Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific

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University of California Press, Jun 19, 2007 - Social Science - 257 pages
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Shu-mei Shih inaugurates the field of Sinophone studies in this vanguard excursion into sophisticated cultural criticism situated at the intersections of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, and transnational studies. Arguing that the visual has become the primary means of mediating identities under global capitalism, Shih examines the production and circulation of images across what she terms the "Sinophone Pacific," which comprises Sinitic-language speaking communities such as the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese America. This groundbreaking work argues that the dispersal of the so-called Chinese peoples across the world needs to be reconceptualized in terms of vibrant or vanishing communities of Sinitic-language cultures rather than of ethnicity and nationality.

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Page 45 - ... manage to fix itself in the intelligible and instituted forms of a society, the social only exists, however, as an effort to construct that impossible object. Any discourse is constituted as an attempt to dominate the field of discursivity, to arrest the flow of differences, to construct a centre. We will call the privileged discursive points of this partial fixation, nodal points.
Page 20 - All this to illustrate the point that identities both condition and are conditioned by the kinds of interpretations people give to the experiences they have. As Mohanty says, "identities are ways of making sense of our experiences." They are "theoretical constructions that enable us to read the world in specific ways
Page 8 - Whatever the pictorial turn is, then, it should be clear that it is not a return to naive mimesis, copy, or correspondence theories of representation, or a renewed metaphysics of pictorial 'presence': it is rather a postlinguistic, postsemiotic rediscovery of the picture as a complex interplay between visuality, apparatus, institutions, discourse, bodies, and figurality.

About the author (2007)

Shu-mei Shih is Professor in Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937 (UC Press) and coeditor of Minor Transnationalism.

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