The Cultural Logic of “Sinophone Literature”

Social Sciences in China Review

No.4, 2018


The Cultural Logic of “Sinophone Literature” (Abstract)


Zhang Chonggang



The topic of Sinophone literature has drawn widespread attention and controversy in recent years. In her discourse Shu-mei Shih attempts to study Chinese culture by introducing Western postcolonial theory, but a great deviation arises in her interpretation of historical essence of Sinophone, which fundamentally undermines the very ground of her argumentation. David Der-wei Wangs view of sanmin (三民,post-Chinese-emigrants, post-Chinese-loyalists and post-overseas Chinese-offsprings) and his ideas about Sinophone literature touch upon Chinese-ness and the orthodoxy of Chinese literature from an overseas perspective. These new perspectives, from Shihs borrowing of post-colonial, anti-centrist and anti-hegemony concepts, to Wangs post thinking and his Foucaultian criticism on discourse power, while diluting theoretical paranoia, has opened up a new dialogue space with Chinese studies and triggered multi-dimensional reflections as well. The key issue is how to understand the dialectical relationship between China and overseas, between overseas Chinese and the world, and between history and culture. The deepening of Chinese poetics is related to the continuous expansion of historical research horizons and cultural cognition. Discrete poetics and third world poetics and the related research have deepened the study of Chinese literature and culture at the historical epistemology level.