitled The Collective Invention. practically killed all the Lo Ting and most of the Tanka people there. wandering in the surroundings around the islands and would not leave. but a divergence in species. For those Lo Ting who stayed. clouds were white and dogs were blue. There was one Hong Konger who was afraid that with 1997 there would no longer be freedom of speech. thus they pushed him into the ocean together.

Here. With the first exhibition. The second ex] 160 [ After National Allegory . Oscar Ho. artists? In the exhibition. The implications of these exhibitions are many. and these implications themselves would need to be historicized within their respective moments of staging. it mocks the high seriousness of the Chinese narrative and exposes the latter’s historiography to be China-centric. for whom the history of Hong Kong only starts from 1842. In its fakeness. refer to the print version of this title.] 22 Hou Chun-ming’s woodcut print of a Lo Ting from the 1997 exhibition. which led to the extreme case of fabrication and mythmaking by the main creator of the exhibition. the end of the Opium War.[To view this image. the narrative can be read as a competitive one against the nationalist narratives of the Chinese government. we may see a desperate attempt at finding a prehistory of Hongkongness. the sense of irony is further stretched when a poster announces that Lo Ting sightings are included in the daily tour of Hong Kong for tourists sponsored by the tourist bureau in as likely a manner as the whale watching in the Pacific Northwest.

] 23 René Magritte’s The Collective Invention (1934. Herscovici. After National Allegory ] 161 [ . New York. oil on canvas. the 1999 Lo Ting exhibition seems to partake of the self-reflexive trend. self-commodification. Brussels/Artists Rights Society. It suggests instead that such ontology of an authentic Hong Kong cultural identity can only be false or fake. which pokes fun at the search for an authentic origin of absolute diªerence from China. The “Fake Art of Comics” series by an anonymous independent artist takes this self-irony even further to suggest that the pre-1997 discourses of Hong Kong cultural identity are forms of self-promotion. The third exhibition. 35 × 113 cm). did not occur during the following anniversary. What began as a reflection on Chineseness became a self-reflexive and ironic self-commentary. hibition was held during the first anniversary of the handover ( June 20 to July 14. here the target may not be so much Chineseness as Hongkongness. 1998). an obvious political gesture that suggests how mainland China continued to be the target of its critical performance. Reproduced by permission of C. The choice of dates seems significant. The last of the Lo Ting exhibitions is clearly a form of self-irony. In the context of post-97 rethinking of the agendas of constructing and preserving Hong Kong cultural identity. and self-delusion.[To view this image. however. refer to the print version of this title. but from late August to midSeptember in 1999.

seeking postcoloniality and national allegory. What I find in these various genres of cultural expression. Though seemingly premised on lofty goals of cultural construction for the sake of diªerentiating Hong Kong’s diªerence from China. A pure. then. is a dual process of deauthentification. While authentic Chineseness is debunked and revised on the one hand.[To view this image. the discourse of Hong Kong identity easily falls prey to commodification. therefore. a joke played upon the self who. The tone in these comics. the romantic search for authentic Hongkongness is ironized as an impossibility. uncontaminated Hongkongness that can be absolutely distinguished from Chineseness is but a mere fantasy. a fabrication that ] 162 [ After National Allegory . is not pathos but irony. photograph by the author. refer to the print version of this title.] 24 Life-size model of a Lo Ting. ended up being peddlers of cultural identity. authentic.

[To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]


An example of the Fake Art of Comics. Upper left: “Planners of culture and art force her to go sell [‘local culture’ in one basket and ‘historical identity’ in the other basket].” Upper right: “No business” [Each local culture costs $1,000; cultural identity costs $2,000]. Lower left: “She made some inexpensive pirated editions” [$10 for 10 local cultures; $5 for 10 historical identities]. Lower right: buyers line up.

is easily exposed as such. Hongkongness remains ambivalent and eludes cultural nationalists’ attempt to demarcate its boundaries. If anything, Hongkongness is an act of staging or performance: the archaeological digs, the interviews, the artifacts, and so forth are the props for this staging. What is performed or staged is then Hong Kong’s search for an identity, an ironic metacommentary on its romantic and nostalgic desires. Forgoing nostalgia and national allegory, Hongkongness in Fruit Chan’s Hong Kong trilogy and the other cultural works examined here is a complex process of negotiation with its colonial past and Chineseness, as well as its uncertain positionality within the colonial-postcolonial-neocolonial continuum. Appropriating and usurping national allegory, poking fun at authenticity, Hong Kong filmmakers and artists after 1997 have refused to hasten to name, to collect, and to preserve essential notions of Hongkongness or Hong Kong culture, while rethinking the premises of “Hongkongology” with self-reflexive irony. The Sinophone Hong Kong continues to move ambiguously around China and Chineseness, its vibrant culture leaving no authenticity untarnished, including the nativist, self-authenticating variety. As more standard putonghua is taught and spoken, as Hong Kong’s integration into China is more and more thorough, Hong Kong may inevitably cease to be a Sinophone community on the margins of China and Chineseness but partake more constitutively in the imagination of new forms of Chineseness within China.




After National Allegory

Colonialism is a substance with no name [today]. Empire has never waned. Its specter is circling around. —Wong Bik-wan, Records of Postcoloniality (2003) In the last analysis, one is a member of a world community by the sheer fact of being human; this is one’s “cosmopolitan existence.” —Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy (1982)


Cosmopolitanism among Empires
It seems again to be the case that the age of empire is upon us, and it behooves us to consider this return of the age of empire in the contemporary historical context in order to ask the question whether a Taiwan cosmopolitanism is possible. The aim of this contextualization is to search for ways of understanding cosmopolitan expressions of Sinophone cultures such as Taiwan’s, even while metropolitan cosmopolitanism at large increasingly exhibits greater and greater imperial intentions, and the pressures of new forms of imperialism appear to be narrowing the space for cosmopolitan potentials from the margins. This chapter analyzes one ethically responsible form of cosmopolitanism from the margins that defies regulative logics and politics of transnational recognition. It also seeks to establish Sinophone culture as but one aspect of Taiwan culture. Oral, written, and visual languages of Taiwan’s multiculture exhibit the Sinophone’s resistance to China-centrism on the one hand, while they also show how the Sinophone transitions to the Taiwanese (multiethnically and multi]


culturally defined) on the other. Their constitutive relationship is a relationship between part and whole (Sinophone culture is a part of Taiwan culture). I set up two frameworks below— one is that of empire and imperialism, and the other that of cosmopolitanism. THE AGE OF EMPIRES AND, ESPECIALLY, THEIR SIZES It is instructive to consider how our contemporary imperial formation relates to the immediately preceding one as analyzed by Eric Hobsbawm in his magisterial The Age of Empire, 1875–1914. If we can roughly assert that the post-1914 imperial formation is characterized by the continual rise of the United States as the single most powerful empire in the world, one can make a useful comparison with the previous age, when Britain was the imperial center of the world. Hobsbawm argues that the last age of empire must be explained mainly in economic and political terms. He lists seven main characteristics of world economy as the bases for the particular form empires took during the previous age of empire: broad geographical expansion; increasing pluralization; revolution in technology; concentrated capital and rationalized production; mass production fueling the rise of a consumer economy in which goods from far-flung regions were made available and in ever greater quantity; the rise of o‹ce and other service sectors; and finally, growing convergence between economics and politics.1 In other words, the geographical expansion of economy was both the cause and the eªect of the territorial expansion of empires, while overproduction set oª by rationalized mass production led to the need to create overseas markets and cull resources from overseas. This was the time when capitalism became truly global, ushering in global capitalism as we know it. Global capitalism, then and now, seeks inexpensive and the most thoroughly exploitable labor and maximum profit through an unequal national and international division of labor.2 Of the six major empires carving up most of the world at the time—Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the United States—Britain was the one whose economy was most intimately enmeshed with the economy in the colonies in the sense that it benefited the most from the colonies. For the other empires, Hobsbawm notes, political motivations were sometimes more important than economic ones. Italy, Germany, and the United States expanded colonies not for economic interest but for the sheer status that the expansion conferred.3


Cosmopolitanism among Empires

We cannot fail to see that there are clear continuities between the age of empire and our age, as global capitalism has spread to such an extent that any externality to it has become increasingly impossible. The search for markets and inexpensive labor continues with greater intensity than ever before, with more remote parts of the Third World becoming incorporated into the labor force, while the international division of labor and production is becoming thoroughly rationalized. The clearest case of this continuity is China. As early as the age of empire, it was seen as the promised land for Western goods, and the same desire continues to stir great enthusiasm toward China from Western capitalists. In the twentyfirst century, the biggest historical irony of global capitalism, which was first Eurocentric and then U.S.-centric, may be the rise of this Third World nation to the rank of empires. From being the dumping ground for low-level manufacturing jobs to being a producer of high-tech products and bidder for highest symbolic capital using its newly accumulated hard currency, China has emerged as a global economic and political power, and the only potential threat to U.S. hegemony. By the late twentieth century, we had already witnessed the ineªectiveness of the European Union as a block to counterbalance the United States, so the only potential threat is recognized to be from China, hence the widely circulated new phrase “China threat.” David Harvey has argued, for instance, that the American invasion of Iraq may be explained in terms of America’s intention to maintain its superpower status in the context of rising China and China’s tremendous oil needs.4 The struggle for hegemony in the next phase of global power configuration is contingent upon the degree of control of available oil. Ross Terrill’s The New Chinese Empire and What It Means for the United States ostensibly provides a scholar’s substantive validation to the “China threat” with its sensational title, even though, in actual content, the book oªers a historical overview of Chinese imperialism from premodern times followed by a sobering analysis of the problems in contemporary China.5 While Southeast Asian nations, under a diªerent kind of “China threat,” have begun mobilization for an alliance to defuse Chinese influence and power, no other country is more squarely caught between the sometimes feuding sometimes collaborating empires of the United States and China than Taiwan. Taiwan’s place on the edge of these two empires is therefore not a metaphor, but a literal description.6 It may be the same fear of “China threat” that has prompted the pan-Western imperial union satirized in French philosopher Régis Debray’s 2004 novel, EmCosmopolitanism among Empires ]


the clearest enemy is Islam.”7 This novel is instructive for illustrating the value attributed to size in contemporary imperial formation. economics. the necessity of the pan-Occidental nation is premised on the potential threat from Islam and China because.” A self-styled “disinterested evangelist of Western civilization.” with each complimenting the other in all aspects of politics. subtitled “A Modest Proposal for a United States of the West. will have a clear sense of who the enemies are. On the one hand. If we agree with the premise that nations in the world are hurrying toward forming larger and larger blocks to defuse China’s potential threat and power. as Xavier de C*** says. the more powerful a nation seems to be. the similar case of the Jewish state was intended to be the opposite: to symbolically and otherwise part from the non-West and become European)10 and even more vital. to the philosopher Régis Debray. It will activate a renewed democracy to answer the threat of Islam. whose full name is not given. and above all.8 Two points about this novel are most relevant to the issues at hand. along with Israel as the fifty-first and Turkey as the fifty-third. Xavier de C*** calls these countries “de facto annexations” of the United States.pire 2. what can small countries such as Taiwan do. “ultimate” nation. as Edward Said shows us. this ideology of size is prompted by a universal fear of China rising.9 These de facto annexed states add non-Western elements to the United States of the West to make it even more multicultural (even though. and so forth. In the immediate post-911 context. The union is proposed as the only defense against the overwhelming demographic imbalance between the West and the rest. “Confucius+Allah = 70% of the planet’s oil reserves and two-thirds of its population. “the United States of the West.0.” he hopes that the union will preserve the superiority of the Occident and strengthen it. but China is feared to become the only “hyperpower” that will dominate the world. In short. and it is in essence a proposal for the union of the United States and Europe into a larger. culture. it leaves little room for Taiwan to find value in its smallness. One is the increased value of size in the international power struggle: the bigger it is. especially if they do not have much clout in international politics? What can their cultures do? Do their cultures matter at all in this time of blatant competitions for size? The second point is the novel’s mentioning of Taiwan as “in eªect” the fiftysecond state of the United States. on the other hand. The identification of Taiwan being a far-flung state ] 168 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . The novel consists of a long letter written by a character named Xavier de C***.

it is impossible for Taiwan to extract itself Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 169 [ .15 It is not a secret that Taiwan is forced to maneuver cleverly and skillfully between these two empires. if by colonialism we suggest the right of the colonized to rely on the mother country for protection in times of danger.13 In truth. and the youth there are more familiar with Hollywood films than they are with those made by local directors.14 What can be more telling than to simply note that Taiwan is now a model democracy (a. Congress to formally annex Taiwan as its fifty-first state so that it can be freed from the threat of China. By some measures. Club 51 wishes to persuade the U. or make decisions for Taiwan. Taiwan may be seen as a neocolony of the United States.12 In this regard. the actual neocolonial relationship between the United States and Taiwan is similar to those between the United States and its other more obvious colonies such as the Philippines and Puerto Rico. and a sometimes omnipresent popular culture”—that distinguishes the American empire from previous European empires. educators. Taiwan history is the history of successive colonialisms and ambiguous relationships with China. others have called Taiwan as eªectively a protectorate of the United States.S. as the activities of Club 51 have been fully related in Taiwan and Sinophone newspapers in the United States.k. struggling to establish its own discursive authority in a context where the two empires presume to talk for Taiwan. and bureaucrats holding advanced degrees from the United States.a. posture on behalf of Taiwan. the current situation is not new. a model minority) with a high percentage of its upperechelon technocrats.11 Whether one considers this entirely absurd or not. it is the “soft power” of the United States—“the diªusion of political ideas. In either relationship. the call of China presuming itself to be the father country of Taiwan continues with hundreds of phallic missiles pointed at Taiwan with tacit approval from the United States. educational know-how. From various American recommendations for the United States to occupy or annex parts of Taiwan since the time of Commodore Perry. to America’s active engagement to transform Taiwan into a capitalist society through the creation of an economic comprador class. To that extent. it is revealing that a distant and casual observer of Taiwan such as the fictional character Xavier de C*** would hit upon the same point.of the United States is not news. While the United States continues to maintain a policy of ambiguity in regards to the tension across the Taiwan Strait. What is new is the particular imperial formation in which Taiwan’s economy and general well-being has become so intimately dependent both on the United States and on China.

and it is still in the process of continuous (re)construction and (re)writing. Taiwan therefore is left with little leverage to either pressure the United States to recognize it. or pressure China to give up its territorial ambition toward Taiwan. as the o‹cial discourse increasingly comes to adopt a multicultural. Taiwan. how has Taiwan’s culture done? To answer this question. The situation is in every turn exacerbated by the U. The U. in the following section. In the end. in actuality. from the rewriting of history books to the renaming of streets and parks.economically. Hobsbawm’s book discussed above is clearly more concentrated on economics. There are many indications that people in Taiwan are living in a time of change. COSMOPOLITANISM. Culturally. DANGER Studies of imperialism and empire have consistently neglected the cultures of the colonized. MULTIPLICITY. As contemporary Taiwan discourses have shown. then? Rather. economic intimacy with China is creating substantial lobbying voices within Taiwan government for political concession to China. position of ambiguity. The refashioning of Taiwaneseness is undergoing its due process in all its contestatory and contradictory ways. The realm left over for greater maneuvering to engender possibilities of transformation is. which. culture as both lived experience and discourse oªers a fertile ground as well as eªective means to forge new identities and to imagine new futures. and multilingual orientation. What can Taiwan’s culture do. even while Taiwanese cultural nationalism has become more successful in delineating its own cultural lineage as connected to but distinct from China.’s contradictory policy promotes democracy in Taiwan (whose logical goal will be independence) and recognizes only “One China” (whose logical goal will be China’s occupation of Taiwan). in this situation.S. This contradiction belies the hypocrisy of the United States toward its putative protectorate. A large-scale transformation of consciousness is under way. multiethnic. Taiwan’s relationships with the United States and China are based on deep economic and political entanglements that characterize the current situation. is a policy of contradiction. even though it appears to be only gradual. as he seeks to explain the rise of empires in correspondence with the change ] 170 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . that of cosmopolitanism.S. The discourse of Taiwan consciousness and Taiwan identity has proved its power and eªectiveness in less than two decades. I will set up the second framework. the realm of culture.

colonialism. metropolitan imperial cultures were not aªected by the existence of colonies in any integrated fashion. the body must be in a state of utter abjection: a corpse “putrefied with venereal disease. he notes that even though metropolitan culture was definitely aªected by the imperial formation in terms of the familiar technologies of exoticism and Orientalism. When he does analyze culture. even infantile. possible only in a state of extreme abjecthood.”19 The subaltern cannot speak in a language that can be the multifaceted relationships of production.17 Said’s immense influence since the publication of Orientalism. who were made Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 171 [ . or mimicry and hybridity (containing both aspects of the colonized and the colonizer. undesirable. The third term is. though rarely. but the analytical pivot of the book is on the imperial narrative psyche. When a third term is introduced to the binarism. combined with the work of the Subaltern Studies group and Gayatri Spivak’s strand of deconstruction. and capitalism. but in the end it is nothing but the abjected body. Manichean models of criticism privileging a model of resistance and containment. But decades of postcolonial studies have flaunted binaric. which came to include the study of the literature and culture of the colonized. eventually engendered the emergence of postcolonial studies. per Homi Bhabha). the age of empire was characterized by a surprising consistency in the way the metropolitan centers viewed the rest of the world as “inferior. then.” Spivak analyzes the colonized woman’s body as an aporia that exceeds imposed signification by nationalism. and hence she cannot speak. according to Spivak). In Bhabha’s framework. The problem with this latter framework is that if not recognized as a challenge to colonial authority. it is the third term that is predominantly characterized by abjecthood and silence (the subaltern cannot speak. after all. having vomited up all the blood in her desiccated lungs. however.”16 What this means is that besides a few notable cases of influence (such as African primitivism and Japanese exoticism). In order to refuse imposed signification.18 In a signature essay entitled “Woman in Diªerence. her putrefied body can escape imposed signification. the third term is the mixture of the colonizer and the colonized that disrupts their boundaries and thus threatens colonial authority. not on that of the colonized. hybridity can simply be a symptom of the colonization of the colonized. feeble and backward. Edward Said’s book Culture and Imperialism clearly disagreed with such a perspective by showing how profoundly colonialism and imperialism shaped canonical Western literature during the age of empire. including market expansion. all of which are mobilized by binarisms.

its place on the edges of empires is a dramatically diªerent one from that of colonial India. or another nonmetropolitan language. To shift the context to that of Taiwan. but we also find the possibility for cosmopolitanism. or dominant. for instance. vernacular cosmopolitanism may be a way of describing the marginal people’s interculturalism that is similar to but essentially diªerent from metropolitan cosmopolitanism. ultimately very diªerent from the gallery of subjecthoods possible in Taiwan. Korean. what gets recognized as cosmopolitan itself is open to questioning. vernacular cosmopolitanism. can challenge metropolitan cosmopolitanism in several ways: (1) by threat of similarity and hybridity that unsettles its dominion (we can be cosmopolitans too. major. Hindi. where the per capita gross domestic product rivals that of some First World countries. Vernacular cosmopolitanism may be bilingual in a metropolitan language and Taiwanese. There is definitely a hierarchy of languages and the kind of cosmopolitanism each implies. some of us speak French and/or English— this is Bhabha’s strategy. We find all manner of possibilities in Taiwan’s cultural terrain. Hybridity of the colonized in and of itself does not necessarily pose any threat to the metropole. (2) by expanding its idiom to include nonstandard and marginal languages and cultures (a project of recuperation). So if metropolitan cosmopolitanism is defined as that capacity to espouse multiple cultures and multiple languages in the center by metropolitan intellectuals. If we go with the broad definition of vernacular cosmopolitanism above. if anything. discussed above). we may oppose the vernacular form against the metropolitan form. Spivak’s subaltern is the absolute economic subaltern. How do we understand the cosmopolitan yearnings of a small country vis-à-vis contemporary empires? How does it live through the dangers of the constant state of psychological and political war under the shadow of empires? In examining varieties of cosmopolitanism from diªerent subject positions. such as the language of the nonelite or the language of marginalized intellectuals and the colonized. specifically defined. mainstream. it may just be an eªective proof of the assimilating power of the culture of the metropole. set up in contradistinction to metropolitan become cultural hybrids under the weight of colonial imposition. including abjecthood and hybridity. or cosmopolitics. oftentimes. as it is not immune from discursive power politics. The word vernacular is often defined in opposition to what is standard. while metropolitan bilingualism may speak only metropolitan languages. (3) ] 172 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . and yes.

