Global Literary Chineseness: Some Terms Around a Political Matter
The rise of China to the status economic power has brought increasing attention to various forms of contact between Chinese culture – or, better, Chinese cultures – and globality. This dimension is inevitably political: on the one hand, because it involves different degrees of overlap among culture, language, ethnicity, territory, and citizenship; on the other hand, because it evokes the (im)possibility of speaking "on behalf" of Chineseness. Some recent interventions theorize "the Sinophone" as a cultural space wherein, instead of reconfirming a monolithic conception of Chineseness, Chineseness itself is articulated as a discourse from below - a discourse attuned to the vindications of minorities, quite different from the unrestrained expansion of a hegemonic majority. Other studies propose a hybrid, plurilingual identity as alternative to a consolidated, nation-based concept of diaspora. By creating a juxtaposition of possible approaches and touching upon a case study, this paper discusses some implications emerging in the context of such double movement: on the one hand, the recognition of a global dimension for Chinese literature and culture; on the other hand, attempts to turn this recognition into a space for pluralism and democracy.
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