How the Tiananmen Square protest and massacre haunts the work of writers in the Chinese diaspora
Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square
The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture
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An exciting analysis of the myriad literary effects of Tiananmen, Belinda Kong's Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square is the first full-length study of fictions related to the 1989 movement and massacre. More than any other episode in recent world history, Tiananmen has brought a distinctly politicized Chinese literary diaspora into stark relief.
Kong redefines Tiananmen's meaning from an event that ended in local political failure to one that succeeded in producing a vital dimension of contemporary transnational writing today. She spotlights key writers—Gao Xingjian, Ha Jin, Annie Wang, and Ma Jian—who have written and published about the massacre from abroad. Their outsider/distanced perspectives inform their work, and reveal how diaspora writers continually reimagine Tiananmen's relevance to the post-1989 world at large.
Compelling us to think about how Chinese culture, identity, and politics are being defined in the diaspora, Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square candidly addresses issues of political exile, historical trauma, global capital, and state biopower.
"Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square, is a first-rate literary study of historical and interpretive depth, well scaled in textual and contextual detail, and compellingly deep in its sustained and contrastive focus on four well-chosen novels. Kong’s grasp and integration of novelistic form, literary theory, historical context, and political issues of state power is well done: issues of memory, body, trauma, selfhood, social struggle, as well as class and gendered differences, are credibly realized in the context of these four novels. Clearly written, with energy, care, verve, control and conviction, Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square should have a broad impact on the fields and genres of Chinese studies—in both literary and historical areas—as well as on more specialized domains like postcolonial, diasporic, and Asian American studies."
"This penetrating, well-theorized, lucid book is the first to ponder the global literary impact of 'Tiananmen,' now the generally accepted shorthand term for the 1989 Beijing democracy movement and the army massacre that ended it. Kong provides close readings of four Tiananmen-related works.... Recommended."
Belinda Kong is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College.
In the series
Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
The "standard" written histories of Asian immigrants to the United States have been imbued with Western cultural biases. As a critique and corrective to earlier work, Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ, aims to develop a history of Asian Americans that is compatible with their own experience, that treats Asian Americans as agents of historical change and as creators of a new culture. In addition, this series intends to focus on the groups that are flourishing in the contemporary U.S.Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnameseabout whom little has been written as well as to add to the substantial work done on the Chinese and Japanese in this country.