about self-othering becoming self-absorption. The agenda of articulation and recuperation. here understood not in terms of the politics of democracy across the world. vernacular cosmopolitanism of marginal countries aims not only to flaunt its qualification for membership in the unequal terrain of world culture. a project to claim a portion of the center. and each is a project of articulating abjection on the one hand. may dangerously cross over to a discourse of victimology. but the general point is about the self-serving potential of misapplied or disingenuous identity politics. vernacular cosmopolitanism of its minority peoples has it as its objective to be recognized as a viable option. which vernacular cosmopolitanism needs to judiciously guard against. in which the project of an ‘ethnographic self-fashioning’ becomes the practice of a narcissistic self-refurbishing. context. In the international context. is part of the scenario for Indian postcolonial studies in the United States (even though the “real” object of discourse is Britain). . In the U. however. Each is undergirded by a certain culture of protest. on the other side. discursive empowerment through recuperations of the vernacular. Struggle within the uneven terrain of cosmopolitics. and articulating counterdiscourses on the other. and (4) by unseating metropolitan cosmopolitanism altogether (if this is ever possible).” to the extent that all critical content is neutralized and the work of art becomes a work of narcissism and self-promotion in the name of identity.S. On one side is grievance and sadness. an articulation of diªerence. Arif Dirlik’s equally satiric critique of postcolonial theory as the moment postcolonial intellectuals have arrived in the American academy aided Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 173 [ . Who in the academy or the art world has not witnessed these testimonies of the new empathetic intellectual or these flaneries of the new nomadic artist?”23 The artist as ethnographer is Foster’s object of derision here.21 but in terms of the politics of cosmopolitanism. and ultimately. .22 as well as part of the scenario for ethnic studies in the United States. Art historian Hal Foster comments on the negative aspects of this tendency with biting satire: “For then as now self-othering can flip into selfabsorption.20 but also to disseminate alternative possibilities to Western-centric cultural standards and angry protests and exuberant expressions of ressentiment so that vernacular cosmopolitanism can be “recognized” in a Hegelian dynamic of recognition. . Indian Nobel Prize–winning writer and poet Rabindranath Tagore would be a prominent example of a vernacular cosmopolitan from a non-Western site. selffashioning becoming “self-refurbishing. which I have called “asymmetrical cosmopolitanism” elsewhere.

and whose multilinguality and multiculturality are gestures of protest that reveal. The vernacular realm is not immune to class politics. Multiplicity implies the possibility of a given actor or agent mediated by and mediating multiple sources so that its intention and address need to be analyzed via multiple frames. because multiplicity is more than an aggregation of multiple binarisms. The question of the multiplicity of address for a given struggle is of theoretical importance here. contexts. The multiple mediations of a given artwork require the substitution of binaric models by an openness to multiple references with perhaps less clearly delineated horizons of understanding but a promise of new meanings and new possibilities of signification. unseemly aspects of a theorist’s work (such as Martin Heidegger’s association with Nazism and ] 174 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . While much of the critique of identity politics may be theoretically unsound and empirically flawed. We oftentimes see. The multiplicity here is not the multiplicity without responsibility. and other such binary struggles and duals in search of sublimation. more than anything else. and references. Time and again. that self-styled marginalists are in the core more Eurocentric than the centrists. as did postcolonial theorists discussed earlier. as Linda Alcoª has convincingly shown. whose worldly horizon is oftentimes the extent of predominantly metropolitan culture spiced with fashionable ressentiment to it. a lovelike obsession with the metropolitan West. for instance. a notion of multiply mediated cosmopolitanism on the margins of empires allows for a much more expansive discussion of a given work of art or text without having to sacrifice complexity. which metropolitan cosmopolitanism can legitimately be faulted for. The upper-class marginalists who claim their marginality due to their race are very willing to flaunt their Eurocentric pedigree over those underdogs forced into the margin. It is also not the multiplicity of a ressentiment-driven vernacular cosmopolitan. Instead of seeking the third term by first setting up binaric models. then.25 the bind of Hegelian dialectical dynamic continues to dictate the terms of struggle as action and reaction. marginalization and centralization. but multiplicity as a necessary consequence and choice of those agents caught in the midst of and maneuvering among multiple imperial configurations. which may include meanings that are likely to cause discomfort. domination and the transnationalization of capital—that self-absorbing criticisms of British colonialism served to promote the careers of postcolonial studies scholars24—echoes many other critiques of what is sometimes viciously dismissed as victimology.

China. which awaits its conclusion each time threats are uttered across the Taiwan Strait. For the situation in Taiwan. so that it is possible to break from the circuit of oppression and marginalization. is achieved by setting the necessary precondition of perpetual war so that it can be overcome. it is the very condition of a cosmopolitanism that seeks to breathe a bit lighter and deeper while wearing a straitjacket. as well as their intersecCosmopolitanism among Empires ] 175 [ . and the exploitation of Third World labor. To return to the situation of Taiwan. Danger is therefore not the luxury to keep cosmopolitanism honest. gender oppression.” as Kant theorized. the portability and visibility of Taiwan’s visual culture. The two-part process that Kant described posits the premise of war as that which necessitates its structural overcoming through law and other rational means for peace to be possible. is endowed with the power of changing perceptions and transforming imaginaries precisely because it works through and with multiple registers and references that can move beyond the obsession with injury. the state of perpetual war is not just the premise but the result. To live within this existential condition is to have no luxury to philosophize that all that humanity should strive for.26 but because immanent danger is the existential condition of life in Taiwan under the shadow of empires. in its paradoxical lightness and smallness. This cosmopolitanism draws on the resources of Taiwan’s multiculture as well as world culture with multiple forms and objects of address. then. not because of a certain kind of masochistic need to make sure that one’s powers “may not slumber. In an ironic sense. be it political ideology. an installation artist who has challenged all known authorities in her work. and the West. but it has a vibrant culture and a strong contingent of cultural workers working in multiple directions with multiple traditions. In the context of heavy competition for size and hegemonic influence among empires. this is the kind of cosmopolitanism that lives well with dangers. then. purists of meaning that American scholars tend to be. it is also one of the top ten trading partners of the United States. peace.Jacques Derrida’s relationship to Heidegger’s work) shock us into disbelief and place us in an ethical conundrum. Although it is a minor country on the margins of global imperial formations and under the shadow of multiple hegemonies. the postcolonial model and the model of cosmopolitics are useful but limited. It is politically ostracized from all sides. UNTRANSLATABLE ETHICS The protagonist in question in this chapter is Wu Mali.

Instead of the flexibility and translatability that we find in Ang Lee’s early work analyzed in chapter 1. 1997). and Formosa Club (Baodao binguan. demands something beyond this reading. and these are Epitaph (Muzhiming. In the monotonous and iterative movement and sound of the waves against the rocks. These include the often-discussed series. in these early works. filmmakers. the piece is a typical feminist work that argues for the inclusion of women in the writing of history. and persistence. local viewing. a washing away of pain. In Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang. Wu arranged the testimonials of female relatives of male victims of the 228 Massacre in 1947 on both sides of a U-shaped exhibition space. whereby gendered suªering can be both embraced and transcended. or a chipping away at or an eroding of the hardness of suªering. The mode of ressentiment should not be the perpetual mode of being. however. What distinguishes her from Hung Liu. The video installation in the middle. and writers who either strategically deploy political or national allegory for the purpose of immediate recognition. she articulated her critique of Taiwan society. much like those of Hung Liu discussed in chapter 2. is that her politically and socially charged critiques were articulated within Taiwan with specifically local viewers and audience in mind. installed and exhibited at Taipei’s IT Park Gallery in 1998. Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang (Hsinchuang nuren de gushi. 1998). however. and its culture of sexism. Wu evokes nature’s expansiveness. testimonials of Hsin-chuang female textile workers are recorded onto the texture of the cloths hung on three sides of ] 176 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . In Epitaph (see color plate 6). Wu Mali aims her political allegories and culturally specific articulations for local consumption. the Formosa Stories (Baodao wuyu).tions. Wu’s political critique is clear: she recuperates the repressed histories of female victims in the commemoration of the 228 Incident. depth. Her internationally exhibited works are often quite divergent from these works. In a set of antagonistic works. and local critique. government. Unlike other transnationally situated artists. 1997). a herstory against history’s ellipsis of women. we see instead a certain principled position on the untranslatability among contexts and context-based representations. At this level of reading. or creatively utilize essentialized cultural material in postmodern form to give exoticism a contemporary and politically correct twist. Three of the five pieces within this series are specifically women-centered installations. The point is not just critique—the ruthless criticism of everything possible—but the possibility of transcending that critique. with a video of waves hitting against rocks placed in the middle of the space.

Telling Taiwan history from the sixteenth century on from a sexual perspective as the history built upon the exploitation and commodification of female bodies. their work not merely existing for its exchange value. needing to be recuperated to Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 177 [ . the American GIs during the Vietnam War. Sewing becomes a form of writing. The trinity of colonialist. these life stories are transformed to representation. moralistic phrase “Tianxia wei gong” (Serving the Public under Heaven)27 on the wall: the grand rhetoric is parodied to suggest male nationalists call for women to serve the public by serving men sexually. of. The grand narratives of the nation. the representation of the stories also heals. giving words form. Wu reinscribes the masculinist metaphor of the colonized nation as the raped woman into a feminist critique of the multiple patriarchal forces that have depended upon Taiwan women’s sexual labor for political and economic gains. Not only do their stories sewn into cloths register their hardship. texture. nationalist. words weaved into cloth. the beautiful island Formosa. forgotten. be it the colonialist. Recuperating this history thus exposes the hypocrisy of the national and economic narratives of Taiwan’s success. or the Taiwanese. In Formosa Club. serving the Japanese soldiers as “comfort women” during the Pacific War. Wu Mali is at once at her most ironic and most recuperative (see color plate 9). the Nationalist. but also through this form of expression. The verbosity of the testimonials in their quantity and density reveal the strong subterranean desire of these female workers to speak for themselves. All three pieces are eloquent articulations of how herstory is the underside of history.the U-shaped wall. Hence the ironic placement of a framed calligraphy of Sun Yat-sen’s Confucian. rather then to be spoken by. the patterns of their lives shown as patterns on cloths. hide behind them the blood and sweat of the most unspeakable form of labor. They are thus recuperated as not merely producers of cloth garments. but for its gendered ideological and cultural value. Like the Freudian talking cure. elided. The entire island of Taiwan. exploited. but producers of herstory. is a sex club. to art. if not local clientele of all hues and classes. repressed. and silenced. the medium that organically captures the experience of the female textile workers would be the cloth itself. and materiality (see color plates 7 and 8). or most frequently. If history is the record of male heroes with all the power and means of representation in the printed page and other media. the Japanese tourists during the heyday of Japan’s “sex tourism” to Taiwan. their protest. and capitalist expansion depends upon the dispensing of surplus male libido over the exploited bodies of local women. implying larger symbolic meanings.

S. There are two issues involved here. In their overt gestures toward Taiwan’s national history. it was Hong Kong around 1997. because it is that decontextualization that most readily allows for commodification. in the form of national allegories. The second issue of greater relevance here is in relation to the questions of ethics of representation that does not translate across national and transnational terrains. A decontextualized Cultural Revolution cri] 178 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . one can say. right as well as its economic prosperity. in other words. clear feminist representations of a gendered intervention into history within the national terrain of Taiwan. Taiwan is not known to the world for having had a particularly harrowing national history (even though it does in actuality) due to its political alignment with the U. is taken out of context. she is therefore not subject to potential censors within that original context. but they are not meant for consumption in the global multicultural market where national allegories sell well. They are. and is thus decontextualized. After all. the targeted audience being local Taiwanese. This can be illustrated by the contrast between the works of Hung Liu and Wu Mali. nor will her work have political eªect for those who are most immediately connected to that event. one conducive to the other. When social critique. while at the same time aªording means of healing or transcendence for the women involved. specific context in order to prevent it from becoming commodified. for instance). when the greatest number of national allegories were produced. its political meaning is easily commodified. The ethical potential of the former—social critique in the original context—is lost once it is taken out of context. There is a symbiotic relationship between national allegories and international attention. even the commodification of national allegories is a luxury.28 For a minor and minoritized country such as Taiwan. these installations can be putatively considered national allegories. Hung Liu’s critique of the Cultural Revolution occurs not in China but in the United States. By the untranslatability of ethics I suggest that social critique should maintain its relevance within a given.challenge the hypocrisy and hegemony of history. Neither does Taiwan hold the world’s fascination in any particular area. with the world paying it much attention. given its lack of clout in international politics. An obvious obstacle to the commodification of Taiwan’s national allegory is the lack of clarity as to how well it might sell—unlike countries such as China with consequential size and international power or those clearly Third World countries with corruption to expose and the so-called intractable traditions to overthrow (such as the practice of female circumcision and the veil.

the moment when the Chinese immigrant writer who writes in English. cosmopolitan themes. Ha Jin. If we look at the work of Wu Mali. its users themselves are often paralyzed by anxieties and ambivalences due to the confusion over what is Chinese. Hung Liu’s critique of foot-binding falls into the same category.” so to speak. as does her use of images from the imperial court of the Qing dynasty in the Last Dynasty series of oil paintings. rather than traumas that happened in China. we find a tendency toward universalistic. how do Taiwan artists enter the transnational terrain? What decipherable local cultural elements do they “own” to mark their nationality and ethnicity in particular. or shall we say. as Taiwan searches for a foothold in the transnational arena of cultural circulation. That teleological narrative is an eager immigrant’s form of assimilationism. The other important contrast pertains to the possession and use of cultural materials. is the cache. Most of the immigrant art from China that has gained prominence in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century is profuse with cultural signs and symbols that are easily recognizable as Chinese. Without the cache of “China” as cultural capital. who of all of Taiwan’s female artists is probably the most frequently exhibited outside Taiwan. Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 179 [ . what is Sinophone. The local then becomes a place of consequence and political investment. even though the Sinophone culture as a translated Chinese culture in diaspora can serve as this resource. narrativizes lives and experiences in the United States. themes that have moorings in Western culture as much as Taiwanese and Sinophone cultures. is the moment when Ha Jin becomes a local writer rather than an exiled writer. Taiwan artists find no ready recourse to master cultural codes easily recognizable by international audiences to make sense of a particular critique.tique is problematic when it serves to construct the exiled subject’s past in China as distress in self-conscious contrast to the present condition of opportunity and self-expression in the United States. and what is Taiwanese. or uniqueness in general? For reasons explained in the previous chapters. Xu Bing’s Book of the Sky series and Gu Wenda’s work with Chinese calligraphy are two prominent examples of how the deconstruction and critique of Chinese tradition (be it Confucian or Maoist) forms the core of their conceptual works. the rich repository of cultural materials and elements that are available for the immigrant Chinese artists’ use. In other words. as their claim on that repository is supposed to be unquestionable. Consequently. “China. ethicality does not translate across national and transnational boundaries. Similarly.

The examples in point are The Library series and The Sweeties series. In essence. very sharply and astutely. whose promise of recognition is rejected. the metropole is comforted by the safe distance between the sites of trauma and itself.CAN COSMOPOLITANISM BE ETHICAL? We may conclude the above discussion by noting that the pandering of national allegory by non-Western artists in the metropole constitutes an ethical problem in the sense that their objects of critique are far away from the metropole. The Library was first exhibited at the Venice Biennial of 1995.” and nor should she worry endlessly about how “an artist should sacrifice herself for the country. Wu Mali has remarked. albeit with cost. this minor cosmopolitanism is the ethical stance of a Taiwan artist refusing to fall into the self/other dynamic of transnational representation. If such is the case. whose centrality or superiority is thus not questioned or threatened. Two sets of three metal bookshelves line the two walls on each side of a ] 180 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . and how. In these refusals. it is an other-directed victimology that does not challenge the metropole. she refuses transnational politics of recognition in global multiculturalism and the role of a representative for her nation. then the question before us is whether the obverse of national allegory is a certain kind of cosmopolitanism. Wu extricates herself from the fast routes to recognition in both the global and local contexts. on the politics of self-presentation in the transnational context on various occasions. paradoxically. and it behooves us to consider the absence of national allegorical impulse in these works. Rather. These two pieces have traveled widely around various cities in the world. This refusal to play the game according to the rules of recognition is where the ethicality of her work lies. Such distancing techniques are similar in mechanism as self-exoticization or self-Orientalization.”29 In these very straightforward comments. or she should adorn herself in fineries like “an imperial concubine waiting for the emperor’s visit. She never thought she should choose “the most suitable and the most good-looking” outfit to wear to go out to the transnational art market.” and denies the nation the discursive monopoly over her work. She thus liberates herself from the clichéd logic of the relationship between the global and the local. refuses the passive role of a minor artist waiting to be “recognized. she refutes the strategy of using national allegories for transnational consumption. A short analysis of two pieces of installation art by Wu Mali that draw on world culture in very innovative ways is in order.

these works dare to refuse the particularisms Cosmopolitanism among Empires ] 181 [ . Nobel Prize–winning works of literature. Rooted in a multiplicity of address. becoming something like monosodium glutamate. and they are all shredded to pieces. Upon closer inspection. or as Wu Mali puts it. Eileen Chang. were all once children. and in the middle is a table with a glass bottle filled with shreds of paper (see color plate 10). Wu Mali had several exhibitions of this show in various sites (Germany. deploying global resources of culture as she sees fit. the reified culturalisms that these classics represent are literally dissolved into shreds of paper. This last composite image entitled Sweeties of the Century shows Oscar Wilde. these books bearing all kinds of classic titles turn out to be clear acrylic boxes filled with shredded paper. rematerialized. and so on. The other work is called Sweeties of the Century from 1999. Asia. Lin Hwai-min.31 and thus goes back to the childhood moments as unknown promises that could have turned out diªerently.32 Wu assumes a degree of agency toward the resources of world culture and approaches them with the same level of seriousness or dedication as she did to providing political commentary on Taiwan in her earlier work. etc. no matter whether they were villains or heroes. Rows of books are placed on these metal shelves. the United States. She “makes big people small again.” so to speak. By evocative presentation of the sharedness of childhood. Wu Da-you. Ernest Hemingway. stu‹ng the acrylic boxes lining the shelves as well as the glass jar on the table in the middle of the installation (see color plate 11). Wu suggests the possibility of a utopic.large window. etc. The books include the Bible. Annette Lu. and Taiwan’s vice president. Confucian texts. they also stand autonomously as objects d’art emerging from the destruction of classics.). Greek mythology. Petra Kelly of the Green Party in Germany are all included and juxtaposed in an unchronological fashion. The portraits of Hitler. Depending on the sites of the exhibition. she has also called the series Victorian Sweeties (because the exhibition was in a Victorian building. Eileen Chang. and the main idea of the installation is a kind of reminder that historically significant figures from Europe. Buddhist sutras.30 This act of clearing is also an act of agency. Rosa Luxemburg.). and elsewhere. which are material embodiments of a new global culture remade from the classics. universal humanism. Lin Hwai-min. deploying a multiplicity of references. While the shredded books make a clearly critical commentary on the world’s canonical culture and literature. By debunking classics from various parts of the world. Michel Foucault. these site-specific works dare to ponder universal themes. Taiwan.

and take the risk of nonrecognition. beyond what Manthia Diawara has called “the identity prison-house. Sweeties of the Century (2000). refer to the print version of this title.”33 But the vernacular cosmopolitanism thus conceived and transcended is a form of articulation within one nation-state and thus does not transport readily to the transnational context.] 26 Wu Mali. ] 182 [ Cosmopolitanism among Empires . of national allegory and self-Orientalization (in postmodern garb). One may align this position with other nonreactive vernacular cosmopolitanism that seeks to go beyond ressentiment. Used with permission of the artist. which may exaggerate cosmopolitan access. is historically specific to Taiwan’s position on the edge of empires. Wu’s position in the transnational context. She enters the transnational as a cosmopolitan artist perhaps because even national determinations are a luxury. in refusing and challenging cultural particularism. but in the end attesting to the vision that cultural work is the site of transformative social practice when political and other realms are thoroughly colonized by the contesting and colluding wills of empires. composite imagery. where even the articulation of ressentiment does not have any ready cache per se. Hers is a form of hyperbolic universalism articulated by a minor transnational artist.[To view this image.

such that inclusion can be as problematic as exclusion. Relational Aesthetics (1998) It is impossible to break with the theoretical past in one blow: in every case. can ] 183 [ . inclusion and exclusion often trace violent boundaries. words and concepts are needed to break with words and concepts. Desires for belonging.Let us remain open to what is happening in the present. they are often responses to the hailing of nationalism. —Nicolas Bourriaud. my foremost concern has been to challenge specific “regimes of authenticity”1 which are themselves but constructs that have exercised various forms of symbolic or physical violence against those who are either problematically included or flagrantly excluded. our capacities of understanding. The categories known as “China. after all. —Louis Althusser. and imperial intention as subjective desires for belonging and community.” and “Chineseness” are historically sedimented constructs built as much upon amnesia. which invariably exceeds. a priori. Desires for belonging. The various fault lines within a politics of inclusion can be just as disempowering and oppressive to those nominally included. furthermore. violence. For Marx (1965) Conclusion: The Time and Place of the Sinophone In coining the term Sinophone. be it nationalist pride or resistance. Within any regime of authenticity. but the diªerence between inclusion and exclusion can also be a matter of degree.” the “Chinese. can also be products of ideological and cultural suturing.

