Daniel VukovichJul 17, 2012
China and Orientalism
Western Knowledge Production and the P.R.C.
Using materials that range from poetry and fiction to historiography and film, China and Orientalism: Western Knowledge Production and the P.R.C. (Routledge, 2011) proposes a sharp critique of the way that China's history from 1949-1979 has been understood and written in a wide variety of texts. Daniel Vukovich argues that there is a new, Sinological form of orientalism that characterizes the China field, characterized by a shift in orientalist logic from a discourse of difference to a cultural logic of sameness that describes China as being in the process of becoming-the-same as the USA and the West. It is a bold and ambitious book that takes on scholarly and popular writings on many key themes in modern Chinese historiography, from the Tiananmen protests to the Cultural Revolution, from the dominance of numeracy in the historiography of Great Leap Forward to the dominance of crowds and mass-belonging in fictional representations of Mao, from the pedagogy of Chinese-language film studies to the scholarly appreciation (or lack thereof) of the dimensions of Maoist discourse. It is a pointed and spirited book that incorporates a remarkably transdisciplinary range of approaches and texts. Enjoy!