In After the Post–Cold War eminent Chinese cultural critic Dai Jinhua interrogates history, memory, and the future of China as a global economic power in relation to its socialist past, profoundly shaped by the Cold War. Drawing on Marxism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory, Dai examines recent Chinese films that erase the country’s socialist history to show how such erasure resignifies socialism’s past as failure and thus forecloses the imagining of a future beyond that of globalized capitalism. She outlines the tension between China’s embrace of the free market and a regime dependent on a socialist imprimatur. She also offers a genealogy of China’s transformation from a source of revolutionary power into a fountainhead of globalized modernity. This narrative, Dai contends, leaves little hope of moving from the capitalist degradation of the present into a radical future that might offer a more socially just world.
Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel argues that the creation of such “desiring subjects” is at the core of China’s contingent, piece-by-piece reconfiguration of its relationship to a post-socialist world. In a study at once ethnographic, historical, and theoretical, she contends that neoliberal subjectivities are created through the production of various desires—material, sexual, and affective—and that it is largely through their engagements with public culture that people in China are imagining and practicing appropriate desires for the post-Mao era.
Drawing on her research over the past two decades among urban residents and rural migrants in Hangzhou and Beijing, Rofel analyzes the meanings that individuals attach to various public cultural phenomena and what their interpretations say about their understandings of post-socialist China and their roles within it. She locates the first broad-based public debate about post-Mao social changes in the passionate dialogues about the popular 1991 television soap opera Yearnings. She describes how the emergence of gay identities and practices in China reveals connections to a transnational network of lesbians and gay men at the same time that it brings urban/rural and class divisions to the fore. The 1999–2001 negotiations over China’s entry into the World Trade Organization; a controversial women’s museum; the ways that young single women portray their longings in relation to the privations they imagine their mothers experienced; adjudications of the limits of self-interest in court cases related to homoerotic desire, intellectual property, and consumer fraud—Rofel reveals all of these as sites where desiring subjects come into being.
This first significant collection of essays on women in China in more than two decades captures a pivotal moment in a cross-cultural—and interdisciplinary—dialogue. For the first time, the voices of China-based scholars are heard alongside scholars positioned in the United States. The distinguished contributors to this volume are of different generations, hold citizenship in different countries, and were trained in different disciplines, but all embrace the shared project of mapping gender in China and making power-laden relationships visible. The essays take up gender issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Chapters focus on learned women in the eighteenth century, the changing status of contemporary village women, sexuality and reproduction, prostitution, women's consciousness, women's writing, the gendering of work, and images of women in contemporary Chinese fiction.
Some of the liveliest disagreements over the usefulness of western feminist theory and scholarship on China take place between Chinese working in China and Chinese in temporary or longtime diaspora. Engendering China will appeal to a broad academic spectrum, including scholars of Asian studies, critical theory, feminist studies, cultural studies, and policy studies.
In this innovative collaborative ethnography of Italian-Chinese ventures in the fashion industry, Lisa Rofel and Sylvia J. Yanagisako offer a new methodology for studying transnational capitalism. Drawing on their respective linguistic and regional areas of expertise, Rofel and Yanagisako show how different historical legacies of capital, labor, nation, and kinship are crucial in the formation of global capitalism. Focusing on how Italian fashion is manufactured, distributed, and marketed by Italian-Chinese ventures and how their relationships have been complicated by China's emergence as a market for luxury goods, the authors illuminate the often-overlooked processes that produce transnational capitalism—including privatization, negotiation of labor value, rearrangement of accumulation, reconfiguration of kinship, and outsourcing of inequality. In so doing, Fabricating Transnational Capitalism reveals the crucial role of the state and the shifting power relations between nations in shaping the ideas and practices of the Italian and Chinese partners.
The contributors to New World Orderings demonstrate that China’s twenty-first-century rise occurs not only through economics and state politics but equally through the mutual entanglements of overlapping social, economic, and cultural worlds in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They show how the Chinese state has sought to reconfigure the nation’s position in the world and the centrality of trade, labor, religion, migration, gender, race, and literature to this reconfiguration. Among other topics, the contributors examine China’s post-Bandung cultural diplomacy with African nations, how West African “pastor-entrepreneurs” in China interpreted and preached the prosperity doctrine, the diversity of Chinese-Argentine social relations in the soy supply chain, and the ties between China and India within the complex history of inter-Asian exchange and Chinese migration to Southeast Asia. By examining China’s long historical relationship with the Global South, this volume presents a non-state-centric history of China that foregrounds the importance of transnational communicative and imaginative worldmaking processes and interactions.
Contributors. Andrea Bachner, Luciano Damián Bolinaga, Nellie Chu, Rachel Cypher, Mingwei Huang, T. Tu Huynh, Yu-lin Lee, Ng Kim Chew, Lisa Rofel, Carlos Rojas, Shuang Shen, Derek Sheridan, Nicolai Volland