What we today deem to be the largest ethnic group in China. In its process of development.5 During the Spring and Autumn as well as the Warring States periods. which can itself be a form of colonialism.themselves be built upon symbolic and other forms of violence against the others who do not or cannot belong. An authoritative dictionary definition from China. deconstructive intention. and the two characters constituting the word. we find a connection back to the term China.” Zhongguo (literally. though limited. traces the physical process of geographical expansion: it originally included only the areas surrounding the Yellow River. the Middle Kingdom).6 The “Chinese diaspora” as the all-encompassing term for all ethnic peoples who have ancestral links to China oftentimes functions as the alibi for assigning ] 184 [ The Time and Place of the Sinophone . not a proper noun. was itself a mixture of various ethnicities. consisting of the mixture of the ancient Huaxia and other ethnicities over a very long time. referring to those feudal kingdoms that occupied central geographical areas. and big countries are called xia. furthermore. Colorful robes with decorative designs are called hua.”2 The phrasing “even more powerful” (geng jia zhuang da) and the verb “absorb” (xishou) imply a politics of power and incorporation. most likely unintended by the writer of this entry in the dictionary. [the Han] also continuously absorbed various ethnic minorities in order to make itself even more powerful. a beautiful and big country. Various ethnic peoples were made “Chinese” in a procedure that is known to us today as national consciousness. were nouns-cum-adjectives meaning “flower” or “beautiful” for the former. hence Huaxia for China. and it became the name of the nation only in the mid-nineteenth century. where the Huaxia settled. hua and xia. “middle kingdom” was a common.3 Recent scholarship in China has begun to explore the contours of “China” with a more. thus pointing back to the seemingly innocent term “mixture” (hunhe) in the first sentence as a terrain of unequal relations of subject (who did the mixing) and object (who got mixed).4 The coming-to-being of the Chinese term for “China. noting that it is not until the thirteenth century that “China” as such came into being. and that the geocultural boundary that we know to be China was the result of imperial expansion and Han cultural colonialism over time. states matter-of-factly that the Han “is the main ethnicity in China. the Han. If we further explore dictionary definitions of Huaxia. evidently secure in its centrality and unself-conscious of the potential implications. Huaxia is the ancient name for China. and “big” or “large” for the latter.

The linguistic community is a community of change and an open community. I hope to emphasize the following: 1. a priori condition readily subjected to racialization within countries of settlement. The so-called nostalgia for the ancestral land is often an indication or displacement of di‹culties of localization. ontological. culturalism. “Chineseness” becomes a category that can be quantified and measured. to nationalist hailings by China. racism. many choose to end their state of diaspora by the second or third generation. insisted upon. Diaspora has an end date. Emphasizing that diaspora has an expiration date is therefore to insist that cultural and political practice is always place-based. But stating the obvious itself is made imperative by the multiplicity of interested agents—nationalism. even though generations may have lived and died and centuries may have elapsed since the dispersal. When the descendants of immigrants no longer speak their ancestors’ languages. furthermore. either by force or by choice. privileging an ideology of origin that refuses to accept an end date to diaspora. Just as Anglophone speakers are not necessarily British The Time and Place of the Sinophone ] 185 [ . and most importantly. because it is defined not by the race or nationality of the speaker but by the languages one speaks. and to variously motivated cultural essentialisms. 2. while localization and settlement are devalued as meaningful measures of experience. Hanyu and other Sinitic languages. and the centrality of China as the homeland. Racism and other hostile conditions can force immigrants to find escape and solace in the past. Migration becomes a permanent condition. I am only stating the obvious. When the (im)migrants settle and become localized. the measurable quality and quantity of Chineseness. By proposing the linguistic category of the Sinophone. Everyone should be given a chance to become a local. and otherwise— insisting on the eternal validity of being Chinese. they are no longer part of the Sinophone community. It is an open community. occupying a transitional moment (however long in duration) that inevitably integrates further with local communities and becomes constitutive of the local. The Sinophone community is therefore a community of change. while cultural or other superiority complexes can estrange immigrants from the locals.Chineseness as an inescapable. If I were to say that the permanent state of migration is not at all a truthful representation of what has happened to those peoples who migrated out of China over the centuries.

or geographical one. As this transformation takes time. the transition from being a Taiwanese to a Taiwanese American (Ang Lee) or a Chinese to a Chinese American (Hung Liu) is a process that takes time.7 Hung Liu’s work complicates this narrative by constructing multiple antagonisms toward disparate yet connected agents of power. and language is to be blind to the existence of multilingualism. precisely because they are to perform a transformative function in people’s consciousness. cultural. Their spatial consciousness also progressively distances itself from China. To equate nationality. and thus identity is a temporal category. but antagonism itself may also paradoxically be a not-so-innocent strategy of commodification. together forming the “New Taiwanese” (xin Taiwanren). The question to ask is not so much what is Taiwanese American. linguistically determined communities necessarily trace porous and contingent boundaries. Hakkas. even though Taiwan’s geographical proximity and close economic ties to China ] 186 [ The Time and Place of the Sinophone . From being a certain kind of atavistic. Sinophone speakers need not be Chinese by nationality. Taiwanese. a teleological narrative that exposes severe fault lines of transnational encounters among women and feminists. race. Hers is the narrative of an immigrant from the Third World finding “liberation” from patriarchy (be it traditional or Maoist) in the liberal West. political. gender. minoritization is a process. fantastic. but also when is Taiwanese American. rather than simply an existential. and class determinations. With these two emphases in mind. A similar question can be asked about feminism: rather than what kind of feminist. and new immigrants (from Southeast Asia and elsewhere).” shandi tongbao). but rather when and where is one feminist? Hung Liu is a case in point. it transverses over space and place across the Pacific and implicates itself within a transpacific sphere of cultural politics.or American. the people of Taiwan have become “aboriginals” (no longer the pejorative “compatriots from the mountains. Observing Taiwan’s visual culture in the context of escalating tensions with China shows that resistant identities take time to construct and to take eªect. To the extent that communities may be multilingual. and universal “Chinese” under the imposed authenticity by the Guomindang regime. First of all. especially when the artists in question intend to be successful in a commercial arena saturated by entrenched race. now we can retrospectively consider the time and place conjunctions raised by the protagonists of the chapters in this book.

not the temporary. which required a war of independence. The present. when the majority of the Han population had just migrated from China to Taiwan. Within this race. but it can be said that the diaspora ended a long time ago. and this searching and constructing is a process that happens in time. “common language and common culture. Anderson tells us that language was never an issue for creole states in the Americas in their struggle for national liberation. Launching missiles near the northern coast of Taiwan was China’s way of militarizing the relationship between China and Taiwan and involving both sides in competitive weapons building and an arms race. Taiwan may have been a putatively diasporic community in the seventeenth century. appears to be the discursive basis for China’s claim over Taiwan. The moment when they realized that they would not return to China was the moment they decided that new sewage systems and new roads should be built because Taiwan is home. strategic post from which to “recover the mainland. For the first-generation mainlanders who immigrated to Taiwan in the middle of the last century and who are a small minority in Taiwan. is pregnant with possibilities and becomes the time and space of imagination and imaginative action with the potential to bring about change. so it is the prerogative of a Sinophone country like Taiwan to delink language and nation. The New Taiwanese identity is a processional one: contemporary history is the ground of the mise-en-scène of its happening and formation. then. Contemporary Taiwan is similar to what Benedict Anderson has called “creole states” such as the various states in Spanish America as well as the United States.” The usual negative eªects of fast-speed modernization such as environmental pollution and shoddy public works had been compounded by the mainlander Guomindang regime’s inability to see Taiwan as The Time and Place of the Sinophone ] 187 [ . which are led by people who share a common language with those against whom they fought.” the Japanese imperial dictum that helped justify Japan’s invasion of China in the early twentieth century. The Sinophone identity that is resistant to China seeks to articulate its diªerence from continental Chineseness by asserting the particularity of the local.may not change. as the eªect of a new identity discourse and practice can only be seen after the fact. the relationship between Taiwan and China is fraught with potential war. Time is what is necessary to validate the transformative functions of resistant identities.9 the decoupling of language and nation is also an everyday reality for many countries in Europe. their diaspora also has an expiration date.8 Like the tension that existed between the United States and Britain.

After the Hong Kong trilogy. which is oppressive or favorable to Hong Kongers depending on their position on freedom of speech. we have seen history in action with its retrocession to China in 1997.” after all.10 “China. Of course.home: why the need for long-term city planning or environmental protection when they had meant to be in Taiwan for only as long as it takes to recover China? Diaspora therefore expired even for these mainlanders when various local o‹cials in Taiwan were elected on the platform of improving public works. they can be transformative. and other such crucial issues of the day. their view of Hong Kong’s place in the global economy. This is identity transformation under the aegis of a controlling central government. The pre-1997 fervor to carve out a distinct Hong Kong identity against China’s impending containment is gradually giving way to a pan-Chinese identity. the making interior of Hong Kong into the vast interiority that is China itself. what is taking place in Hong Kong is the gradual interiorization of Hong Kong into China. the Chinese from China become “inlanders. and many others. what is distinct for Hong Kong artists is that these negotiations are not contingencies but necessities on their way to “becoming Chinese. the subway in Taipei. the protagonist of chapter 5. is a complex entity within which many diªerent negotiations may be possible. Taiwan has never been diasporic. the gradual demolition of the short-lived democratic system. Similarly for Hong Kong’s visual culture. Identities are therefore constructs in history and are place-based. and they change according to the new configurations in local reality vis-à-vis the translocal. as seen in the threat of the antisubversion law. for the aboriginals in Taiwan. as is China’s exertion of increased control over Hong Kong. tracing a reverse trajectory from that of Taiwan. the hot springs in Pei-tou. One may say that. began to explore the many possible relationships Hong Kong could have with China other than the anticolonial one. their (dis)connection to o‹cial Chineseness. The realignment of what is interior and what is exterior is taking place. and increased censorship of the media.” or “those from the interior” (neidi ren) rather than “mainland cousins” or just “mainlanders” who were problematically feminized and sexualized in the movie series discussed in chapter 3. Precisely because identities have the capacity to change. historical town preservation in Hsin-chu. such as the riverside walk in Tamsui. Fruit Chan.” As the Hong Kongers become Chinese. It bears repeating that instances of Sinophone culture in flux show how the ] 188 [ The Time and Place of the Sinophone . despite the struggles of some local intellectuals and politicians for autonomy.

and even aspects of grammar are divergent. while Mandarin is more obviously Sinophone by comparison. The attribution of “dialect” status to languages on the margins emanates from the center itself as the actualization of an imperial intention. and others can be deployed for more complex understandings of histories and cultures. diction. Ethnic studies. creolization. accents. I oªer several tentative answers by way of the following proposals: 1. postcolonial studies. which is very similar to the Chinese standard putonghua. Sinophone studies allows us to rethink the relationship between roots and routes by questioning the conceptions of roots as ancestral rather than The Time and Place of the Sinophone ] 189 [ . these terms describe a limited and partial reality of the communities in question. and the various aboriginal languages in Taiwan are clearly separate languages from putonghua. it is possible to propose organizing concepts other than such essentialist notions as “Chineseness” and the “Chinese. not to mention enunciation. Most Taiwanese also prefer to speak Minnan over Mandarin. what is standard and what is not. after all.11 Minnan. other “phone” studies. living things that are constantly changed by their usage in particular contexts— are they still the same language? Is American English the same language as British English? Victor Mair has suggested. By debunking the “Chinese diaspora” as the organizing concept for the study of various immigrant peoples who left China from centuries ago up to the present. but the multilingualism and multiculturalism in all these locations remind us that.Sinophone can only be a transitional category and a partial description of the complexities of culture in a given location. which defines. What does Sinophone studies do. for instance. then? Or rather. transnational studies. that what we consider to be dialects are actually separate languages. such as Francophone studies and Anglophone studies. localization. and additional relevant modes of inquiry may all be drawn from for Sinophone studies. Hakka. as adjectives. The majority of Taiwanese may speak Mandarin. 2. through an artificially constructed hierarchy. métissage. When languages diverge due to historical changes and diªerent social formations—languages are. but the particular inflections.” Instead. what can Sinophone studies do? To these questions. Taiwan is Sinophone to a similar extent that Mexico is Hispanophone or the United States is Anglophone. rigorously rearticulated concepts such as multiplicity.

articulatory position beyond the conventional association of Taiwan with the American right.S. Transcending national borders. first-generation immigrants is. The listlike manner in which I write these proposals is my way of organizing the many possibilities that are opened up by the notion of the Sinophone. policies of containment as well as their collusion and complicity without being forced to choose one over the other. and that the list is also a limited one that does not prescribe what Sinophone ] 190 [ The Time and Place of the Sinophone . Sinophone communities can maintain a critical position toward both the country of origin and the country of The claim of rootlessness by some nostalgia-driven. can become roots. To link homeness with the place of residence therefore becomes an ethical act that chooses concrete political engagement in the local. It is no longer an either/or choice between the ancestral land and the local place. so that Taiwan can be critical of Chinese and U. In the case of Taiwan. A Chinese American can be critical of China and the United States at the same time. middle-class. or routes as wandering or homelessness rather than a more mobile conception of homeness that is paradoxically also more ethical and place-based. oftentimes narcissistic to the extent that it is not aware of its own trenchant conservatism and even racism. this double critique allows for the emergence of a critical. allows for the emergence of a critical position that does not succumb to nationalist and imperialist pressures. but the politicization of that mobility. When routes can be roots. Routes. to emphasize that the list is an open one awaiting addition and modification on the one hand. multidirectional critiques are not only possible but also imperative. which has been shown to jeopardize the well-being of the immigrants and their descendants. 3. This is not a theory of mobile citizens who disidentify from the local nation-state and disengage from local politics.12 To decouple homeness and origin is to recognize the imperative of living as a political subject within a particular geopolitical space in a specific time with deep local commitments. The Sinophone as a concept. then.13 The place of residence can change—some people migrate more than once—but to consider that place as home may thus be the highest form of rootedness. then. for example.

But just as oral languages are constantly inflected by loan words and syntax. that is. as well as those sinophone places not studied in this book— spanning Latin America.14 By way of conclusion and returning to the issue of visuality. But coevality occurs in The Time and Place of the Sinophone ] 191 [ . a transnational or global politics of culture more readily enters into the making of film and art in non-Western sites. there are diªerent ways of being global or transnational. are therefore rather commonplace. we all live in the same context of globalization. neocolonialism. Southeast Asia. But as the past ten years of transnational and global studies have shown. We all live in the same transnational moment. and created. Charges that Asian filmmakers willingly engage in self-Orientalization.can be or may be. basically the rest of the world— oªer us a rich transnational body of texts that challenge us to explore their local and translocal meanings and exigencies. now in more postmodern and formally intelligent fashions. Africa and Europe. pre-1997 Hong Kong. Sinophone visual culture through film and art is as open to the world and inflected by cultural cross-fertilizations as well as cultural politics. new meanings are assigned. The potential of the Sinophone in its global reach is never far away from the threat of China-centrism that can be appropriated by the emergence of China as a superpower. Film and art from Taiwan. As visual culture all around the globe responds to the hegemonic dissemination of Euro-American visual culture. and we may say that all cultures are becoming more and more transnationalized: this is the recognition of the coevality of all cultures in the contemporary moment. as oral language. Sinophone America. are open to the world through their production of visual culture. Reflecting the immense variety of geopolitical locations within which Sinophone communities are situated. Sinophone visual culture as such is an unbounded entity. as images travel faster and faster through electronic and virtual means. and global capitalism from those transnational cultures resistant to them is the work that is urgently needed. it is also important to emphasize the diªerence and similarity between visual language and spoken language. whether aimed for local or Western markets. attributed. As terms enter into circulation. if not more so. The gradual increase of the usage of the term by scholars has already begun to enliven the life story of the term itself. on the other. because visual language as form is as porous. Sinophone communities. Careful delineation of those global and transnational cultures complicit with imperialism. With visual medium becoming more and more the primary means through which identity in process is articulated. while tracing porous linguistic boundaries.

] 192 [ The Time and Place of the Sinophone . but the risk of Chinacentrism in the context of the global emergence of China will hopefully keep it honest. The end result may be critical or complicit. and thus the power politics of the contemporary must be as rigorously critiqued as was the politics of modernity. they lose their articulatory function as the fulcrum of resistant and transformative identities.uneven political and economic terrains. When Sinophone expressive cultures become complicit with Chinacentrism. Sinophone visual culture is the minor form of the transnational that occurs through creolization of major languages (whether oral or visual) while being a culture in and of itself.

5. for the pivotal role Hong Kong cinema played in the rise and growth of Chinese cinema in Shanghai in the early twentieth century. Cantonese-language cinema from Hong Kong is the only nonstandard sinitic-language cinema that can challenge the Mandarindominated cinema from China and elsewhere. Minnan (Taiwanese) cinema has been much smaller in scope and influence. After the Revolution: Waking to Global Capitalism (Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press. I am using the definition of the term overdetermination from Peter Gay’s Freud for Historians.NOTES INTRODUCTION 1. ] 193 [ . 82–89. 3. quoted in Arif Dirlik. 102–3. 2. Dirlik. 1977). After the Revolution. CA: Stanford University Press. 101. Marxism and Literature (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2003). 4. 1994). Raymond Williams. I explore this transpacific dimension in detail in chapters 1 and 2. See Poshek Fu. Between Shanghai and Hong Kong: The Politics of Chinese Cinemas (Stanford.

ed. Sheridan (New York: Pantheon. ed. 11. Stuart Hall. Vision. and London: MIT Press. 1997). Mitchell. especially Camera Lucida. 20. Mitchell. Her example also includes Homi Bhabha’s use of mirror imagery as the reduction of the visual to an “evil doubling colonial eye. Race. as well as Jameson. Downcast Eyes. Postmodernism. J. 1996). chap. 1995). 1988). Samuel Weber. 18. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zone Books. 17. Picture Theory. Martin Jay. 16. Julie Rose (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1993). Michel Foucault. NC: Duke University Press. 78–80. Picture Theory (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. See Fredric Jameson. A. Walter Benjamin. Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Mass Mediauras (Stanford. MA. 6. Debord. 14. Roland Barthes. T.6. Ethics of Ambiguity. 122.” in Illuminations. 15. even though Barthes’s writings. 1993). Hannah Arendt. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Citadel Press. 10. trans. 1998). trans. ed. Anthony King (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 93–135. CA: Stanford University Press. 1976). 1994). Paul Virilio as discussed in Rey Chow. esp. The statement is Gore Vidal’s. The Cultural Turn (London: Verso.” The Seeing Century. W. 1994). 3–27. Deborah Poole. NJ: Princeton University Press. Writing Diaspora (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The Cultural Logic of Global Capitalism (Durham. 26–27. 1981). trans. Wendy Everett (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi. Society of the Spectacle. 7. Martin Jay. “Scopic Regimes of Modernity. and the World-System. Cited in Wendy Everett. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang. 2000). 17–18. Hal Foster (Seattle: Bay Press. 16. and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World (Princeton. 1996). 19. 1–20. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books. 8. Society of the Spectacle. have ] 194 [ Notes . 329–53. or. Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images (Cambridge. Guy Debord. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. 5.” in Vision and Visuality. “Introduction. Ironically. 1991). See Jay.” See Barbara Maria Staªord.” in Culture. 16–18. “The Local and the Global: Globalization and Ethnicity. 9. Martin Jay interprets Barthes’s work as generally negative of vision and visuality. See esp. 1997). Derrida is Staªord’s example of someone whose theory has propagated logocentrism. Paul Virilio. 217–51. 1977). trans. Simone de Beauvoir. The Vision Machine. 7–23. 1969). trans. 12. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. ed. Picture Theory. Discipline and Punish. Mitchell. 13. 180. 13–15. 27. 67–96. trans. Globalization.

