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Ban Wang

May 3, 2022

China in the World

Culture, Politics, and World Vision

Duke University Press 2022

Ban Wang's book China in the World: Culture, Politics, and World Vision (Duke University Press, 2022), traces the evolution of modern China from the late nineteenth century to the present. With a focus on tensions and connections between national formation and international outlooks, Wang shows how ancient visions persist even as China has adopted and revised the Western nation-state form. The concept of tianxia, meaning “all under heaven,” has constantly been updated into modern outlooks that value unity, equality, and reciprocity as key to overcoming interstate conflict, social fragmentation, and ethnic divides. Instead of geopolitical dominance, China’s worldviews stem as much from the age-old desire for world unity as from absorbing the Western ideas of the Enlightenment, humanism, and socialism. Examining political writings, literature, and film, Wang presents a narrative of the country’s pursuits of decolonization, national independence, notions of national form, socialist internationalism, alternative development, and solidarity with Third World nations. Rather than national exceptionalism, Chinese worldviews aspire to a shared, integrated, and equal world.

Ban Wang is the William Haas Endowed Chair Professor in Chinese Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. His major publications include The Sublime Figure of History: Aesthetics and Politics in Twentieth-Century China (Stanford UP 1997), Illuminations from the Past (Stanford UP 2004), History and Memory (in Chinese, Oxford UP, 2004), and Narrative Perspective and Irony in Chinese and American Fiction (2002). He edited Words and Their Stories: Essays on the Language of the Chinese Revolution (Brill, 2010); Chinese Visions of World Order (Duke UP 2017). He co-edited Trauma and Cinema (Hong Kong UP, 2004), The Image of China in the American Classroom (Nanjing UP, 2005), China and New Left Visions (Lexington, 2012), and Debating Socialist Legacy in China (Palgrave, 2014).

Linshan Jiang is Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests are modern and contemporary literature, film, and popular culture in mainland China, Taiwan and Japan; trauma and memory studies; gender and sexuality studies; queer studies; as well as comparative literature and translation studies.

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Linshan Jiang

Linshan Jiang is Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests are modern and contemporary literature, film, and popular culture in mainland China, Taiwan and Japan; trauma and memory studies; gender and sexuality studies; queer studies; as well as comparative literature and translation studies.

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