Sinica Podcast

10.29.13

Chinese Literature in Translation

Jeremy Goldkorn, Linda Jaivin & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Sinica is delighted to be joined by Linda Jaivin and Alice Liu for a discussion on Chinese literature in translation. As many listeners will know, Linda is a long-standing force in the Chinese literary community and the author of many...

The Puzzle of Identifying as Chinese

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
In the U.S.A., there’s a tension between the self that is invented and the self that is inherited,” Chinese-American writer Gish Jen said. “But in China, it’s 20 percent of one and 80 percent of another,” whereas in America, “it’s the...

Phonemica: A Quest to Save China’s Languages

Wendy Qian
Atlantic
Phonemica, or xiangyinyuan, is an innovative project that documents China’s myriad dialects and languages, many of which are slowly disappearing due to state-sponsorship of Mandarin as the national language.  

Chinese Restaurants in America

G.H. Danton
China Story
In his 1925 account of Chinese restaurants in America, G.H. Danton introduces the reader to the cuisine, clientele and commercial considerations of the industry which had ‘supplanted the Chinese laundryman in typifying for America where China is’...

Sinica Podcast

05.10.13

Humor in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Feel that your jokes have been falling flat lately? Enough that you’ve even started wondering whether China is a grand experiment in irony and deadpan humor? This week on Sinica, hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to invite guests...

Books

04.12.13

Lin Shu, Inc.

Michael Gibbs Hill
How could a writer who knew no foreign languages call himself a translator? How, too, did he become a major commercial success, churning out nearly 200 translations over twenty years? Lin Shu, Inc. crosses the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and print culture, offering new ways to understand the stakes of translation in China and beyond. With rich detail and lively prose, Michael Gibbs Hill shows how Lin Shu (1852-1924) rose from obscurity to become China’s leading translator of Western fiction at the beginning of the twentieth century. Well before Ezra Pound’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “inventions” of China revolutionized poetry and theater, Lin Shu and his assistants—who did, in fact, know languages like English and French—had already given many Chinese readers their first taste of fiction from the United States, France, and England. After passing through Lin Shu’s “factory of writing,” classic novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oliver Twist spoke with new meaning for audiences concerned with the tumultuous social and political change facing China. Leveraging his success as a translator of foreign books, Lin Shu quickly became an authority on traditional Chinese culture who upheld the classical language as a cornerstone of Chinese national identity. Eventually, younger intellectuals—who had grown up reading his translations—turned on Lin Shu and tarred him as a symbol of backward conservatism. Ultimately, Lin’s defeat and downfall became just as significant as his rise to fame in defining the work of the intellectual in modern China. —Oxford University Press

Books

04.03.13

From the Dragon’s Mouth

Ana Fuentes
From The Dragon’s Mouth: Ten True Stories that Unveil the Real China is an exquisitely intimate look into the China of the twenty-first century as seen through the eyes of its people. This is one of the rare times a book combines the voices of everyday Chinese people from so many different layers of society: a dissident tortured by the police; a young millionaire devoted to nationalism; a peasant-turned-prostitute to pay for the best education for her son; a woman who married her gay friend to escape from social pressure, just like an estimated 16 million other women; a venerated kung fu master unable to train outdoors because of the hazardous pollution; the daughter of two Communist Party officials getting rich coaching Chinese entrepreneurs the ways of Capitalism; among others.   —Penguin{chop}{node, 3048, 4}

China Launches Screenwriting Competition for U.S. Writers

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
The competition is the Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to get the country more exposure in international markets through voices that might be more in touch with the tastes of foreign audiences.  

A Streak Of Brooklyn In Beijing

Mitch Moxley
New York Times
Gulou residents have been joined by a new breed of Chinese and expatriate clad in skinny jeans, riding fixed-gear bikes and a loyal customer base for restaurants that offer locavore menu options.

Chinese Family Memories, Recycled

Kerri MacDonald
New York Times
Thomas Sauvin's photo project, composed of discarded negatives, "starts with birth, [and] ends with death... It talks a bit about love. People go to the beach. People travel." In short, it's about life. ...

Man Who Had Mother Executed Wants Tomb Honored

Zhou Qun and Chen Baocheng
The 60-year-old Zhang Hongbing, who was among the most radical Red Guards during the tumultuous 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, describes his life as one full of regret. 

Books

07.31.12

Sound Kapital

Matthew Niederhauser
China exists today in a liminal realm, caught between the socialist idealism of old and a calamitous drive for wealth spurned by recent free market reforms. This seemingly unbridgeable gap tears at the country’s social fabric while provoking younger generations to greater artistic heights. The unique sound emerging from Beijing’s underground delves deeply into this void, aggressively questioning the moral and social basis of China’s fragile modernity even as it subsists upon it.A formidable new wave of Chinese musicians is taking the city by storm. Revolving around four venues spread across Beijing, a burgeoning group of performers are working outside government-controlled media channels, and in the process, capturing the attention of the international music community. They now constitute a fresh, independent voice in a country renowned for creative conformity and saccharine Cantonese pop. In Sound Kapital, photographer Matthew Niederhauser captures the energy of the personalities and performers at D-22, Yugong Yishan, 2 Kolegas, and Mao Livehouse. These revolutionary Beijing nightclubs remain at the core of the city’s creative explosion by hosting an eclectic mix of punk, experimental, rock, and folk performances.Included with the book are concert posters and illustrations that encapsulate the underground scene in Beijing, as well as a CD sampler of the new music being produced. There is no doubt that these musicians will continue to break ground within Beijing’s nascent artistic landscape, helping to push the boundaries of an already expanding realm of independent thought and musical expression in China.—powerHouse Books

Media

06.04.12

Food Paradise or Hell: A New Documentary Sparks Debate

Sun Yunfan & Qiaoyi Zhuang
A seven-part documentary on China’s food culture, “A Bite of China” (which translated literally means “China on the Tip of the Tongue”) premiered on the main channel of China Central Television (CCTV-1) on May 14, 2012 and became an instant...

Sinica Podcast

12.09.11

Chinese Literature

Jeremy Goldkorn & Alice Xin Liu from Sinica Podcast
Our podcast this week is all about books and money in modern China. If you, like us, are tired of Lu Xun and Lao She, listen to Sinica this week as we look into the state of contemporary Chinese literature, asking what writers are hot, what writers...

Sinica Podcast

06.18.10

Review of Chinese Books

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Looking for a little summer reading? This week, Sinica sorts the wheat from the chaff with a massive review of books on China. Our discussion touches on a everything from Chinese fiction to non-fiction academic works on Chinese politics, economics,...