1 and 2. Dirlik.been very influential in the study of the semiotics of film and photography.” Mosaic 35. Harvey. See his introduction to Cosmopolitan Capitalists: Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora at the End of the 20th Century. 34. “Transnational Subjects: Constituting the Cultural Citizen in the Era of Pacific Rim Capital. no. Eleanor Kaufman and Kevin Jon Heller. Culture and Value.” See Katharyne Mitchell. Society of the Spectacle. Beller. esp. no. 5. Gary Hamilton cites Fernand Braudel for the notion of la longue durée as used here. 21. 2000). 24. 29. Good Looking. 1990). Ben Fowkes (New York: Penguin Books. 85–97. Downcast Eyes. 77–95 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Spaces of Hope.” in Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism. 4. 1984). by global multiculturalism. 1996). T. ed. and Culture. 1999). 31. 22. 119. 25. 1998). chaps. See her Living Room Wars (London and New York: Routledge. 60–64. Spaces of Hope (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 228–56 (London: Routledge. “The Surplus Value of Images. 33. 1 ( January 2004): 16–30.” in Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics. Gary Hamilton (Seattle: University of Washington Press. I mean the culturalist constellation of national cultures constituting a global form of multiculturalism that ethnicizes and minoritizes national cultures from nonmetropolitan countries. 28. according to Ien Ang. Philosophy. Hence even melodramatic identifications by female television and film viewers are means of living out and testing diªerent lives and the limits of their current lives. After the Revolution. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Notes ] 195 [ . trans. Ludwig Wittgenstein. chap. NC: Duke University Press. Good Looking.” PMLA. David Harvey. Peter Winch (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. vol. Staªord. See Karl Marx. Staªord. W. Jonathan L. 8. 39. see Aihwa Ong. 411. “Global Literature and Technologies of Recognition. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini. 1999). 32. 26. and Modernity. For flexible citizenship. 27. Mitchell. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality (Durham. 23. Debord. 71–72. 1997). 30. See Shu-mei Shih. 1. trans. “Capital/Cinema. ed. 3 (September 2002): 1–23. 200–212. Quoted in Poole. ed. J. Vision. 1e. chap. Large houses built to the limits of their lot in old and quaint neighborhoods in Canada by Hong Kong immigrants have been disparaged as “monster houses. 411. Race. 20. See Jay.

50. trans. with Charles O’Brien (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Ben Brewster (New York: Monthly Review Press. 41. chap. 1981). White Masks. trans. 30. Visual and Other Pleasures (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. trans. Louis Althusser. 180. 44. ed. 1990). Although this statement is meant to be purely formalistic as a means to analyze the semiotics of film. 47. 7. Vision. Mitchell. 5–6. Other (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The quoted phrase appears on p. The Imaginary Signifier. 1998). Jay. 133–46. 22–23. Picture Theory. Downcast Eyes. NY: Cornell University Press. for a summary and critique of the apparatus theory. “Scopic Regimes of Modernity. Jacques-Alain Miller (New York and London: W. ed. and Modernity. 1999). Irigaray. Gillian G. 38. 45. 1–15. trans. See Jay. Ibid. 39. 1–20. Camera Obscura of Ideology. See also Franz Fanon’s discussion of the desire of the colonized to be looked at in a Hegelian vein in Black Skin. Poole. 3. Speculum of the Other Woman. W. 43. Gill (Ithaca. trans. Imaginary Signifier. Francesco Casetti. 40. Seeing Century. see Luce Irigaray. Louis Althusser. Charles Lam Markmann (New York: Grove Weidenfeld. and Alfred Guzzetti (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Lenin and Philosophy. 1967). E. 49. The quotation appears on p. 1989). it works well to describe film’s ideological eªect. trans. Ben Brewster. Alan Sheridan. 1971). Everett. Trinh T. 162. and Laura Mulvey. Native. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. For the gendered structure of gaze. NY: Cornell University Press. “A Denial of Diªerence: Theories of Cinematic Identification. 1985). Minh-ha. 1989).35. 72. 177. 47. Metz. Inside the Gaze: The Fiction Film and Its Spectator. 42. 1971). Ben Brewster (New York: Monthly Review Press. Norton. Anne Friedberg. Jacques Lacan.” in Psychoanalysis and Cinema. 46. 3–68. 48. Woman. “Local and Global. Annwyl Williams.” in Lenin and Philosophy. Sarah Kofman. 36. Nell Andrew. 106. The quotation is from p. Will Straw (Ithaca.” In this article. Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. 37. 471–91. 36–45. Hall notes how the “English eye” others and marginalizes the colonized. trans. 17. Race. Christian Metz.. trans.” 3–23. 8–10. esp. See Hall. Ann Caplan (New York and London: Routledge. Speculum of the Other Woman. Celia Britton. 1977). 42. ] 196 [ Notes .

Ibid. and project identities. Linda Alcoª and Eduardo Mendieta. 57. By project. MA: Blackwell. 33–36. 43. Hames-Garcia (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Dirlik. Capitalism in the Age of Globalization (London and New York: Zed Books. Power of Identity. xv. 53. 56. Alcoª. 62. 335.. “Epistemic Status. MA: Blackwell. 2. Alcoª. Linda Alcoª argues in this regard that the critique of identity is purposefully conducted by some to deflect the power of the other over the self. eds. 62. Class. Identities: Race.” in Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism. ed. “Who’s Afraid of Identity Politics?” in Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism. he means the production of new identities enabling the transformation of the social structure. Hames-Garcia (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 10. CA: Stanford University Press. 52. Mohanty. 2. After the Revolution. 1997). Ibid. Power of Identity. Paula Moya and M.51. Alain Touraine: “The transformation of individuals into subjects results from the necessary combination of two a‹rmations: that of individuals against communities. 64. Notes ] 197 [ . 2000).” 58. Paula Moya and M. Castells. The Power of Identity (Malden. 2000). 78–80. Castells. ed. Judith Butler’s discussion of melancholia as fundamental to subject-formation in The Psychic Life of Power (Stanford. resistance. See. The contemporary version of the idea of national characteristics is the hot topic of the “quality” (suzhi) of the Chinese people. 89–99. vol. The early twentieth-century version of national characteristics is evinced in the work of none other than the father of modern Chinese literature. 65. “Identity Politics. 59. Samir Amin.. The Information Age. 8. 2003). 58. 63. negative characteristics as a literary doctor. who saw his mission to be curing the diseased Chinese people inflicted with a host of recognizable. “The Epistemic Status of Cultural Identity. Satya Mohanty. 61. Lu Xun.. 1997). 1997). Weber. and that of individuals against the market. for instance. Mass Mediauras. and Nationality (Malden.” 331. Castells’s typology includes only legitimizing. 55. 60. The argument goes that the quality of the Chinese needs to be improved in order for China to advance quickly on the path of modernization. 3. 54.” Quoted in Manuel Castells.

1965). Toronto. New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore. See. 2003). MD. New York. Pan. 156–58. Sons of the Yellow Emperor. Cheshire. ed. 69–96 (Lanham. Carolyn Cartier. The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy (Cambridge. communities of people from China could already be found in port cities throughout the region. 289–95. 1997). Wang Gungwu. and Pan. “Dual domination” is Lingchi Wang’s descriptive term for this condition. for instance. “The Structure of Dual Domination: Toward a Paradigm for the Study of the Chinese Diaspora in the United States.” Sino-Platonic Papers 29 (September 1991): 1–31. 67. for instance. 70. “Diaspora and Social Restructuring in Postcolonial Malaysia. Wang Gungwu. 1–2 (1995): 149–69. Wang Gungwu. 74. Trade routes between China and Southeast Asia were opened as early as the second century. London: Little Brown.” which is also a chapter title in Pan’s book Sons of the Yellow Emperor: A History of the Chinese Diaspora (Boston. 68. Boulder. David L. Kenley.” in Cosmopolitan Capitalists: Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora at the End of the 20th Century. where only about 56 percent of its population is Latvian and the rest are Russians and others. 78. C. Lawrence J. 69. “Chineseness: The Dilemmas of Place and Practice. as well as Amin. Gary Hamilton. See C.66. 2000). Chinese Overseas. 1919–1932 (New York and London: Routledge. 72. The Third China (Melbourne: F. We can think of Latvia.” in The Chinese Diaspora.” Amerasia Journal 21. Victor Mair’s important work shows that what we know to be standard Chinese belongs to the Sinitic language group. where the mistakenly named “dialects” are not variations of standard Chinese but are actually diªerent languages. ed. 1999). Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield. See Lingchi Wang.. W. 1990). nos. See Victor Mair. ed. 75. F. 71. 76. CO. Emanuel Wallerstein’s three-volume The Modern World-System (San Diego: Academic Press. Sons of the Yellow Emperor. Ma and Carolyn Cartier. Capitalism in the Age of Globalization. 163–85. Minnan and Cantonese are thus diªerent languages from Mandarin (Taiwan standard) and putonghua (China standard). 1974–1989). See also Mair’s intro- ] 198 [ Notes . 73. Ethnic Chinese as Southeast Asians (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Lynn Pan lists these peoples under the category “hybrids. “What Is a Chinese ‘Dialect/Topolet’? Reflections on Some Key Sino-English Linguistic Terms. Instructive comparisons can be made between Sinophone societies and those European countries where nationality and ethnicity are clearly not equated. 118–34 (Seattle: University of Washington Press. MA: Harvard University Press. both exemplify this. FitzGerald. 79–97. 2003). 77. See Leo Suryadinada. and by the sixth century.

Picture Theory. small China) that was more authentically Chinese than the Manchu Qing dynasty. and London: MIT Press. New York. MA. no. August 22. 89. 5 (October 2004): 1289. 84. 88. and Paul Rakita Goldin. 2004. even the ethnic category of the Han is a construction.” 82. 2002). Kamal Salhi (Lanham. CO. 2005). 105–14. no. 83. 83–107. 91. For this particular view on the historical character of what Benjamin calls “dialectical images. 1–7. 4 (September 2005): 15–53. The Postcolonial Literature of Lusophone Africa (Evanston. 85. Oxford: Lexington Books. For Lusophone Africa.. Similarly. and Its Director Thanks ‘Crouching Tiger.” Los Angeles Times. 4–5. The release of Hero in the United States was delayed until 2004.” PMLA 119. Farewell China is the title of a film made by then Hong Kong–based British-trained filmmaker Clara Law. while Hero first opened in China in 2002. MD. 86.” Chung-Wai Literary Monthly 34. Taiwan cultural critic Yang Zhao’s famous book Farewell China (gaobie Zhongguo) captures this sentiment vividly.” as this literature is categorized by language. 79. September 2. 93. 1989). “Diaspora and Social Restructuring. ChosQn Korea considered itself the sojunghwa (literally.” see Susan Buck-Morss. “The Yellow and the Black: The African-American Presence in Sinophone Chinese American Literature. Margaret A. Craig Smith. Francophone Studies (London: Arnold. 1985). see Patrick Chabal et al. “The Francophone World Moves into the Twenty-first Century. E4. Notes ] 199 [ . “A Tiger Still Crouching. linguistic designation allows the possibility of overcoming distinctions made solely based on ethnicity or race. See this volume’s conclusion for an elaboration of this point. 210. eds. 92.duction to Victor Mair. Crouching Tiger was released in 2000. Hawai’i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouªe. IL: Northwestern University Press. 2003). ed. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (London: Verso. 2004. B5. 217. See Sau-ling Wong. “‘Hero’ Soars. 1996). 80. Boulder. 90.’” New York Times. B1. “Sinophone Asian American literature” may simply be changed to “sinophone American literature. Cartier. Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt. Margaret Majumdar. “Figuration. Mitchell. the latter referring to sinitic-language-speaking American communities. The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Cambridge.” in Francophone Post-Colonial Cultures. Majumdar. 87. one can make a distinction between Chinese America and sinophone America. 290–91. 81. Of course. Again. Mieke Bal..

Aihwa Ong. chap. no. 122. Colonialism. chap. 247. 1–14. 98. 6.94. The Condition of Postmodernity (Cambridge: Blackwell. Also see Anthony King. (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. 137. 1. Globalization. 3. 3–33 (London and New York: Routledge. “Introduction: Chinese Transnationalism as an Alternative Modernity. Debates in Continental Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press. Arjun Appadurai. ed.” on the arts as having the dynamic tendency toward possibility. Weber. “A Tiger Still Crouching. The Story of Qiu Ju and Not One Less. 2 (2004): 14–23. 2. 205. “On the Edges of Empires: Flexible Citizenship among Chinese in Diaspora. 1. Mass Mediauras. 95. 2004). Anthony King. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini. Thomas Mathiesen’s notion of the synopticon is summarized by Zygmunt Bauman in Globalization: The Human Consequences (New York: Columbia University Press. Richard Kearney. 5.” in Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese ] 200 [ Notes . 7. Spaces of Knowledge. ed. “Afterword: Toward a Cultural Politics of Diaspora and Transnationalism. Mike Featherstone. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. and the World-Economy: Cultural and Spatial Foundations of the World Urban System (New York: Routledge. 1997).” Los Angeles Times. 39–45. 1996). ed. NC: Duke University Press. 1997).” in Global Culture: Nationalism. 1998). 97.” Positions: East Asian Cultures Critique. 1997).” Film International 8. Frederick Buell. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini. no. 2004. Anthony King (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Globalization and Modernity. 1990). 96. See Paul Ricoeur interviewed by Richard Kearney. National Culture and the New Global System.” in Culture. Lisa Lowe. “Introduction: Spaces of Culture. National Culture. 1. Evans Chan notes that this imperial trajectory was prepared by Zhang’s increasing conformism to the Chinese government in two previous films. 8. 1990). Urbanism. 82–107. 3 (1993): 745–78. 4. See his “Zhang Yimou’s ‘Hero’: The Temptations of Fascism. 1. “Global Culture: An Introduction. August 22. 8. “The Power of the Possible. and the World-System: Contemporary Conditions for the Representation of Identity. Mike Featherstone (London: Sage. E4. 1990). Buell. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (Durham. GLOBALIZATION AND MINORITIZATION 1. 44–45. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini. 1994). David Harvey. 196–205. 51–53.” in Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism.

67. 1992). 13. See Harvey. 324. Todorov. Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 3–8.Transnationalism. Roland Barthes. R. “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality.) 19. 116. Globalization. W.” in On Narrative. Mariana Torgovnick.” in Speaking the Other Self: American Women Writers. 10. 111–29 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press. chap. 1982). 7. 11–17 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 159–60. The Nation and Its Fragments (Princeton. “Ethnicizing Gender: An Exploration of Sexuality as Sign in Chinese Immigrant Literature. 1986). “The Reality Eªect. 1996). Anthony King (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ed. Rob Wilson and Wimal Dissanayake (Durham. 16. Shirley G. T. ed. chap. 1985). 1995). Nationalist Thought in the Colonial World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. “Nationalism and Korean American Women’s Writing: Theresa Hak-kyung Cha’s Dictee. Gender and Nation (London: Sage. 1993). 7. 14. and the World-System: Contemporary Conditions for the Representation of Identity. chap. Modernity at Large. 1997). I am using the term Third World as inclusive of the geopolitical Third World and the Third World within the First World (ethnic minorities) after Chandra Mohanty. 1967). and Lourdes Torres. Radhakrishnan. 12. 1996). Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Partha Chatterjee. Immigrant Acts. Rey Chow. 22. T. 21. 20. 144–62 (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press. 1997). 196. NJ: Princeton University Press. 1980). 1997). and Contemporary Chinese Cinema (New York: Columbia University Press. 112. Ethnography. Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouªe. 9. Hayden White.” in French Literary Theory Today. ed. Stuart Hall. The Sense of an Ending (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Closure in the Novel (Princeton. Notes ] 201 [ . Also see Shu-mei Shih. Sau-ling Wong. (Emphasis in the original. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini (London and New York: Routledge.” in Global/Local: Cultural Production and the Transnational Imaginary. Primitive Passions: Visuality. “Real Virtuality. Condition of Postmodernity. eds. 9. Sexuality. 1991). Chatterjee. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (London: Verso. Anna Russo. NJ: Princeton University Press.” in Culture. Mitchell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Frank Kermode. 1981). “Old and New Identities. 18. ed.” in Reading the Literatures of Asian America. NC: Duke University Press.. ed. 1997). J. 17. ed. Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto. Lowe. Jeanne Campbell Reesman. 15. ed. Lim and Amy Ling. Nira Yuval-Davis. Old and New Ethnicities. Appadurai. 11.

China Times Weekly 65 (March–April 1993): 75.” Film Comment. 1 ( Winter 1995): 1–60. July 4.” paper given at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. 1996.” New York 29. The film was released on video only after the success of Ang Lee’s later two films. Sarah Kerr.” Far Eastern Economic Review. August 10. H20. Suzanne Hamlin. Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival Executive Committee. Edward Said. 34. Jeªery Paul Chan et al. 1–92 (New York: Meridian. Hong Kong) 2 (1994). “‘To Love. 27. “Heterosexualized Homosexual Love: Ang Lee’s ‘The Wedding Banquet. 39. Jack Kroll. no. 37.” Newsweek. 1996. July 31. 35. January 22. H9. and January 4. January-February 1996. “Nationalism and Sexuality in Global Economy: Presentations of the Chinese Diaspora in The Wedding Banquet. 1991). 1994. “Sense and Sensitivity. 26. A1. 32. there were clear references to the Tiananmen Massacre. ed.” New York Times. 31. 29. 1994.22. A1. 1996. 1996): 43–47. 28. and Dismay’: Subverting the Feminine in Ang Lee’s Trilogy of Resuscitated Patriarchs. C3.” New York. 1995. David Denby. Hamlin. 38. December 18. April 18. Frank Chin. Donald Lyons. “Cultural Revolution: Taiwan Director Ang Lee Takes on Jane Austen. 110. no. 1994. 30. 40. ed. September 1994. “Come All Ye Asian American Writers of the Real and the Fake. Mark Chiang. Bruce Williamson. January 22. 24. “Chinese Haute Cuisine: Re-creating a Film’s Starring Dishes. Cynthia Lew. Honor. “The Melancholy of Old Age: Ang Lee’s Immigrant Nostalgia. 33. 28–29 (Taipei: Shibao chubanshe. B2. 1979). 25. Chinese Daily News. 66–68. “Passionate Precision: Sense and Sensibility. In an earlier version of the film script. See chapter 4 for a detailed analysis of Taiwan’s consumption of “China” in changing contexts. 1996. 1996. Lin Neumann.. Orientalism (New York: Vintage. 1991).’” Cultural Criticism (wenhua pinglun. December 28. Lau Mun-yee.” Playboy. 137–44. Kerr. 23. 1995. 97–98. “Sense and Sensibility. 36–41.” in Cinedossier: Ang Lee. “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Ang Lee. “Movies. “Jane Austen Does Lunch. See Peggy Hsiungping Chiao. 25. which Ang Lee cut out entirely to avoid political connotations. 13 (April 1.” in The Big Aiiieeeee. “Le Grand Excès Spices Love Poems to Food. Chinese Daily News.” New York Times. Chinese Daily News. 36.” ] 202 [ Notes . August 29. 26.” in Hitting Critical Mass: A Journal of Asian American Cultural Criticism 3. A.

