Visuality & Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific
Professor Shu-mei Shih's new, pathbreaking book
Shih-mei Shih inaugrates the field of Sinophone studies in a work of cultural criticism at the intersection of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, and transnational studies. Arguing that visual culture has become the primary means of mediating identies under global capitalism, Shih examines the production and circulation of images -- in film, television, contemporary art, newspapers and other periodicals -- across what she calls the Sinophone Pacific, which consists of Chinese-speaking communities in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Chinese America, and elsewhere. This groundbreaking book contends that the dispersal of Chinese peoples should be understood in terms of communities of Chinese-language cultures rather than ethnicity or nationality.
Arif Dirlik (University of Oregon) comments on the book:
"The reader may be startled by the juxtaposition of visual and phonic in the title of this stimulating volume. Shih does it with a purpose. The Sinophone refers more to a people than a voice, as the basis for affinity across global spaces, that confers a commonality upon them even as they follow diverse historical trajectories. The visual confirms this commonality, even as it opens up those same people to forces of cultural globalization, forces that themselves both unite and divide. The deconstruction of categories such as China or Chineseness always seems to invite their reconstruction on new bases. Shih offers a novel and illuminating account of this double motion in the contemporary production of a 'global Chinese' (Sinophone) culture through visual media."
Shu-mei Shih is Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at UCLA. She is the author of, among others, The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937 (UC Press, 2001) and coeditor of Minor Transnationalism.
University of California Press, 2007
257 pages, 6 x 8 inches, 12 color illustrations, 26 b/w photographs
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2007