Beyond Sinology: Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture by Andrea Bachner

By Andrea Bachner

New conversation and knowledge applied sciences supply precise demanding situations and probabilities for the chinese language script, which, not like alphabetic or different phonetic scripts, is dependent upon a number of signifying ideas. In fresh a long time, this multiplicity has generated a wealthy corpus of mirrored image and experimentation in literature, movie, visible and function artwork, and layout and structure, inside either China and various elements of the West.

Approaching this heritage from quite a few substitute theoretical views, past Sinology displays at the chinese language script to pinpoint the a number of connections among languages, scripts, and medial expressions and cultural and nationwide identities. via a fancy learn of intercultural representations, exchanges, and tensions, the textual content specializes in the concrete "scripting" of id and alterity, advancing a brand new figuring out of the hyperlinks among identification and medium and a critique of articulations that depend upon unmarried, monolithic, and univocal definitions of writing.

Chinese writing--with its historical past of divergent readings in chinese language and non-Chinese contexts, with its present reinvention within the age of latest media and globalization--can educate us tips to learn and build mediality and cultural identification in interculturally dependable methods and in addition find out how to scrutinize, critique, and but savor and revel in the robust multi-medial creativity embodied in writing.

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Even on the side of writing, it seems, some languages are more written than others. Small wonder, then, that the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics showcased the “superior” technology of print with movable type, rather than the tradition of woodblock printing looked down upon by the West. The gesture of having the sinograph compete on ground long claimed by the alphabet shows a new sense of cultural confidence. Long bygone are the days in which the Chinese script lived under the pall of a strange disavowal: both crucial to Chinese culture and the self-definition of a Chinese essence and shamefully unsuited to Chinese modernity, in the eyes of the West as well as through the Western lenses of Chinese intellectuals.

34 However, what is important here—and what has always been important—is not primarily the real use and applicability of a certain script, what we might call its script technology, but much more its script politics. What counts in the example of the Beijing Olympics is not necessarily that Chinese input methods conventionally take two more steps (one mental, one computational), but that the output can claim contiguity to the technology of computerization, through its visual aspects, for instance.

Global Chinese Culture) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-231-16452-8 (cloth : acid-free paper) — ISBN 978-0-231-53630-1 (e-book) 1. Chinese language — Writing — History. 2. Chinese characters — History. 3. Inscriptions, Chinese — History and criticism. 4. Chinese in literature. 5. Chinese in motion pictures. 6. Mass media and language — China. 7. Chinese in art. I. Title. 1'11—dc23 2013016490 A Columbia University Press E-book. edu. Cover design: Lisa Hamm References to websites (URLs) were accurate at the time of writing.

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