Theodore Adorno. Ibid. Sinophone. Carmi Weingrod. Inderpal Grewal. April 9. Janet Maslin. 1983). 52. MA: MIT Press. 49. Emma Thompson. and U. Dialogue and Diªerence.41. or. Also see Marguerite Waller and Sylvia Marcos. 2.. For transnational feminist practice and transnational feminism. 46.. 51. 42. 3. 226. C15. ed. Chinese Daily News. Ibid. Illuminations. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books. Kobena Mercer. 1997.” 501–30.” Third Text 49 ( Winter 1999–2000): 59. “On the New Global Feminism and the Family of Nations: Dilemmas of Transnational Feminist Practice. 43. p. 20–22. Chinese Daily News. E.S. 2. Negative Dialectics. Chow. 51. Hannah Arendt. 48. no. 6.. 71. ‘When’ Does a ‘Chinese’ Woman Become a ‘Feminist’?” Diªerences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 13. 2005). 5. Walter Benjamin. Ashton (New York : Continuum.” New York Times. 45. May 20. December 13. ed. “In Mannerly Search of Marriageable Men. 1996). 232 and 228 respectively. 1969). See. divides in terms of transnational feminist practice: Shu-mei Shih. 4. 1998). the December 18.. Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age (Cambridge.” American Artist 58 (April 1994): 18–21. trans. 50. Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouªe. esp. 44. Montage. Ibid. Graham Fuller. issue of New York. 1985). 47. 207. See my companion article to this chapter in which I triangulate feminism across China.. 1995. 1995. 173–202. March 1996. 220. for instance. “Shtick and Seduction” Sight and Sound. Assemblage. “Collage. D6. D1. Dialogue and Diªerence: Feminisms Challenge Globalization (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. A FEMINIST TRANSNATIONALITY 1. B. 159. Ibid. Notes ] 203 [ . 2 (Summer 2002): 90–126. 22. eds.. “Towards an Ethics of Transnational Encounters. “Ethnicity and Internationality: New British Art and Diaspora-Based Blackness. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (London: Verso. Primitive Passions. This article is also anthologized in Waller and Marcos. see the articles collected in Ella Shohat. trans. 1996. The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries (New York: Newmarket Press.

Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. “Come All Ye Asian American Writers of the Real and the Fake. 60×80×9). 10. Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 3–7 (San Francisco: Rena Bransten Gallery. 16. teacups are placed upside down to show patriarchal denigration of women as spilled water. 9. Hung Liu registers her feminist intent prominently in all of her work from this period. 296. In a series of paintings entitled Family I (1990–91. and Ting-xing Ye’s A Life in the Bitter Wind: A Memoir. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Cultures. 1988). 72×108×12) and Family II (1991. 1–92 (New York: Meridian. 11. 1997). Hom. 218–19. The female images are fainter in these works. so it was not a prerogative of Maoist China. and Women’s Public Sphere in China. ed. and empty bowls are used to show how women were empty of value in traditional conceptions. 1987). 1986).. as she explains clearly in several interviews and numerous articles about her. 6 and 7. Suªering. Partha Chatterjee. trans. and Shawn Wong. Myrna Godzich and Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 13. ] 204 [ Notes . 12. Song number 210 from Marlon K. 15. Frank Chin. Gail Hershatter. 17. hence their existence is considered inconsequential to memory and history. Betrayal. 1999). Donald Kuspit. 8. the anti-foot-binding movement began as early as the late nineteenth century. 14. “Beyond the Passport Photograph: Hung Liu in Search of Her Identity.7. Songs of Gold Mountain. see Shih. For my discussion of Anchee Min’s autobiographical novel.” in Hung Liu. 312. See Hom.” 18. Consumer Sexuality. 1991). The Colonial Harem. chaps.” in Spaces of Their Own. Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. “From Gender Erasure to Gender Diªerence: State Feminism. 1993). 1992). Mayfair Yang (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mayfair Yang. Malek Alloula. Songs of Gold Mountain: Cantonese Rhymes from San Francisco Chinatown (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. “Transnational Encounters. to show how they are not commemorated in family lineage records. ed. and the Strength of the Human Courage. NJ: Princeton University Press. See Gayatri Spivak. Some notable examples include Anchee Min’s Red Azalea. ed. Jeªery Paul Chan. The Nation and Its Fragments (Princeton. 35–67. Anhua Gao’s To the Edge of the Sky: A Story of Love.” in The Big Aiiieeeee! ed. Frank Chin. In reality.

See. eds. “Bondage in Time: Footbinding and Fashion Theory. 85–88 (New York: Hill and Wang.. 1988–1998. 10. MA: MIT Press. This entire sentence was in italics in the original. 20. 1995. The quotation is from p. 24. Asian/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art (New York: New Press. 23.” Textual Practice 10. Gayatri C. Spivak. 31.” discussions Notes ] 205 [ . 21. 35. for instance. The exhibition was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from April 15 to June 25. OH: College of Wooster Art Museum..” in Greater China: The Next Superpower? ed. Ibid. The Face of China as Seen by Photographers and Travelers. Thalia Gouma-Peterson. On Postcoloniality (Houzhimin zhi) (Tapei: Datian. 1 (March 1997): 3–28. 24. Quoted on pp. and Shohat. Wong Bik-wan [Huang Biyun]. “Striptease. 89. 30. 197. David Shambaugh. Ibid. 1860–1912. Margo Machida. Exhibition catalog edited by Kathleen McManus Zurko ( Wooster. See Li Xiguang and Liu Kang. eds. 1978.. 1995). Mike Giuliano. Hal Foster. see Harry Harding.” Fashion Theory 1. 2003). This was an exhibition catalog of various photographs from several museums. Variations. 250–51. and Sharon Mizota. 2 (1996): 245–69. Behind the Demonization of China (yaomohua Zhongguo de beihou) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe. Susan Sontag. “Double Identity: East Meets West in Southeast Baltimore. 28. 1996). no. 26.. Although Macao and other Han Chinese communities abroad have been technically included in the more inclusive conception of “Greater China.19. 139. “The Concept of ‘Greater China’: Themes. 1996).” City Paper. 30. 8–34 (New York: Oxford University Press. The Return of the Real (Cambridge. archives. 1998). 3. March 29. 1994). 1978). “Hung Liu: Stories. NY: Aperture. and Reservations. 1982). THE GEOPOLITICS OF DESIRE 1. Talking Visions. 27. commentary by Nigel Cameron (Millerton. 22. For a useful genealogy of the term Greater China and its related issues. Dorothy Ko. 25.” in Hung Liu: A TenYear Survey. “Diasporas Old and New: Women in the Transnational World. Roland Barthes. 29. 153–68.” in A Barthes Reader. Elaine Kim. no. Identities and Borders. ed. and the catalog was published by Aperture in New York the same year. and personal collections.

“Go with Your Feelings: Hong Kong and Taiwan Popular Culture in Greater China. ed. chap. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Anna Russo. however. Mary Russo. My reply is that it is only through a direct engagement of their interrelationships that the fissures and contradictions of the “Greater China” ideology can be most thoroughly exposed and the coming into being of a Sinophone consciousness can be tracked. Andrew Parker. John Balcom. “Gender. This term itself registered a sense of deep link among these three places. See. Commu- ] 206 [ Notes . eds. shows reservations regarding the possibility of such cultural integration. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. and Taiwan film critic Peggy Hsiungping Chiao. 6. Zhong-gang-tai is a Hanyu neologism referring to China. Doris Sommer. “‘Tra‹cking’ in Chinese Films. Partha Chatterjee. The title of this collection of articles on Chinese cinemas reveals the sense of optimism then circulating regarding the formation of a pan-Chinese cultural sphere which was not premised on the constitution of a pan-Chinese nation-state before the March 1996 missile crisis in the Taiwan Strait. Although one of the aims of this chapter is to deconstruct the “Greater China” ideology as espousing a problematic integrationist logic. 8. the three key economic players. Engendering the Chinese Revolution: Radical Women. for instance. eds. see also Thomas Gold.. and Hong Kong: zhong from Zhongguo (China). the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival’s 1994 o‹cial publication called films in Chinese language “China Film” (Zhongguo dianying ): “Division” and “Reunion”: A Perspective of Chinese Films of the 90s (“duanlie” yu “fuhe”: zhanwang jiushi niandai Zhongguo dianying ). 10. 1994).” 7. when it is replaced by “Huayu” (Sinophone) or “Huaren” (Sinophone people). 1992). Chandra Mohanty. 2. and China. the juxtaposition of Taiwan and Hong Kong vis-à-vis China can be construed by some as a methodological enactment of this ideology. Patricia Yaeger. NJ: Princeton University Press. 1991). 4. 376–91 (New York: Columbia University Press. showing their prevalence in the mid-1990s. Race. no. Harding himself. David Shambaugh. and Lourdes Torres. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton. See Shu-mei Shih. 255–73. Deniz Kandiyoti. which again revealed the mid-1990s optimism about the possible emerging of a “pan-Chinese” culture until the missile crisis of 1996 and the retrocession of Hong Kong in 1997. Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Harding cites the circulation of these terms. Nationalisms and Sexualities (New York: Routledge.). Hong Kong.” in Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. 2 (1993): 97–101.have revolved mainly around Taiwan. gang from Xianggang (Hong Kong). 1993. “Zhongguo” (China) as such was not as much an issue as in the later years. Modern Chinese Literature 7.” trans. 3.” in Greater China: The Next Superpower? ed. The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China. and tai from Taiwan. Taiwan. and Semicolonialism. For this mid-1990s optimism. 5. 1917– 1937. Christina Kelly Gilmartin.. “Identity and Its Discontents.

Jagger and Paula S. We may say that it is the quintessential Sinophone publication. The Special Economic Zone has been playing the leading role in integrating China’s economy with the global system. The neologism for the father who travels back and forth between these sites is called the “astronaut” and the mother “inner beauty” (nei zai mei) for its homophonic punning with “wife in America. that the tra‹c in women. in other situations. By the late 1990s. 15. where foreign investment and global trade are encouraged with tax breaks and other benefits not found in the rest of China. 9. and this trend was also accompanied by outflow of capital from these two places to the United States.S. Taiwan. the Democratic Progressive Party. 1996. The fear of China’s takeover (in Hong Kong) and invasion (in Taiwan) fanned the trend to an unprecedented height in the years leading to 1997.” in Feminist Frameworks. 1996). Alison M. The little overseas students are also called parachute children. they are placed in special homes catering to this demographic group. a kind of diasporic nationalism continues to hold sway. The Chinese Daily News is a Hanyu newspaper published in Los Angeles with extensive coverage of news from China. 14. See Gayle Rubin’s classic essay.nist Politics. has been the means by which patriarchal kinship systems are maintained. through marriage and other ways. Hong Kong.” selling for NT$600 Notes ] 207 [ . 10. Coastal cities such as Shenzhen have been named the Special Economic Zone. Sometimes the mother accompanies them. often in their middle school or high school years. These young students. and Mass Movement in the 1920s (Berkeley: University of California Press. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World (London: Zed Books.-based struggles of Asian Americans. “The Tra‹c in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex. In this article. 11. For the first-generation immigrants. this claim to authentic Chineseness lost ground in Taiwan as the ruling Guomindang party gradually shifted from a mainland-based cultural ideology to a localist cultural ideology. when Chinese languages may or may not be spoken. Chinese Daily News. resulting from unique circumstances of contemporary immigration. This is the Sinophone space that may give over. by the next few generations. Rubin argues. native government. such as the Taiwanese protest against China’s anticessation law in 2005 in front of Los Angeles City Hall. Rothenberg. and the tension between the Taiwanese and the Chinese is played out as long-distance political struggles played out locally. Kumari Jayawardena. 13.” These neologisms are distinctly Sinophone articulations. ed. 12. finally to be replaced by an independence-oriented. An ironic anecdote related to this paranoia is the sale of a computer game derivative of the book called “Final Battle across the Taiwan Strait in August 1995. are “parachuted” to the United States from Taiwan and Hong Kong by their parents in consideration of their future. and other Sinophone communities in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries. See chapter 4. May 1. Chinese America. 1984). 1995). to U. 155–71 (New York: McGraw-Hill. among other things.

1991). overseas edition. Even the Democratic Progressive Party noted the necessity of toning down its independence agenda in its party proclamations when the legislative election of 1995 approached and the 1996 presidential election was in sight. the New Party (xindang ). 62 (March 1993): 80–81. renminbi (people’s currency). 21. was formed in 1996. Santa Barbara. one of the two Sinophone names for San Francisco is still “Old Gold Mountain” ( jiujinshan). 18. Xiamen (old name Amoi) is one of the most popular cities where a lot of Taiwanese went to invest and later settle. 1994. ] 208 [ Notes . 22. Chieh-lin. A9. 20. and Shiao Chyuan-jeng. November 2. 24. the Nation-Building Party ( jianguodang ). In this particular climate. September 5. 19. 1994. August 24. This system of dual currency was abolished in China in the late 1990s. February 16. The climactic and geological theories of Taiwan’s diªerence—Taiwan as an island with oceanic geocultural formations as opposed to China’s continental formations—also seemed to be waning. an early 1990s sympathetic reception of the dalumei can be seen in a fictionalized account by Wang Pen-hu in his popular novel Amoi Bride (Xiamen xinniang ) (Taichung: chenxing chubanshe. Li Wen-chih. Chinese Daily News. 16. Author’s personal communication with Lee Yuan-chen. April 1995. 152–60. The typology of Chinese women here is derived from the following news reports: Chinese Daily News. 17. Hsu. China Times Weekly 53 ( January 1993): 80–82. China Times Weekly 930 (December 1995): 41–51. September 9. Taiwan edition. Taiwan’s Asia Pacific Strategy (Taiwan de yatai zhanlue) (Taipei: Institute of National Policy Research. By the dawning of the new century. Although a new. 1991). Gold Mountain was coined by nineteenth-century laborers from China who came searching for gold in California. 1994. 23. Today. A7. 1995. Taiwan.(US$24) each since 1994. 25. The computer software is published by Softworld International Corporation located in Kaohsiung. California. more aggressively independence-oriented party. A1. This can be seen in the following developments: The strategic Japanism of the Lee Tenghui government—the invocation of Japanese colonial history in Taiwan as that which makes Taiwan distinct from China—was not as valuable a political capital as it had been previously. A8. the bastion of prounification ideology formed in 1994. this particular topic disappeared almost completely from the news. it has not been able to garner popular support. 1994. because certain upscale goods could only be bought with them in special stores such as the Friendship Store. February 3. won a surprisingly large number of seats in the legislative election. A8. 1996. Also see China Times Weekly 64 (March 1993): 80–81. For instance. The foreign exchange currency was available only to foreigners and was worth more than regular mainland currency.

A Critical Biography of Hsieh Hsueh-hung (Hsieh Hsueh-hung ping-chuan) (Taipei: Qianwei. 1994). “The Typology of New Immigrant Faces in Light of 1997” (xinyimin de jiuqi lianpu). Two Wives (yiguo liangqi) (Taipei: jingmei chubanshe. One Country. Ifumi Arai. as did the earlier waves. 39. March 1995.” 35. 1995. November 30. “Valentine’s Day: Red Rose and White Rose” (qing’renjie: hongmeigui yu baimeigui). The Nineties 302 (March 1995): 10–11.” 36. July 26. and Taiwan Marxism’s imbrication with Taiwan consciousness. 31. The threat appeared real particularly in light of China’s policy of enforced Han migration to Tibet. 1995. 1965). 1993). The Red Lantern (Hongdeng ji). Chiu Chang and Lin T’sui-fen. October 7. See esp. 29. Leung Wu Suet Gei. 1988).26. “Suzie Wong’s China” (Susi Huang de Zhongguo). pp. The Nineties ( jiushi niandai) 301 (February 1995): 127–31. writing for the popular Hong Kong newsmagazine The Nineties. using the strategy of Han migration to overwhelm the local population in order to quell dissent. 1994. Chinese Daily News. See Weng Ouhong and Ah Jia. but for economic reasons. November 30. adapted (Beijing: Zhongguo xiju chubanshe. This was promoted in the booklet published by the New Women’s Promotion Association (xin funu xiejinhui). 38. 37. Ifumi Arai. noted that “new immigrants” refers to post-1980 immigrants who came not for political reasons. Chinese Daily News. See Chen Fang-ming. A more informed view of the history of the Taiwan Communist Party in particular and Taiwanese Marxist thinking in general shows that Taiwanese Marxists cannot automatically be dismissed as China sympathizers. The Nineties 302 (March 1995): 78–79. The Nineties 302 (March 1995): 20–21. Similarly in Taiwan. “Valentine’s Day. “Suzie Wong’s China. in twenty years there would be more than one hundred thousand of them residing in Taiwan (China Times Daily. Services for Women in Hong Kong (xianggang funu fuwu). Information provided by a mainlander turned Hong Kong resident informant. 30. 27. Chinese Daily News. A famous case in point is female communist leader Hsieh Hsueh-hung. and June 13. Leung Wu Suet Gei. 1996. Lau Sun. “Hong Kong Files” (xianggang dang’an). 32. whose views and life story showed the tension between Taiwanese and Chinese Marxism. 33. Leung Wu Suet Gei. Notes ] 209 [ . Cheng Ying. Lau Sun. 135–36.” 34. “Valentine’s Day. 63–64. published in 1995. the anxiety over Taiwanese marrying mainland women triggered statistical projections that if fifty extra mainlanders were added to those mainlanders admitted to Taiwan each year. “Hong Kong Files”. 28. and that this group tended to be politically pro-China. See Cheng Ying.

” Diaspora 2. 43. Alfred Cheung. Li Cheuk-to. Politics. Politics. Passages of the Port City: On Hong Kong and Hong Kong Author Leung Ping-kwan. Common/Places. 1990–94). Susan Stewart. the Souvenir. 3 (Fall 1993): 179–204. parts 1–4 (Hong Kong: Golden Harvest. Quentin Lee. July 21. 199. 42. 1994). Taiwan. 41. 19. 1994). “Building on Disappearance: Hong Kong Architecture and the City. The quotations are from p. Nick Browne et al. Nick Browne. The success and popularity of the films in the market also attest to the degree to which the audience seemed to have related to the films.” Third Text 26 (Spring 1994): 11–23. 1995. the Gigantic.” in New Chinese Cinemas: Forms. August 1995. and Esther Yao in New Chinese Cinemas: Forms. ed. “Between Legal and Cultural Colonialism: The Politics of Legitimation of the Cultural Production in Hong Kong. 47. and that in playing it the child is not only symbolizing his or her anxieties about the mother’s return. no. See the articles by Leo Lee. ed. Tamsui. 52. 46. 51. 48. Homi Bhabha. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. for the analysis of allegorical renderings of Hong Kong’s identity formation vis-à-vis China in Hong Kong films. Her Fatal Ways (biutse nayhoye). (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. because the director could always deny that the films were ever meant to be true representations.” Public Culture 6. the Collection (Durham. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature. “Introduction. 49. Rey Chow. 44. 3 (Spring 1994): 441–59. The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge. but is also beginning to use ] 210 [ Notes . The quotation is from p. no. Press Freedom Guardian. The fact that the films were farcical and bombastic allowed expression of the most direct and unmediated desires (supposedly speaking on behalf of the Hong Kong populace) toward China. 23. NC: Duke University Press.40. Chu Yiu Wai and Wai Man Sin. 1994). John Fiske gives a succinct summary of the “fort-da” game theory in Freud: “Freud draws our attention to the infant’s ‘fort-da’ game in which the child continuously throws away a loved object only to demand its return. 2 (Fall 1992): 151–70. “Between Colonizers: Hong Kong’s Postcolonial Self-Writing in the 1990s. 7.” Diªerences 5. Identities. 1993). Ackbar Abbas. no. Rey Chow. His explanation is that the game is enacting the disappearance and appearance of the mother. 50. Nick Browne et al. “Delineating Asian (Hong Kong) Intellectuals: Speculations on Intellectual Problematics and Post/Coloniality. See chapter 5 for a more detailed discussion of nostalgia and Hong Kong cinema on the eve of 1997. Identities. 45.” paper presented at the Seventh Quadrennial International Comparative Literature Conference. “Things.

