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Creating an Alternative World: The Remaking of Western Ideologies in Modern Chinese Bildungsromane (1919-1976)

English title Creating an Alternative World: The Remaking of Western Ideologies in Modern Chinese Bildungsromane (1919-1976)
Applicant Cui Qian
Number 178688
Funding scheme Doc.CH (until 2020)
Research institution Universitärer Forschungsschwerpunkt Asien und Europa Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Other languages and literature
Start/End 01.03.2018 - 28.02.2022
Approved amount 259'021.00
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Keywords (6)

Chinese Bildungsroman; World Literature; Chinese postcoloniality ; Western ideologies in Chinese Literature; worldmaking ; Twentieth-century Chinese Literature

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Durch das Untersuchen der Umarbeitung der westlichen Ideologien in gesellschaftspolitische Instrumente zur Aufklärung und nationalen Rettung im China des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts soll mit diesem Projekt der Frage nachgegangen werden, wie und in welchem Ausmaß die Literatur eine normative Kraft bei der Gestaltung einer alternativen Welt zur Bewältigung der westlichen Hegemonie darstellt.
Lay summary


Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Dieses Projekt hat zwei Schwerpunkte: 1) die eingehende Prüfung der Umarbeitung der westlichen Ideologien (namentlich der Ideologien von Familie, Individualität, Geschlecht und Nation in der Zeit der Vierter-Mai-Bewegung sowie der marxistischen Ideologie während der Zeit Maos) durch den Vergleich und die Analyse ausgewählter Werke des Bildungsromans sowohl aus China als auch aus dem Westen; und 2) die Untersuchung, wie diese literarischen Werke und die umgearbeiteten Ideologien als normative Kräfte des Prozesses des Welterschaffens während dieser prägenden Zeit der modernen chinesischen Gesellschaft wirkten.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext                      

Durch die Entwirrung des komplizierten Verhältnisses zwischen der westlichen und der chinesischen Kultur fördert das Projekt ein tieferes Verständnis für die Hybridität der modernen chinesischen Gesellschaft, in die diese Kulturen eingebettet sind. Das Projekt verfolgt dies zurück auf die erste intensive Begegnung des traditionellen chinesischen Denkens mit westlichen Ideologien. Die andauernden Probleme der chinesischen Moderne, deren Wurzeln bis ins zwanzigste Jahrhundert zurückverfolgt werden und in diesem Kontext diskutiert werden können, sollen den Schwerpunkt bilden und eingehend unter die Lupe genommen werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.01.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ICAS 11 (Eleventh International Convention of Asia Scholars) Talk given at a conference Coming of Age in Utopianism: De-worlding and Re-worlding in Ge Fei’s Peach Blossom Beauty 15.07.2019 University of Leiden, Netherlands Cui Qian;
Research Day “Asia & Europe” Talk given at a conference When Nature Sings Back: Time and Bildung in The Story of the Stone 06.05.2019 University of Zurich, Switzerland Cui Qian;
Chinese History after 1949 Talk given at a conference Coming of Age at the Margin of the Revolutionary History 09.11.2018 University of Vienna, Austria Cui Qian;
Residual Futures: Rethinking Utopianism in Modern China Talk given at a conference Bildung, Utopia, and Multi-temporality in Ge Fei’s Peach Blossom Beauty 03.10.2018 Univerisity of Zurich and Castasegna, Switzerland Cui Qian;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Filmvorführung mit Podiumsgespräch: Bang Zi Melody (Zheng Dasheng, 2017) Workshop 02.05.2019 University of Zurich, Switzerland Cui Qian;


Abstract

By examining the remaking of Western ideologies as sociopolitical instruments for enlightenment and national salvation in twentieth-century China, this project aims to answer the questions of how and to what extent literature can act as a normative force in shaping an alternative world that negotiates with the Western hegemony. This project has two focuses: 1) scrutinizing the remaking of Western ideologies (namely the ideologies of family, individuality, gender, and nation in the May Fourth period, and the Marxist ideology during Mao’s time) by comparing and analyzing selected Bildungsroman pieces from both China and the West; and 2) examining how these literary pieces and the remade ideologies functioned as normative forces in the process of worldmaking during this formative period of modern Chinese society. The project fosters a deeper understanding of the hybridity of modern Chinese society by disentangling the complicated relationship between the Western and the Chinese culture embedded in it. The project traces it back to the first intense encounter of traditional Chinese thought and Western ideologies. On-going issues in Chinese modernity, the roots of which can be traced back to and discussed in the context of the twentieth century are to be focused upon and scrutinized. An interdisciplinary method is adopted in this project so that the interaction among text, context, and the psyche can be exposed through examinations of selected materials. The topic of this research is located at the intersection of Chinese studies, world literature, and postcolonial studies. In 2016, Pheng Cheah published the book What Is a World?: On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature. In this book, going against the trend of discussing world literature as a product of the global circulation extended from the development of the global market, Cheah focuses on the world-(re)making power of literature. Cheah examines the field between literature and reality, where literature is discussed as a normative force of (re)shaping the world. This project further explores this issue by offering a synthesized analysis of influential pieces of twentieth-century Chinese Bildungsroman, which exhibit their worldmaking power by negotiating with hegemonic Western ideologies. This project examines the philosophical hybridity of modern Chinese culture by probing the compatibility and incompatibility of Western ideologies and traditional Chinese thought, as well as the eclectic ways that the Chinese intellectuals reconstructed Western ideologies into new ones that were congenial to traditional Chinese thought, and at the same time suitable for the sociopolitical environment of the time.
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