Beyond Sinology

Beyond Sinology

Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture

New communication and information technologies provide distinct challenges and possibilities for the Chinese script, which, unlike alphabetic or other phonetic scripts, relies on multiple signifying principles. In recent decades, this multiplicity has generated a rich corpus of reflection and experimentation in literature, film, visual and performance art, and design and architecture, within both China and different parts of the West.

Approaching this history from a variety of alternative theoretical perspectives, Beyond Sinology reflects on the Chinese script to pinpoint the multiple connections between languages, scripts, and medial expressions and cultural and national identities. Through a complex study of intercultural representations, exchanges, and tensions, the text focuses on the concrete "scripting" of identity and alterity, advancing a new understanding of the links between identity and medium and a critique of articulations that rely on single, monolithic, and univocal definitions of writing.

Chinese writing—with its history of divergent readings in Chinese and non-Chinese contexts, with its current reinvention in the age of new media and globalization—can teach us how to read and construct mediality and cultural identity in interculturally responsible ways and also how to scrutinize, critique, and yet appreciate and enjoy the powerful multi-medial creativity embodied in writing.
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • A Note on Characters, Romanization, Translations and Images
  • Acknoledgments
  • Introduction: Script Politics
  • 1. Corpographies
    • Death and the Sinograph
    • National Calligraphies
  • 2. Iconographies
    • Poetics of Visuality
    • On (Not) Writing Chinese
  • 3. Sonographies
    • Muteness Envy
    • Sinographic Glossolalia
  • 4. Allographies
    • Crypto-Chinese
    • Graphic Parasites
  • 5. Technographies
    • Radical Design
    • Under E(rasure)
  • Conclusion: Beyond Sinology
    • Sinographic Dilemmas
    • Sinographic Mimicry
    • Beyond Si(g)nology
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index


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