Twenty Years Later.” in Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism. Author’s interview with Alfred Cheung. 1997).” in the same volume. at the inauguration of the native president Chen Shui-bian.” Modern China 19. and Moral Community: A Research Agenda for Contemporary Chinese Studies. see Shu-mei Shih. Civil Society. 1993). One li equals two kilometers. 1987). 2 (April 1993): 183–98. For a more extensive critique of this “Northward Imaginary” discourse. a female character is named Jiang Chun (after Jiang Qing). ironically.” in The Phantom Public Sphere. Jürgen Habermas. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. 57. no. Richard Madson. member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. a subsidiary of the Awakening Foundation ( funu xin- Notes ] 211 [ . Television Culture (New York: Routledge. March 1996. The best example of this is the publication of a women’s writing script in China called nushu by Fembooks (nushudian). “Disjuncture and Diªerence in the Global Cultural Economy. 61. 1997). which. 287–319 (New York: Routledge.symbols to control the meanings of his or her environment.” See Fiske. Bruce Robbins. 59. 58. A telling example of how geopolitics controlled cross-area popular culture can be seen in the example of Ah Mei. 151–58 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. 269–95 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2 (1993): 179–212. Dilated Spheres: Negt and Kluge’s The Public Sphere and Experience. The name Qian Li (meaning “One Thousand Lis”) is a parody of Wan Li (literally “Ten Thousand Lis”). Miriam Hansen. ed. In another mainlander movie entitled Mainland Dundee (Biaoge wo lai ye). Mayfair Yang. trans. a popular Taiwan singer. 55. 54.” in Cultural Imaginary and Ideology (wenhua xiangxiang yu yishi xingtai). “The Public Sphere. 56. ed. MA: MIT Press. These are examples of direct satires on mainland political figures. pp. Stephen Chan. 1989).” published by the Hong Kong Cultural Studies Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1995. vii–xxvi. 231. “Mass Media and Transnational Subjectivity in Shanghai: Notes on (Re)cosmopolitanism in a Chinese Metropolis. 60. She is of aboriginal descent and was invited to sing the Taiwan national anthem. Aihwa Ong and Donald Nonini. 53. Li is an ancient Chinese unit of distance. ed.” Public Culture 5. See Arjun Appadurai. See the special issue of the Hong Kong Cultural Studies Bulletin entitled “Northward Imaginary: Repositioning Hong Kong’s Post-colonial Discourse. After her appearance. Bruce Robbins. “Unstable Mixtures. Thomas Burger (Cambridge. “Problems of the ‘Northward Imaginary’: Cultural Identity Politics in Hong Kong. California. she was banned from going to China by the Chinese government for several years and her music was also banned in China. is still the party song of the Guomindang. “Introduction: The Public as Phantom. no. Santa Monica.

html. as most of those involved are native Taiwanese. Hakkas (kejiaren). however. The aborigines remain largely marginalized in terms of cultural and political representation. 452. 5. Hsia. “The Formation of a CounterDomination Discourse” (Yige fanzhipei lunshu de xingcheng ) in Journeying through the Finde-siécle (Shijimo pianhang ). T. It is taiwanese. C. Victor Mair. due to the Chinese government’s military threats and the Chinese government’s insistence that they attend as “Chinese” and not Taiwanese representatives. interviewed earlier in the chapter. See Li Ch’iao. THE INCREDIBLE HEAVINESS OF AMBIGUITY 1. native Taiwanese (Taiwanren—immigrants from China over the centuries until 1945). 1961). 533–54. as it includes aborigines (yuanzhumin). mainlanders (waisheng’ren—post-1945 immigrants from China). CT: Yale University Press. Meng Fan and Lin Yao-te (Taipei: Shibao chuban gongsi. 7. The Formation of Taiwan Culture (Taiwan wenhua zaoxing ) (Taipei: qianwei chubanshe. a ] 212 [ Notes . 170.” electronic article published in 2005 and available at http://pinyin. as well as the so-called overseas Chinese (huaqiao—recent Han immigrants from countries other than China). A History of Modern Chinese Fiction (New Haven. 4. 62. My use of the term Taiwanese people here refers to people in Taiwan. The participation of aborigines in this endeavor is arguably minimal. when the Taiwanese stock market skyrocketed. See also T’sai Shih-p’ing. See chapter 1 on flexibility and translatability in the context of globalization. 3. 144. 2. “How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language. Cultural Guerillas (Wenhua youjibing ) (Taipei: Zili wanbao wenhua chubanbu.zhi) in Taiwan. 1992). mainlanders (particularly second generation). Hsia coined the phrase “obsession with China” and made it famous. T. to point out the less-than-homogeneous demographic composition of these people. In his use. whose director was at the time Lee Yuan-chen. 331. During the late 1980s and early 1990s. the phrase refers to the heavy obsession with national issues by China’s intellectuals in the twentieth century. 1990). ed. 1992). and Hakkas. although there have been attempts on the part of members of the mainstream cultural scene to include their voices. A good example is Taiwanese feminists’ refusal to attend the United Nations Women’s Conference held in Beijing in September1995. 6. Taiwan’s “obsession with China” is of a very diªerent kind in the beginning of the twenty-first century. 4. 8. Li Chien-hung. See C.

For instance. 114–57. June 14. there was a call for resistance toward Western cultural and economic hegemony from a Marxist perspective (such as in Ch’en Ying-chen’s work). 170. 14. and China Times Weekly. Geopolitical Aesthetic. Li. For a typology of Taiwan nativist sentiments or Taiwan consciousness. Exports to Hong Kong (the medium for Taiwan’s China trade) in June 1994 for the first time exceeded those to the United States. The agenda of Taiwan nativism (bentu zhuyi) or Taiwan consciousness (Taiwan yishi) more or less concentrated on a call for an aªectionate concern for the land. Jameson. 1987). When that system was referred to. 17. and Yang Ch’ing-t’su. United Daily. ambiguous manner and often for the distinct purpose of expressing a critical intent against the Chinese government. Taiwan Consciousness. Postmodernism. 1987). The Fate of Taiwan and China Complex (Taiwan mingyun Zhongguo jie) (Kaohsiung: Dunli chubanshe. 10. NC: Duke University Press. and its culture over and beyond the dictates of China’s cultural hegemony as institutionalized by the Guomindang. it was most often done in an oblique. Notes ] 213 [ . See Huang. 35–47. were involved in stock market speculation. are these words: “Invade and conquer Wuhan city: mastering the mainland’s domestic market. 1991). Cultural Guerillas. During the late 1970s nativist literature debates (xiangtu wenxue lunzhan). See also.huge number of people in Taiwan. The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham. The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. C8. Fredric Jameson.” 11. 15. see Huang Kuangkuo. Taiwan Consciousness and China Consciousness: Meditation under Two Complexes (Taiwan yishi yu Zhongguo yishi: liang jie xia de chensi) (Taipei: Guiguan tushu gongsi. 1994. 1983). 13. its people. number 82 ( July 23. 119. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Other (New York: Columbia University Press. 1993). 12. 1992). Los Angeles edition. These military metaphors were widely used in mainstream newspapers and magazines such as China Times. 16.” On the front cover of the previous issue. number 83 of China Times Weekly published on July 31. My use of the word complex here consciously echoes the use of the word as naming a psychological condition in the “Taiwan complex” and “China complex” debate during the 1980s. Johannes Fabian. 9. 1993. Jameson. Taiwan’s largest trade partner for half a century. particularly in urban areas. This does not mean that there were no references at all to contemporary China’s sociopolitical system. but today’s nativists rarely consider the question of Western cultural imperialism as an important issue on the agenda. has on the front cover the following line: “The new strategy for opening and developing the mainland market: attack cities and seize territories. Chinese Daily News. or. xxi. 143–65.

4.. 20. “Love at last sight” is a phrase Ackbar Abbas coins in his Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Identities. 9. which mixes Hong Kong–style martial arts sequences with a futurist science fiction thriller genre. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.. 21. Ibid. 1–2. 2. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature. ed. Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. NC: Duke University Press. “A Brief Response. Ibid. 1993). 8. Fredric Jameson. 3. eds. See my discussion in chapter 3. Between Home and World: A Reader in Hong Kong Cinema (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. 19. 1987).18. At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1 and 2. the Souvenir. in chronological order. For the rhizome. 1994). 73–107. chaps. Nick Browne. Fredric Jameson. Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (London: British Film Institute. the Collection (Durham. “Global Literature and Technologies of Recognition. the Gigantic.. chap. “Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capital. Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. trans. Ashis Nandy. 2004). 6.” Social Text 15 (Fall 1986): 65–88. pp. ed. Paul Pickowicz. Ibid. 1997).. ] 214 [ Notes . 1. and Esther Yau. 1997). Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.. 1 ( January 2004): 16–30. AFTER NATIONAL ALLEGORY 1. 5. The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Delhi: Oxford University Press. no. Stephen Teo. Esther Cheung. New Chinese Cinemas: Forms.. 3–26. see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Vivian Sobchack. Susan Stewart. 73. Nick Browne used Fredric Jameson’s notion of the future anterior temporality to describe the Hong Kong postcolonial mentality of fear of the future that will undo the present as the past of that moment in the future. xii. 5. 2001). Esther Yau.” Social Text 17 (Fall 1987): 26.” PMLA 119. Ibid. See. These few paragraphs on national allegory are excerpted from Shu-mei Shih. xi. 2000). 1983). 7. The example frequently cited is the film Matrix. Film as the primary cultural genre that seems to capture something unique and important about Hong Kong culture can be attested by the explosion of scholarship on Hong Kong cinema in English. David Bordwell.

11. Fruit Chan. in which gangsters often provide an alternative morality and heroism from the hypocrisy of colonial and Mainland Chinese rulers. Hong Kong Arts Center. and the Surprising Future of the West (New York: Random House. Ibid. 1999). 34. See. 7. 2001). Nations. “Museum 97: History. Made in Hong Kong. Individual. 95–122 (London: Verso. Peter Perdue. It is also telling that Qing imperialism is suddenly becoming a hot topic just when China is beginning to flex its muscles in the international scene. Hong Kong Arts Center. Aijaz Ahmad. Yuk-yuen Lan. 12. A spate of recent scholarship has focused on China during the Qing dynasty as an empire. 43. for instance. 14. 6.’” in In Theory: Classes. Empire 2. The Practice of Chineseness (Hong Kong: CyDot Communications Management & Technology. 1997. 9. “Jameson’s Rhetoric of Otherness and the ‘National Allegory. Ibid. COSMOPOLITANISM AMONG EMPIRES 1.0. 2004) proposes uniting the West and spreading democracy in the same vein with utmost seriousness. 2003). Eric Hobsbawm. 3. trans. Literatures. 13. de C***. (New York: Basic Books. CA: North Atlantic Books. From this perspective one may infer that twentieth-century China was more an anomaly in a long imperial tradition. 4. Notes ] 215 [ . Community. to July 12. June 23.. which may find its newest expression in the twenty-first century. such as those in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow series. 2.. Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Xavier de C*** .10. Empire 2. 5. 15. That Debray’s book somehow captures an incipient structure of feeling in the West is seen by the fact that Timothy Garton Ash’s book Free World: America. 2003). 131. The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press. MA: Harvard University Press. prologue by Régis Debray. David Harvey. Europe. All translations from the films are the author’s. Ibid. 2004). 34. The New Chinese Empire and What It Means For the United States.” exhibition catalog. 2005). 6. 1997. 53. Note that this is quite a departure from earlier gangster movies in Hong Kong. 50–55. China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia (Cambridge. 1997.. The Age of Empire. Ibid.. Joseph Rowe (Berkeley. 67–68. 34–45. Ross Terrill. 1989). 1875–1914 (New York: Vintage Books. 8. Laura Hostetler. 1992). 60–65.0: A Modest Proposal for a United States of the West.

for an earlier critique of identity politics. see chapter 2. 312–44 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. 23. 1917–1937 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 17. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Cultures. Freud and the Non-European (London: Verso.10. 22. 5. Edward Said. 1996).” in Perpetual ] 216 [ Notes . “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent. 67. Kiernan. I discussed this essay in some detail in the introduction. Also see her “Who’s Afraid of Identity Politics?” in Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism. 2005). Gayatri Spivak. America: The New Imperialism (1978. 12. Homi Bhabha. The process of substitution here involves (post)colonial ressentiment expressed against Britain becoming a popular theory in the United States academy. Arif Dirlik. Outside in the Teaching Machine (New York and London: Routledge. MA: MIT Press. “Stand-oª in Taiwan. Transnational and Transcolonial Multicampus Research Group lecture series.. 94. 16. 4. Edward Said. 2000). 21. 14. 13. Hames-Garcia. Kiernan. 364. 26. 180. 79. 2005). and the Self (New York: Oxford University Press. Age of Empire. The quotation is from p. The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism (Boulder. V. The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge. 2001). Immanuel Kant. 1988). Mahasweta Devi’s story discussed and quoted in “Woman in Diªerence. London: Verso. ed. 1993. G. ed. 1 1. Cosmopolitics as a politics of democracy in the world is how Bruce Robbins and Pheng Cheah use the term in their Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. chap. A chapter from this book entitled “In Defense of Identity Politics” was delivered as a lecture at UCLA. America. Hal Foster. 271–313 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 2005. 291. 15. see esp. The title chapter referenced here is chapter 3. The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China. CO: Westview Press. Shu-mei Shih. 1994). For more information on Club 51. 2003). 1993). 1998). 19. 25. 24. 114. Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf. Gender. Hobsbawn. repr. chap. 20. 1997).” in Gayatri Spivak. Refer back to chapters 3 and 4 on the intricacy of Taiwan’s relationship with China. January 11. The Return of the Real (Cambridge. 77–95.) 18. Paula Moya and M. See Linda Alcoª ’s Visible Identities: Race. Perry Anderson.” London Review of Books ( June 2004): 12–17.

Peace and Other Essays, trans. Ted Humphrey (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1983), 34–36. 27. The original meaning is meant to promote a consciousness for public service as opposed to narrow focus on individual or private gain. 28. Here the only exception may be Taiwan cinema, whose auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang have a small following in international film circles. 29. These remarks are from “Rumors about the Venice Biennial Participants” (eryu feiwu Weinisi shuangnianzhan mingdan chulu), China Times Daily, March 11, 1995; Chen Shun-chu, “How Far Is the International ‘Stage’? To Act in a Drama across the Ocean?” (guoji xiuchang you duo yuan? piaoyang guohai qu banxi?), The Artist (yishujia) 314 ( July 2001): 10; letter to the author by Wu Mali, dated November 14, 2000. 30. 31. Information originally available at _a.htm. 32. Eileen Chang, Lin Hwai-min, and Wu Da-you are household names among Taiwan’s educated. Eileen Chang is a Shanghai writer exiled to Taiwan and the United States, whose work continues to fascinate generations of scholars and readers, thus engendering a school of study called “Chang Studies.” Lin Hwai-min, the artistic director of Cloud Gates Dance Company, is considered a national treasure in Taiwan for his contribution to Taiwan arts and for his international reputation. Wu Da-you is a scientist at the Academica Sinica, the highest research institution in Taiwan. 33. See Manthia Diawara, In Search of Africa (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 31.

1. The phrase comes from Prasenjit Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). 2. The Ocean of Words (cihai) (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1989 ed.), 996. 3. Ibid., 139. Also, The Origin of Words (ciyuan) (Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1988), onevolume edition, 1447. 4. Discussed in Arif Dirlik, “Timespace, Social Space, and the Question of Chinese Culture” (unpublished manuscript). 5. Ocean of Words, 1584. 6. Origin of Words, 48. 7. See Shu-mei Shih, “Towards an Ethics of Transnational Encounters, or ‘When’ Does a ‘Chi-





nese’ Woman Become a ‘Feminist’?” in Diªerences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 13, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 90–126. 8. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1983), 47. 9. Ibid. 10. See for instance, Durian, Durian (liulian piaopiao), in which a Chinese woman from the north comes to work in Hong Kong as a prostitute and then returns to China. In this movie, Hong Kong no longer functions as a totally foreign place for the Chinese woman but becomes the frontier capitalist outpost for the in-landers (neidi ren) from China proper. See Pheng Cheah, who oªers this interpretation of Hong Kong as the capitalist outpost, in “Another Diaspora: ‘Chinese-ness’ and the Tra‹c in Women from Mainland China to Hong Kong in Fruit Chan’s Durian Durian,” paper presented at “The Chinese Diaspora” conference, University of Zurich, August 10–15, 2005. 11. See Victor Mair, “What Is a Chinese ‘Dialect/Topolet’? Reflections on Some Key SinoEnglish Linguistic Terms,” Sino-Platonic Papers 29 (September 1991): 1–31. See also Mair, “Introduction,” in Hawai’i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture, ed. Victor Mair, Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, and Paul Rakita Goldin, 1–7 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005). 12. The term wandering Chinese has enjoyed much currency. See, for instance, the now classic group of essays under the special issue title “The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today,” Daedalus 120, no. 2 (Spring 1991). 13. Sau-ling Wong analyzed racism against African Americans prevalent in overseas Chinese literature or Sinophone Chinese American literature written by first-generation immigrant students in the United States. While wallowing in self-pity over a sense of rootlessness, some of these writers had the most conservative tendencies toward issues of race, gender, and class. See Wong, “The Yellow and the Black: The African-American Presence in Sinophone Chinese American Literature,” Chung Wai Literary Monthly 34, no. 4 (September 2005): 15–54. 14. Sheldon H. Lu and Emilie Y. Yeh, in the introduction to their edited book, Chinese LanguageFilm: Historiography, Poetics, Politics (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), 1–24, use the term Sinophone film interchangeably with what they call Chinese-language film. See also note 13 regarding Sau-ling Wong’s use of the term as in “Sinophone Chinese American Literature.”





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31. 158. foot-binding and. 94 Austen. mundane events and. 152. as art practice. 80–81 anthropologists. 164 area studies.INDEX Abbas. Hong Kong as city-nation. 59. 165 articulation. 85 aboriginals. of China by Hong Kong culture. 179. 142–44. 182. 188. national. 166 Ahmad. 22 archaeology. 211n56 Alcoª. Linda. 26. 114. 43 Africa. transnational consumption and. 77–79. 76. 64 Arendt. Ackbar. 186. 187 antagonism. Western gaze and. 4. liberal antagonism against Maoist state. 46 assemblage. 4 Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Deleuze and Guattari). 183 Amin. 42. 78. 174 alienation. 119. Jane. 12. 57 accumulation. Taiwanese. 149. 86 Appadurai. 56. 218n13 agency. 47 August 1995 (Cheng). 22 allegory. Malek. 112–13. 43 Age of Empire. 83. Arjun. 71–77. 43. 58 ] 231 [ . 18–19. 123 Asian American studies. Louis. primitivist art inspired by. 51–52. 178. 21. Samir. 60. 42. 185 African Americans. 132 anticommunism. Benedict. 40. 23. 12. francophone. 68. 132 Alloula. 164. 149–50. 73–75. 150–57. 35 Asian Americans. 19. 30. 143. 28. 41. gender diªerence and. 155 Ah Mei. 46. Aijaz. 57. 180 allochronicity. 66–67. 65–66 assimilation. Hannah. 212n6 Academy Awards. 123 Asian studies. 113. 159. 145. 21 Anderson. 186. 156. 43. of minority subjects. 25. 79–84. The (Hobsbawm). 144–50. gender binarism and. 41. 69 Althusser. of minority subjects. 191. flexible regime of. 141 abjection. 114 apparatus theory. 11.

