Marc L. MoskowitzMar 2, 2014
Chinese Masculinities and the Game of Weiqi in China
University of California Press 2013
In contemporary China, the game of Weiqi (also known as Go) represents many things at the same time: the military power of the general, the intellect and control of the Confucian gentleman, the rationality of the modern scientist. In Go Nation: Chinese Masculinities and the Game of Weiqi in China (University of California, 2013), Marc L. Moskowitz considers these aspects of Weiqi, treating the game as a lens through which to observe what it means to be a child, a university student, or a senior citizen in contemporary China, and how different modes of masculinity are constructed within those spheres. Moskowitz's fascinating study is based on extended ethnographic research in Beijing that included studying Weiqi with children in series of school programs, playing in parks with retired construction workers, and playing alongside intensely committed university students in the Peking University Weiqi Club. Rendered in wonderfully clear and accessible prose, the account focuses on the masculinities emerging within those groups but pays ample attention to women Weiqi players at all levels who also work within these social structures. Go Nation pays close attention to aspects of Weiqi culture that reflect broader nationalistic, ethical, historical, and social discourses within contemporary China, and it is both a pleasurable and enlightening read. You can find out more about Moskowitz's film Weiqi Wonders here.