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

By Andrea Bachner

New conversation and data applied sciences supply exact demanding situations and percentages for the chinese language script, which, not like alphabetic or different phonetic scripts, depends on a number of signifying rules. 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 background from various replacement 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 posh research of intercultural representations, exchanges, and tensions, the textual content specializes in the concrete "scripting" of id and alterity, advancing a brand new realizing of the hyperlinks among identification and medium and a critique of articulations that depend on unmarried, monolithic, and univocal definitions of writing.

Chinese writing--with its background of divergent readings in chinese language and non-Chinese contexts, with its present reinvention within the age of latest media and globalization--can train us easy methods to learn and build mediality and cultural id in interculturally accountable methods and in addition how you can scrutinize, critique, and but relish and luxuriate in the strong multi-medial creativity embodied in writing.

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Extra resources for Beyond Sinology: Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture

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After a tribute to Chinese painting, embodied in the elegance of the Four Treasures of the Study—brush, ink, ink stone, and paper—as well as in the controlled grace of the dancers’ movements as they painted ink traces onto a gigantic scroll, Chinese writing, couched in mechanistic shape, introduced a sharp contrast between two aspects of Chinese culture that share profound aesthetic and philosophical links. 2 But the Chinese script appeared in the hypermodern shape of a gigantic writing machine: a printing press with movable type.

The uncanny substitution of machines with human beings served the same aim. The letters on display were “living” letters in more than one sense: dynamic and in motion, they were also operated by human beings. When the type stopped and the boxes opened up, young male bodies emerged and waved to the audience, proffering blossoming peach twigs, thus releasing the tension created by the audience’s inability to distinguish between machines and human beings. And yet, underneath the admiration for the concerted effort of so many individual bodies lingers a feeling of unease: has the prison house of language been replaced here by cages of script?

On the one hand, the Chinese writing system bore the brunt of diatribes against linguistic rigidity—unjustly so, I would claim. On the other, under the sinographic cover, phonetic unification in the form of supplemental phonetic notation de facto elevated one Sinitic language—the one spoken around Beijing—to the status of national language. Consequently, for decades, Chinese writing has displayed a double taboo character: ideologically tied in complex ways to linguistic unity, yet disavowed according to the phonocentric values imported from the West—until recently.

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