211n56 Cheung. 2. 113 Ch’ien Fu. modernization and. mainland. 59–60 Berger. global multiculturalism and. cinema in. hidden assertion of. 124–29 China. 186. 63. 179 Bourriaud. 13. 14 Book of the Sky ( Xu). Southern. 48 Chang Chen. 157. 181 Buell. 26 camera. 93. 14 Benjamin. 154. 113–14. 31. 34. 166. commodified production of. 29. 17 camera obscura. 89. 167. 152–53. 133. “Greater China” ideology and. 188. 166–67. 84 Buddhism. Nick. 209n29. ] 232 [ Index . 212n62 Beller. in Hong Kong. 99. 55. 51 Bhabha. 5. 17 California. 108–12. 217n32 Chang. variations of. Mikhail. 155 Bal. 107–8 Bryson. 41. postcolonial studies and. 144. 75. 142 Chang. 39. 35. 115. 123. imperial (dynastic). 108. 164. transnational image culture and. multiculturalism and. 92. whiteness and. 76. 109–11. 107. 9. 92. 38. People’s Republic of (PRC). 191. 43. 14. 19. 150. global: China’s communist ideology and. 105. Chineseness and. 66. 8–16 Castells. “eternal China” of Taiwanese travel programs. 151. 158. 29 Bakhtin. 7 Beijing. 19 Cannes Film Festival. 96. 12. 188. Alfred. 32 baoyeennai (keeping concubine/mistress). Mikie. 40. 5. 3 Charles. 207n10. 120. 147. Frank. 122. 21. 58 Cantonese language. 82. 162. 123. 64. Roland.authenticity. Fruit. 117. Simone de. of photographic representation. 19 Beauvoir. Partha. 105. Eileen. 47. 120. cultural. 171. 158– 59. 105 Barthes. Homi. Walter. 87. 183 Brazil. 96. Jackie. 67. 109 Chen Shui-bian. 155 Chan. classical Chinese culture and. John. as imperial center of world. 28. image commodity as value. identity in. Prince. 35. 181. 26. immigration into United States and. 73. R. 173. Guomindang regime and. 140. 193n1. 46 Cheng Yu Ling. 63. 16–23. anticessation law. 150. 86. Jean-Louis. 29 capital. Norman. 108. 12. economic and political rise of. 184 “China. dalumei threat to Taiwan and. 138 capitalism. 5. 90–91. national allegory and. 27 Avant-Garde (Liu). 15.. 43–44. 17 Berlin Film Festival. Manuel. Hong Kong retrocession to (1997). 4. visuality in. 137. empire and. Hong Kong trilogy. eye of. 194–95n20 Baudry. international division of labor and. Frederick. Sylvia. geographical symbolism and. 83. 138. 183. 59. 10. 42 Burnett. ethnic minorities (“nationalities”). 31. 105–6. 77. 94. flexibility of. 143. regimes of. 2. 36 Britain and British empire. 174 Browne. 166. Nicolas. 43. 76 Avant Garde Press (Qianwei). 104. late capitalism. 116 Bollywood cinema. 28 bricolage. nostalgia as inauthentic longing. 76.” 92. 43. 126 Chin. 153– 54. 93 Cape Verde and São Tomé. 102 Cambodia. 37. 76 China. 126 babas.” 198n78. 191–92. transnationality and. 148. 172 biutse (older female cousin). 166. Jonathan. 56 Chatterjee. 120. fracturing of. end of Hong Kong rule. as “dialect. containment of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong identity and. 39 Chan. 5. 132. 22 celebrity status. Maoist state and. 115. 144. 129. 45. 161. 129–35. femininity and. 41.

122. 313. The (Magritte painting). 191. Taiwan’s relationship with. 165. 29. imperial narrative psyche. 3. 118. Taiwan’s identity and. 180–82. artists’ use of cultural materials and. Americanness and. 137–38. 42. Sinophone network and. U.140–41. cosmopolitanism and. 11. 52. 64. 27. 71–77. 21. 119. fifth-generation. 88. 182 courtesans. 158. 129. 183. U. 43. 164. 3. 162 commodities. 161 colonialism. 78. 159. 183. 94. Hong Kong transfer to China and. 181 consumption. 51. 121 Chinese Americans. protection by mother country. 183. 26. 5. 207n12. 26. 86–89. 111–12. 4. 160. ethics and. 105–6.S. 27 Chinese American Studies. 46–47 Chineseness. 3. 55 Club 51. 23 Chinglish. classical Chinese culture and. 121. 78–79 “China threat. 70. Jonathan. 55. 184. as culture shared by colonizers and colonized. 192 Chinaman (Liu). 56. 78 cosmopolitanisms. politics and ideology absent from. 179. 49. 2. 57–58. 24. national consciousness as. 4. Hong Kong identity and. 146–47. 6 cinema. 40 communications technologies. 204n16. 25.154. relations with Taiwan and. 179. design and. 109–11. Bill. 65. relations with. 73–75. as isolated communist state. 12. 120–21. 172. 26 Chiu Chang. 27. Rey. imagined. national characteristics. 105. 60. 101. 69 Crary. as umbrella term. 67. 36. 60. 55. 157–62. 132 civil rights movement (U. 35. 106. 165. as category of ethnicity. 167 China Times Weekly. 99. 26.” 187 critics. 64. as essentialist notion. 180 Cookie Queen (Liu). 138. 160–63. in Taiwan. Hong Kong identity and. 59. 8. 59 Index ] 233 [ . 14. 64. 169. 157. military threat to Taiwan. 19. 171. 126. 106–7 Chow Yun-fat. 122. 102. transnational coproductions. 36–37. 122. 5. 106. 10. 15. 102 Chow. 94. 36 “China. 39. 26. 17–19. 24. 13. cultural spectrum of. 56. Maoist notion of class struggle. 22. 1–3. 27. film. Maoist period. 36. anti-Japanese war and. Chineseness in relation to. 193n1. as symbolic totality. 99 Chinatowns. 154–55.S. 132. 70 “Chinese. 32. 144 Confucianism. 172–73. See also Hollywood cinema. 140. 53. postsocialism in. 41. 14. South Korea and. 157–58. 169. 130 China-centrism. 52. 25. Republic of (Taiwan). ironic cinematic depiction of. 120. 97.” 56. 184. paternal symbolism and. Chinese. 113. vernacular. 189. 209n37 Communist Party. 41. 27 class. 40 communism. 169 coevalness/coevality. 165. 72 Clinton. postcolonial and metropolitan. Special Economic Zones. See also Cultural Revolution China. 135–37. 138. 114. 15. 24. film critics. 186. as essentialist notion. 4. minor. master narratives of. film studies. 87. 9 “creole states. 94.” as construct. 60. 38. Chinese culture and. 44. meiji huaren. 33. influence of Hong Kong culture and. triangulation with Taiwan and Hong Kong. 118. in Malaysia. 128. 5. industrial capitalism and. 33. 67. 13. 3. 191–92 Cold War. 60. 130 communities. specter of. 122. Hidden Dragon. 29 Chinocholos.” 25. racialized. national consciousness as colonialism. 182. alienation and.). 122–23. 104. Crouching Tiger.S. 64 collage. 11. 197n65. Hong Kong cinema civilization. 25 Chinese studies. 157. 177. 191. 142 Chung-ho City (Taiwan). 103. 66 Collective Invention. masculinized woman and. 170–75. 125. 189. 155. 54. See also Britain and British empire commodification. 1–8. Taiwan immigrants in China and.

173 double-voicedness. 168. 130 empire. 34–35. 106. 21. 48. 185 ethics: cosmopolitanism and. 34. 9. 173. 94–103. 46. 72–73 English language. 114. 121–23 Culture and Imperialism (Said). 170 ego. 48. 30 Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] (Taiwan). 180–82. 166. 170. absorption of minorities and. 79. 116. 56–57. 165. 175 desire. 31 Cultural Revolution. 171 Fabian. Asian Americans and. constitution of. mass media and. 42. Victorian. 54. 158 Eat Drink Man Woman (film). Manthia. 64. British and American. 170. 124 England. 208n16 Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan). Oedipal triangulation of. trauma narratives from Maoist China written in. debunking of. 55 economy/economics. 11. 77 dalumei (“mainland sister”). trauma narratives from. The. as ethnicity or race. 191–92. Guy. Régis. 10. model operas of. 17 exoticism. classical Chinese culture. 63 ethnic studies. suppression of. 23–24. China’s global influence and. 155 Downcast Eyes ( Jay). 3–4. 96 Debord. 2–8. China as market and. 179. 37–38. 40. as unifying category. homeland as notion. 1860–1912. 174 Europe. 207n14. 44 Dirlik. 20. 9 environmentalism. 119. 17–18 Eight Thousand Li of Roads. 167. 80 ] 234 [ Index . 52. o‹cial ethnicities of China. expiration date of. 17. 7. 121. 111. 185. 185. 94. 138 Eastern Jin dynasty. 184–85. 24. 22 Epitaph [Muzhiming ] ( Wu). William. 169. 208n19 dalu taitai (“mainland wives”). 189. 69. 86 democracy. 31. 93–94. 24. 13. 141. transnationality and. ownership and authenticity of. 179. 22. 103. 184. 118. 118 Cultural China. geopolitics of. 64. coevality of cultures. 14. Orientalist economy of. untranslatability of. 63. 179 Deleuze. 82 deterritorialization. 122. Johannes.0 (Debray). 172. 7. 9 Debray. 100. cultural capital. 189. 218n10 Dutch colonialism. Taiwan–China relationship and. 189. 95 Deng Xiaoping. nodal points of meaning and. 122. 176 eroticism. 29. 167–68 deconstruction. 132 Face of China as Seen by Photographers and Travelers. 169. 54 essentialism. “Chinese” as. 11. 167–68 Empson. 30. 108. 19. 114. 26–27. 126. 206n2. 31. 24. 182 diªerence. nostalgia and. Cloud. 105. 25 Diawara. 187. 28. 43. pan-Chinese. 115 Derrida. 123. 59. 30. 167 Everett. Jacques. 130. 87. 131. identity-formation and. 114 dialects. 26. 27. 22. 166–71 Empire 2. and Moon [Baqianli lu yun he yue] (TV program). culture of hybridity and. 175–79 ethnicity. Chinese diaspora and. 117. 191 European Union. 173 Eurocentrism.Crouching Tiger. 7. 198n78 diaspora. Wendy. 125. 38. 38. 23. Gilles. 11. 188 Democratic Party (Hong Kong). 171 Customs (Liu). Chinese culture denounced during. 63. 33. 58. 10 Durian Durian (film). 20. “soft power” and. 178. Chineseness as criterion of determination. 11. 66. 18. 115. Taiwanese nativism and. 76 Enlightenment. Arif. 76 culture. 20. Hidden Dragon (film). 171. 50–54. national boundaries and. 72. 120. 88.

116 Guangdong Province. 206n7. 46–47. 56 “Film and Popular Memory” (Foucault). Korean language and.S. 132. Taiwanas-homeland ideology. nativist discourse and. 54 Father’s Day (Liu). 28. 53 “Fake Art of Comics” (anonymous artist). Suzanne. 186. nationalism and repression of. 41–42. 33. 67–71. 41–42. 91 Fujian Province. francophone studies. 18. 58 gaze: academic analysis of. Stuart. 15. 43. 71. 124–25. 30. 184. mission to recover “mainland” (dalu). 114–16. 34 Freud. Graham. 53. 74.. public sphere and. Jean. 39 First World. 84. economy of. 87. 24. U. 43 For Marx (Althusser). 22. 109–11 feminism. Miriam. 48 Father Knows Best (film trilogy). 92. 154. 72 Gramsci. 163 Family I and II (Liu). 94. 126–27. 166 Franco. patriarchy opposed by. 54. 29. See Club 51 filial piety. 13. 205–6n1. transnationality and. 129. 186. in Quebec. media representations of mainland Chinese women. 59–61 “flextime. 210–11n52 Foster. 93 Fuller. 119. 132. 155 flexibility. 17. 40 Golden Lotus/Red Shoe (Liu). 79–84. 181 globalization. 116. 176. Maoist state criticized by. visual economy and. 212n62. 115. 89. 35. 186. 23. 89. Hal. 28. 31. 93 Guattari. 204n7 Farewell China (film). 90. 57. 135. 44–45 food. 64 Fordism. 177–78 Formosa Stories [Baodao wuyu] ( Wu). 136. 73–74 femininity. 53 Han-centrism. 24 Han Chinese. 89. 114 Index ] 235 [ . authenticity of “Chinese” culture and. 11. 86. 62 Gender and Nation ( Yuval-Davis). 186. Chinese history viewed by. nationalism and. 134. 129 Fifty-first Club. 40. 28. 68–69. 189. 8. 183 Formosa Club [Baodao binguan] ( Wu). 73. 29. 73–75. 85 francophone (French language). 92. 71–77. Antonio. 57–58. in South Korea. 22. Jürgen. 27. 72. 128. 48. 212n6 Hall. nostalgia toward China. 176–78 “fort-da” games. 118 hanja. dictionary definition of. 76. 58. 85. in Hong Kong. 132. 35 Han script (Chinese characters). 29 Ha Jin. 46 Germany. deconstruction of. 68.Fairbank. 9. 118–19. 123. 30. 34. 213n12. nodal points and. 103. 104–5. 46. 73. 189. Western. 48. 39. 63. 73. 133. 114. 181 France and French empire. 67. 166. translatability and. 71. 80–81 gender. Félix. geopolitics of desire and. 172. 103. Maoist erasure of. 62 Grandma (Liu). 4. 179 Hakka (people and language). 71. 73. 28. 63. in Taiwan. 29. 4. 176.” 44 flow. transnational articulation of desire and. 103 film studies. John K. antagonism and. 21. 11. commodity. 130. 159. in Sense and Sensibility. Sigmund. Guoyu language and. 39. 17. 121–22. 54. 143–44. 18. 9. 210n52 Friends of Lin Li-yün Association. 115 Hailam language. as economic trope. 47–59. 38 Hansen. 175. 89. 72.” 49. 90 fetishism. minoritization and. 62. 161. 187–88 Habermas. 116. 28. 101–3. Michel. 28. 109. 17–19. colonial history and. 93. 173 Foucault. 74–76 “Greater China. of Taiwan. 129. 44 Hamlin. 191 Global Modernity (Dirlik). 29 francophonie. 86 Guomindang.

149. 40. 160–63. transition to PRC rule. 167 Heidegger. 107. 41. Martin. in Taiwan. 92. 18. 87. ellipsis of women from. 3. 22 Injerto. Chineseness and. 181 Her Fatal Ways (film series). 164 Honkongology (Xianggang xue). 42–43. 34. 108 History of Taiwan. 21. 160 Hou Hsiao-hsien. 188. 26 Information Age. 112. realist theory of. 144–50. 142. impending retrocession to China (1997). 210n51 heroes. Chinese American literary canon and. 113. 142. 12. 5. 127 Hitler. 63 Hunan Province. 141–44. 37 Hsiung Lü-yang. 25. 119 identity politics. 47. 21 Indonesia. 174–75 Hemingway. The (Taiwanshi). male heroes as subject of. Lacan’s concept of vision and. 36. 155. classical Chinese culture and. 59. 36–37. 106–7. 150–57. 9. 102. 16–23. 19 identification. 86–89 Hong Kong cinema. 26 ] 236 [ Index . 159. 25–26 Hobsbawm. 138. 118. pan-Chinese. 6. 121. art as narcissism and. 164. 158. history of. 4. dialectical. commodity fetishism and. “soft power” of United States and. 66. 14. spectatorship and. 172. travel of. exoticism and. 54. postmodernism and. assemblage and. Tsui. integration into China. 45. 18–19. 178. 123. 136. 106. 151–52. 23. 142. triangulation with PRC and Taiwan. 105 images: as commodity. 199n90. 20. travel of visual products and. 188. Hong Kong cinema and. 15. 176. 157–62. film audiences in. 159. 74. 13 immigrants. 5. 62. 112. 3–4. “ancestorland colonialism” of China and. 158. 77 hypermasculinity. 103–14. 177 Hero (film). 70. 66 history. 12 Harvey. 188. 156 Hongkongness. “One Country. 141. 137. Adolf. 177. Eric. 140–41. impurity and. articulation and. 166 Independent Evening News (Zili wanbao). 185. 157–62. 49. 152. putonghua Hark. Academy Awards. 126 India. 106. critique of identity politics and. 7. 27–28. 118–19. 173. 58–59. See also Mandarin language. negotiation of. 169 homosexuality. Asian-inspired cinema in. 65. 8. 8. as prison-house. 160. 162–63. 5. 60 iconology. 44. 29. 33. accents of. hero narratives in. 51–52. 38 heterosexuality. 24. 105. 160. Guoyu compared with. 137–38. British colonialism in. 93. Han as majority in. colonialism and. 58–59. 71. 26. colonial nostalgia in. “mainland cousin” and. global capitalism and. 12. 172 individualism. 149. 136. 103 hybridity/hybridization. 18 identity. 4. 170 Hokkien language. 49–50. 2. 36. 164 Hou Chun-ming. 10. 9. 148. 166. 28. 118. 28. 173 ideology. 88. 131 Huaxia people.Hanyu. Sinophone directors in. formation of. Ernest. 37–39 herstory. Oscar. refashioned identity of. 105–6. of the colonized. national allegory and the mundane. assemblage and. 21. literature and hegemony of. Two Systems” slogan. 176. 39. 20. 144. 88. Made in Hong Kong (xianggang zhizao). Shanghai compared with. 39. in Hong Kong. 181 Ho. 20–21. 7. 65. 152. 48. nostalgia and. 9. 12. 182. 29 Hollywood cinema. 215n11. 51. 171. 184 humanism. The (Castells). 14. 65. community of change and. 36. identities and. 217n28 House of Flying Daggers (film). 22. 66 Hong Kong. 147 Ice Storm (film). David. structure of gaze and. 10. 42. 41. 114. 145. biutse theme in. 160 Hoa people. 6. 107 hyperfemininity. 108–13. flow of images and money. 72. 77 imperialism. 30. 35. 108–13. gangster movies. 177–78 heterogeneity. 135. 30. 144. 164. 20.

152 Index ] 237 [ . Clara. Japanese cultural identity. 59 Jackson. 186. 166 Lacan. Maxine Hong. Taiwan audiences and. The ( Wu). 12. 34. Jacques. imperialism of. 176. 83 Korea. 36. The [ Jinnian yanhua tebie duo] (film). 120 Japanese language. 119. 155 Japan. creolized. 28. 118. identitarian struggle of. 32–33. 105. 102 Leung. 47–59. 119. sexual exploitation of Taiwanese women. 46. 131–32 kanji. 67–71. flexibility and. 129. Fredric. 8. 204n7. 190 Longest Summer. Martin. career as film director. 35. transnational feminism and. 45. 157–58. 33. 28. Japanese language and. translatability and. 168 Israel. Petra. 42. 138 Jay. 167 Irigaray. 187. 179 Latin America. 41 Kingston. nodal points in early work. 52 Jameson. 73–75. Quentin. 142 Library. directorial style. 64. 85. 102 Lin T’sui-fen. 122. 136 Internet. Hung. in imperial China. 48 Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy (Arendt). 2. Anthony. 65–66. 166 Jabar. 180–81 Li Chien-hung. 63. in Taiwan. 122. 28–29. 18. Tony. 24. 71–77. vernacular. 28 Kant. vs. 181 King. 191 Lau Mun-yee. 42. 145. Yuk-yuen. 168 Italy. Dorothy. 38. 29. 187. 102–5. 25. as exotic influence on Western culture. U. assemblage and. 155 Islam. 128. Olympia works. Jet. Immanuel. 156 Liu. 27. 79 knowledge. 119. 130. 23 Ko. 94 Jiu Jin Shan (Liu). 172–73. 178–79. Chinese traditionalism and. 58. 78. 25. 52. 56– 57. 35. 35. 186 local. 68. Sinophone as community of change. 175 Kelly. 157–58 language. photographic work of. 19. 177. 90–91. 120. 208n16. 179. 127 Lin Hwai-min. 84–85. 93. 180 localism. 66–67. 9. 78 Law. 119. The (Nandy). Shandongese. 25. alliance and.189. 29. Taiwanese aboriginal. 35–36 Intimate Enemy. minority subject position and. division of. 143. 106. 199n88 Korean language. 77 Journey West a Thousand Li [Qianli xiyou] (TV program).S. 6. 18 irony. 181. 29. 185. 29. nation delinked from. 171. Cynthia. 125. 48. 17. 35. 10. Jesse. Maoist state criticized by. 16 Ji Ranbing. 31. 16. 33. Kareem Abdul. 138. 66 Lan. the global. 192. 84–85. as immigrant. 150–55. 29 kung fu movies. 12. 62–63. 187. 176. 98. 137. 155–57. 77–79. Ang. 20–21. the. 165 Lee. 51. 125. 66. 90–91. 59. colonial rule in Taiwan. 172. 49 Laundry Lady (Liu). 43. 153. 107 Lee Teng-hui. 12. 59– 61. literature in Sinitic languages. 173. 46. self-othering and. diasporic. 137–38 Iraq. 12 intertextuality.intellectuals. 153. 31. 217n32 Lin Li-yün. 176 Lee. 39. 51 Li. 56. 84. 64. 110 Lew. 85. 2 labor. 140. metropolitan cosmopolitanism and. 185–86. antagonism of minority subject in works of. 53. Luce. 102 Little Cheung (film). 127. 94. food fetishism and. Ernesto. 45 Laclau. See also specific languages Last Dynasty (Liu). 208n16 Lee Yuan-chen. definition of Sinophone and.

26 meaning: multiple fields of. René. 27. colonialism and. 58. 132. star power and. Chantal. 25. 69. 47. identity and. Kobena. 44. 103. 66 multiculturalism. 98–99. mass media and. 54. 43. 106. 18. 197n65 Mohanty. Hong Kong authenticity and. Chinese men and Westernized desire. 23. topolects of. 63. nodal points and. 24. immigration and. 7. in cinema. 168 Nandy. 154–55. 23. public sphere and. 205n1 Made in Hong Kong [xianggang zhizao] (film). multiculturalism and. 88. 66. 42 Lu. 107. J. 83 Mitchell. 121. Christian. 43. 77. 13. See also recognition missionaries. 13. 106. Ashis. 187. mass. suppression of diªerence and. 161 Mair. 2. 108. 189. Chinese American. Japanese. ethnic autobiographies and. 24. 24. 105. 38 Marx. 13. 23 montage. Lacanian. 44. 9. 116. Satya. 115. 63. 34. 115. 26 Manchus. 5. 58. 96 memory. Rosa. 54 Mauritius. Lisa. 59. 26 Luxemburg. 93. empires and. 160 Lowe. 20 Mongolia. 81. 87. 61. 114. 189. 78–79. 15. 93 minorities: of China. of Cambodia. 24. of Chinese immigrants. 45. 198n78. 179. 63. 35. Annette. 101. closure and. 132 modernization. 2. 26 Metis. 29. gendered. 46. ] 238 [ Index . in Hong Kong. global. 6 Minh-ha. Taiwanese identity and. 22. 44. 17. 53. Trinh T. 116. 195n30. 46. 69–70. 52 Lyotard. 86. 197n65 Lu Yan. 66. 63 Mestizos.. Western. 116. 39 mediauras. 35. 177. Taiwanese businessmen. 189. 128–29 masculinism. 189 mimesis. 17. 145. 71–77. 42. 2. 8. 57. putonghua Manet. 17. 158–61. 18. 79. 57 media. production of. 18 Minnan (Taiwanese) language. 41. 73–75. 5. 38. xi mirror stage. 105. 29. 26 Metz. 122 Mandarin language. 84. 108 men: “Chinaman” epithet and. 88. 151–52 Magritte. 92. 135. 90–91.Lo Ting exhibitions. T. mainland Chinese women and. 63. Inner. 19 Marxism. 95–96. 36. 114 mei (little sister). 104. 68 Maoism. 98. 65–66 Mouªe. 61. 95. Guoyu in relation to. W. 46. 7. 9 Macao. 29 Malaysia. 39 mediascape. 137–38 Nanyang. in film diegesis. 181 Lukjins. 189. 113. immigrants in United States and. 171. geopolitical. 132. 144–50. 169 minoritization. 80 Mercer. 45. identity and. Karl. 17 misrecognition. 98. 76. 146 martial arts genre. 2. 119. flexibility of global capitalism and. 45. 32 modernity. 80. 198n78 Malay language. Jean-François. white men. 118. 2.. 39. 21. Hong Kong television in southern China. 149. 19 Mexico. 181 Lu Xun. 19. 119. of liberation. “United States of the West” and. 3. 3. commercialized identities and. 143. gender and. 50. 4. model minority. hero narratives. oppression of Chinese women. minoritization and. 19. See also Hanyu. Victor. 186 Mao Zedong.” 198n78. in the Philippines. 195n30 Minor Transnationalism (Lionnet nd Shih). 26 narrative. 45. accents in cinema. in Taiwan. Edouard. as “dialect. 159. Hong Kong businessmen. 177 masculinity. 118. 66.

68 “One China” ideology. 19 panopticon. 164. 168. 128–29 postmodernity. 48. 116. 46. 188. 9. eroticism and. 88. desire for belonging and. 69 P’eng Tseng-chi. 32 nationalism. 101. 113 New Year. Renaissance. 191. 85. 177. nodal points of meaning and. 54. 72. rootlessness and. rhetoric of rescue and. 67–71. 26 Philippines.4. 46. 154. 23. 61. 9. 20. 10 Poole. 48–49. 102 Ong. 166. 22 photography. 25. 160. 169 philosophy. gender and. Deborah. 29 postcoloniality. 157 postcolonial studies. 102.” 169 “Power of Cinema” ( Woolf ). 69. 206nn2. 160 Orientalism. Chineseness and. empire and. 151 Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World (Chatterjee). 190. 108 Portuguese empire and language. 47. 69. 180. 27 “overseas compatriots. 41–42. as Western product. 13 New York. feminist antagonism against. 54. 94 Pollock. size of empire and. 69 Orientalism (Said). 143–44. 78 overdetermination. 185. 169 perspectivalism. self-Orientalization. Western gaze and. “overseas Chinese” and. 78 nodal points. 89. 192 “Politics of Admittance. 88. 140. 188 Panofsky. 68. 108. 132. 81. 25.” 135 Pan. 84. 156. 102. 120. 63. 15 pornography. 42 Northward Imaginary (beijin xiangxiang ). 32 1984 (Orwell). identity. 20. 28. “soft power. European/Western. 76. Aihwa. city of. narratives of Chinese government. 141–44. 119. 186. 9. Erwin. 134. 185. 96. 171. metropolitan. 13. nostalgia as form of. 30. 47–59. 47 Nazism. Lynn. visuality and. 11. 10. 79–82. Two Systems” slogan. Commodore Matthew. as theme in cinema. 88. 71. Maoist. 42 Opium War. nationalism and. leftist nationalism in PRC. 8–9. 183–84. geopolitics of desire and. 89. 46 nationality. 46 nation-states. white male colonial. 78. 41. 67–68. Orientalist use of. geopolitical “kinship system” and. 60–61. 17. national allegory and. 140 Index ] 239 [ . patriarchy and. 113. 90–91. 9 poststructuralism. 144. 169 New Chinese Empire and What It Means for the United States. Orientalist. martial arts genre and. 66. diaspora and. 66–67. 83. 15. 10. 148–49. liberal West as liberation from. 153. Griselda. ethnicity and. 27 pan-Chinese culture. 111. California murder case and. 170 “One Country. antagonism as resistance to. 153 Perry. 89. Chinese. 82–83. 17. 22 power. 30. 46–47. 153. repudiation of. 39. 171 Orwell. 167 New Left. 10 Olympia (Liu). 38. 7. flexible subject and. 12 overseas Chinese (huaqiao). 187 Nation and Its Fragments. 70. 91. 87. 61 Nonini. 116. 7. 47. colonial nostalgia in Hong Kong. trauma narratives. The” (Chow). 26. 93. Donald. 16 Peru. Third World nationalism and. for French empire. postcolonial and Third World. relations of. in Taiwan. anti-Orientalism in support of. 102 People’s Liberation Army (PLA). 182. 34. 52. 39 paradox. 88. 179 national liberation. George. 113 nostalgia. 190. 10. 108. The (Terrill). 70 politics. 80. 51. 4. 180. 17. 190 occularcentrism. 207n13. 88. Western gaze and. 36 patriarchy. 174 neocolonialism. The (Chatterjee). 184. reconstitution of. 25. 45–46. 61. 88. 10. 30. Chinese. 82–83. 52. 171 postmodernism. 49.nationalist.

14. global multiculturalism and. cinema in. 96. 83. 133 simulacra. nostalgia and. 56–60 Seven Types of Ambiguity (Empson). 131 semicolonialism. Hegelian dynamic of. 199n88. criticism as. 146. 27. 180. 30. Mandarin language Qin emperor. 32. 22. 54. 131. 78–79 rape. as community of change. 59. 103. See also misrecognition Records of Postcoloniality ( Wong). 18. 61. 73. 19. 132. 72–73 Red Detachment of Women. Chinese women in Taiwan. 188–89. 57. 168. The (Maoist opera). 165. 157 production. 16. 50. Jean-Paul. 154. 173. 30. 24 Sense and Sensibility (film). 172. 77. 105 Relational Aesthetics (Bourriaud). 21. 117. visual economy and. 6. 77–78. coevality of cultures. postcolonial cosmopolitanism and. The (Castells). 28. 71 racism. mainland women in Hong Kong. as notion in disappearance. 6. Chinese culture and. 79. 123. 71 Shanghai. 62. 190. 186 racialization. 52. 133. 44. 189–90 ] 240 [ Index . 70. 165 recuperation. identity and. 25. 20. articulations of. 191. literature in Sinitic languages. 5. 134 Robbins. 189. 150. 185. 199 Sino-Japanese Wars. intertextuality and. 193n1. 185–86. 16 prostitutes. 31. 26 scopic drive. diaspora and. regimes of authenticity and. 215n6 Quebec. The (Lan). Chineseness and. Orientalist narratives and. 29 race. 66. 32. 199n86. 208n22 Sartre. 173. 177 Reddest Red Sun (Liu). 26. 165. 37. 136. visual mode of. colonial history and. 164. 175. 97. 17. 179. 102. photographic. 62 satire. 23–39. 101. 118 Siao Yu (film). gendered. 154. 79. 35–36. 198n78. 131. 17. 31–32. 48–49. transnationality as mode of. 35. 114 Puerto Rico. 182. 176. 177. 135. 72 Red Lantern.Power of Identity. 67. 171 San Francisco. 9. 177 recognition. 90. 22 public spheres. 34. Bruce. 9 Resident Alien (Liu). 119. Edward. 40. 85. 9. 69. pan-Chinese. Taiwanese artists in. 10 Pushing Hands (film). 114–16. 48 Sichuan Province. 88. 179. The (Maoist opera). Taiwanese Mandarin and. 185. 179. 174. 218n10. Academy Awards and. 10 Singapore. 216n22 Rivers and Mountains. 129. as economic mecca. 28. 137. 23 representation. 57. 24. 183. immigration and. in Hong Kong. 122. 30 Sinitic language. cosmopolitanism and. linguistic power struggles and. 27. 20. 132 Silk Road. 27. 122. 190. “dialects” in relation to. 27. 86. transnational politics of. monolithic Chinese culture and. 41. stereotypes and. 93. 15–16. 190–92. 117 sexism. 164. 17 Searching for the Strange on the Mainland [Dalu xunqi] (TV program). 173. as pictorialization of the world. writing as valorized form of. 7. 70 psychoanalysis. 63–64. 169 punctum. See also Hanyu. 22 Practice of Chineseness. 30–31. 137–39. 39 Qing dynasty. ironic performance of. 32–33. 78 ressentiment. 72. 5. Ten Thousand Li of Love [ Jiangshan wanli qing ] (TV program). 191 Sinophone studies. 52. 198. 52 putonghua. 81 Sinophone. Western technology and. 16. 33. 4. 183 religion. 38. 129. 8. 114–15 Russia. 4. place-based. 35 scapegoating. 166 Said.

10. 116. 118. 176. economic status of. 3. 41. 28. colonial United States compared to. 169. 25 Third World. 190 Taiwanese Americans. 170. 88. 176–77 Straits Settlements. 140 spectatorship. Marxist intellectuals in. 85. 29 Subaltern Studies group. Emma. oppression of women in. hybridized. 120. postmodernity as exit from. fortune cookies. 25. 8 Sung dynasty. Chineseness and. American right associated with. 12. 138. 3–4. 136. 29. 95 socialism. 66 South America. Cartesian subject. 182 symbolic stage.” 78–79. 40. 27–28. defined. multicultural identity of. 94–95. 167 Terrorizer. 30. 175. as “Republic of China. feminist. 62. 32. The [Kongbu fenzi] (film). 79–83. 49. McDonald’s restaurants in. 186. 56.” 135–37. deterritorialized. 32. 153 Swan Song (Liu). 121. 31. 170. 64. Susan. 169–70. Rabindranath. female artists in. 48. 6. 108. 139. 92. international division of labor and. 159. 29. 40. 2. 166 television. in films. 10–11 stereotypes. 29 Terrill.“snake head” smugglers (shetou). 53. 123–24. 171. 5. 55. 16. transnationality and. 105. 52. China as “intimate enemy. 135. cosmopolitanism of. 127. nostalgia and. nationalism in. 43. 198n66 Southeast Asian studies. minoritization of. 129 Thompson. 143. 188 Taiwan. 30. 140 technologies.–China rivalry and. 171 subjectivity. Ross. 18 Tagore. 208n16. New Taiwanese identity. 208n16. 189. 130. 100. 10. postmodernity of. exploitation of labor in. history of “mainland China” and. 47–48. Three No’s policy toward. 121. 125–27. 12. 7. 209n37. 93. 1–8. 81 Spain and Spanish empire. of female spectator. satellite. 178. 25 Southeast Asia. 53. 120. multilingual community of. 72 Sweeties of the Century ( Wu). 168–69. independence claims of. 89–90. 36–37. 141.” 36. 131. 47. 190. 172. 3. 95. 9. economic relationship with China. 52–53. 120–21. Japanese colonial rule in. poststructuralist notion of. 33. cinema in. 43. 168. 42. travel of visual products and. Han as majority in. 58 Three Principles of the People (Sun Yat-sen). 129 Thailand. in Taiwan. 90–91. 77–78. aboriginal languages. 184 Staªord.S. 78. 127 Index ] 241 [ . 173 taichi. as “fifty-first state” of United States. 59. 12–13. 169. 18 Spivak. triangulation with PRC and Hong Kong. 31. nation-states and. 52. 29. 12. 129–35. 167. Gayatri. 181. 88. 27 Souvenir (Liu). 69. 207n10 Tan Dun. 86–89. 1. 136. 14–15. 178. 54 Stewart. First World economic level of. 167. 150 Stories of Women from Hsin-chuang [Hsinchuang nuren de gushi] ( Wu). 133 socialist realism. 51. 30 spectacle. 17. 94–103. 119. 127. 175. 119. 177 surveillance. 31. classical Chinese culture and. China’s threat of forceful reunification and. 167. 124– 29. 172 Spring and Autumn period. 60 subtitles. military alliance with United States. 69. 165–66. 36. Hong Kong television in southern China. 9. 88. 23. 191. 159 Sun Yat-sen. 22. society of the. 141. 115. artworks and. 186–87. “Chinaman. 120–21. 85. nativist discourses in. 113. U. 137. Barbara Maria. 201n11. 77. 41. 46. 44. Americanism in. British. sexual exploitation of women in history of. 88. 58 Taipei. film audiences in. 28– 29. 128–29. 119. 51. 177. dalumei (“mainland sister”) images in. 54. 186. 175–79. 15. struggle for international recognition. patriarchy in. sexualization of Asian women. 18. 134 Teochiu language.

27. 85. economic. 30. 73. as ] 242 [ Index . 82. 137–38. liberal feminist. 116. 28. as empire. Hayden. 63. 127 United States. 182. 207n10. 72. Hong Kong wives. 6. complicities of. 77 Untitled (Liu). 180 Victorian Sweeties ( Wu). 45. 103 Tibet. 168–69. 186. 191. 60. 21. 52. immigrant television and film in. racial politics of. 44. 100. Raymond. history and. 174. colonial gender dynamics and. 167. future-anterior mode. 101 Warring States period. non-Western “annexations” of. 43. patriarchy and. 187. 89. 23 time. 69. 87–88. 41. 192. reception of Crouching Tiger. 92. 17 vision. Freudian. visual media saturation and. technology of. 9–10. minor artist and. 47 Wilde. 25. 27 Wang Yung-ch’ing. 85. 76. 177 translation. 184 Weber. 12. 85. Sinophone communities in. Chinese American. 55–56. 85. Indian postcolonial studies in. 54. 48. 168 Tu Wei-ming. foot-binding of. 57. as settler anglophone country. 42. 185–88. Third World and. 10 “vision machine. 137. 160.Tiananmen Square massacre (1989). 178. identity and. 191. 8. 5. 169. 42 Vietnam and Vietnamese. 202n24 Tianjin Province. 141. 180. 6. 173. 23 unconscious. as primary means of identification. mainland women in Taiwan and Hong Kong. 76. 5. 90–91. 186. 70–71 Western world. 32. 178 victimology. 181 Williams. 26 Tsai Ming-liang. capital and. 49–51. 187. 62–63. 27. 118. 179 Westernization. 56. 176. 130. 120. Hidden Dragon. 204n16. 142. 177 Virilio. 72. epistemics of. 41–42 Trinidad. 71. Kate. gender and. 116. Ludwig. 170. 25. the Sinophone and. 103–14. 53. 165. feminism and. 92–93. 181 video art. 24. 63. 90. 171 women. 59. 82. Taiwan’s political relations with. 6. 176. 12. 57 Tokyo. 174. 217n28 Turkey. China as threat to hegemony of. 66. 36. 60. 167–68. 68. cultural hegemony of.” 17 visuality (visual culture). 8 voyeurism. 121. Sinophone films set in. 39 Wedding Banquet. 70 White. 56 Wittgenstein. identity and. 115 Uigurs. Taiwanese immigrants. 80. ChineseAmericans. 38–39. 25. in Maoist China. 173. 44 topolects. 189. 14 “Woman in Diªerence” (Spivak). 56. Gu. 190 universalism. film audiences in. 77. in global capitalism. 84. 78. 14 tokenization. 149–50. feminist. politics of representation and. 90–91. 94– 103. 59 transnationalism/transnationality. 8–16. 44. 119–20. Chinese immigration to. allegorical. 114– 16. 48. Chinese Exclusion Acts. 23. Paul. 166. 57. 14 United Nations. 46. diaspora and. 47. 54 Wenda. 138 topography. 83–84. subjectivity and. 34. 84. Asian immigration into. 182. 191. 116. resistant identities and. 29 tourism. 106. 62. “One China” policy. public sphere and. China seen as threat. 6. 7 Winslet. “mainland cousin” in Hong Kong. The (film). 76. 32. 67. postcolonial migration to. 18. 179. 67. 104–5. 69. 52. 26 Vietnam War. Samuel. 43. 107–8. 9. 6. 44 whiteness. 19. 82 Wang Gungwu. as anglophone country. 83 untranslatability. 88. Oscar. Taiwan–China relations and.

76. 177 Wu Da-you. 218n13 Wong Bik-wan. 23 Xu Bing. 115. 37–38 Zhang Ziyi. Sau-ling. 3 zhong-gang-tai triangle. 181. 184 Yeoh. 3 Yi people. 118. 23 Xizang Province. 67. 151. Nira. John. 115 yeenai (concubine/mistress). Mayfair. 52 Yang. 184. 93. Virginia. Edward. 156 World War II. 46 Zhang Yimou. 206n4 Index ] 243 [ . 47. representation of. 42. 217n28 Yang. 132 Yoshimoto. 175–79.objects of commodification. Taiwanese wives. 129. 34. 142. 72. Mitsuhiro. 179 Yan. 87. 180–82 Xinjiang Province. 83. 104 Yellow River region. 148 Woolf. 165 Woo. 140 working class. 18. 217n32 Wu Mali. Michelle. Lu. 206n4 Zhongguo (Middle Kingdom). 90–91. 101–3 Wong. 33. 45 Yuval-Davis.

Designer: Text: Display: Compositor: Indexer: Printer and binder: Nicole Hayward Adobe Garamond Akzidenz Grotesk family Integrated Composition Systems Alexander Trotter Friesens Corporation .