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Published By Duke University Press

1527-8271, 1067-9847

2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 137-158
Author(s):  
Thomas Chen

Abstract Against the background of the growing effort in the Xi Jinping era to sinicize democracy and rule of law, much critical attention has surrounded Chinese models of governance variously conceived as “humane authority” and “political meritocracy.” What is missing from the literature on the export of the so-called “Chinese solution,” however, is the consideration of popular cultural products. This article takes as its case study the state-sponsored film 12 Citizens, the 2014 remake of the classic 12 Angry Men, most famously known in its 1957 version directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda. As there is no jury system in China, 12 Citizens instead presents the scenario as a law school mock trial on Anglo-American law, with crucial elements indigenized to the local setting. In one masterly maneuver after another, the remake overturns the democratic tenor of the original. Yet as a metanarrative about adaptation, the film reveals ambivalent attitudes not only toward the jury system and the West but also toward adaptation itself, open to an alternative interpretation in which the figure of the citizen, as a member of a political community actively engaged in public matters, precisely takes center stage. This ambivalence challenges the very concept of “Chinese characteristics.”


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 159-187
Author(s):  
Erica Kanesaka

Abstract This article explores the ties between anti-Black racist kitsch and kawaii culture through the history of the Dakko-chan doll. In what came to be called the “Dakko-chan boom” of 1960, tens of thousands of Japanese people lined up to purchase an inflatable blackface doll with a circular red mouth, grass skirt, and winking hologram eyes. Dakko means “to hug,” and Dakko-chan's astronomical popularity resulted in part from the way the doll could be worn as an accessory, attached to the body by its hugging arms. This article asks what it meant for Japan, a nation still recovering from World War II and the American occupation, to quite literally embrace American blackface in the form of an embraceable doll. Rejecting the claim that blackface loses its significance in a Japanese context, this article argues that Dakko-chan cannot be considered devoid of racist meanings. Emerging amid the political turmoil surrounding the revision of the US-Japan Security Treaty, Dakko-chan came to express a wide range of contradictory feelings about race, sex, and nation, illustrating how affective attachments to racist forms have accrued rather than dissipated through their movement into new cultural contexts.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 189-216
Author(s):  
Jihoon Kim

Abstract This article discusses several documentary films since the 2010s that portray the place and the landscape related to Korea's social reality or a personal or collective memory of its past, classifying their common trope as the “audiovisual turn.” The trope refers to the uses of the poetic and aesthetic techniques to highlight the visual and auditory qualities of the images that mediate the landscape or the place. This article argues that the films’ experiments with these techniques mark formal and epistemological breaks with the expository and participatory modes of the traditional Korean activist documentary, as they create an array of Deleuzian time-images in which a social place or natural landscape is reconfigured as the cinematic space liberated from a linear time and layered with the imbrication of the present and the past. The images, however, are read as updating the activist documentary's commitment to politics and history, as they renew the viewer's sensory and affective awareness of the place and the landscape and thereby render them ruins.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 1-7
Author(s):  
Fabio Lanza

2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 9-34
Author(s):  
Malcolm Thompson

Abstract This article argues that the origins of the one-child policy beginning in 1980 in China, and its development into the current system of “comprehensive population management,” are to be found not in any unfolding of a statist or authoritarian logic, or within the parameters of a nominally “socialist” project, but rather in a return to a properly capitalist set of concerns and governmental techniques, the first iteration of which can be traced to the 1920s and 1930s. With regard to the broad set of economic reforms launched in the period 1979–81, it is argued that the one-child policy is absolutely continuous with other reforms across economic sectors (agricultural responsibility systems and urban enterprise reforms) and discontinuous with anything we might understand as population management in the period 1949–76. The “law of value debate” in 1979, which “resolved” a long-standing set of issues concerning national accounting, planning, and accumulation, is found to be—despite its apparently Marxist character, derivation, and vocabulary—the passage through which a capitalist developmental logic was reintroduced into Chinese governing, with significant consequences.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 35-60
Author(s):  
Max Ward

Abstract This article explores the changing ways the Japanese police understood and policed radical politics between 1900 and 1945. Specifically, it traces the process in which the objective of policing transformed from an emphasis on political organizations, their activities, publications, and assemblies in the 1900s to the policing of individuals ostensibly harboring “dangerous ideas” that were deemed threatening to state and capital—what the police came to categorize as “thought crime” by the late 1920s. Once “thought” was identified as an object for policing, Japanese police agencies began to practice a kind of intellectual history—thinking like a state—to distinguish dangerous thought and to understand its origin and its spread during the socioeconomic turbulence of the interwar period. Drawing on Jacques Rancière’s theory of police, this article explores how police manuals and other publications categorized certain ideas, texts, enunciations, and slogans and distributed them based on the presumed degree of danger they posed to the imperial polity. It reveals how the expanded classifications and distributions of dangerous thought transformed policing in the 1920s, thereby extending imperial state power into various aspects of social life in interwar Japan.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 61-84
Author(s):  
Wenqing Kang

Abstract This article is part of a larger research project that traces the history of male same-sex relations in China during the Mao era, a topic on which virtually no scholarship is currently available. The Chinese government named the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) “ten years of turmoil” in its aftermath. Stories circulate widely about men who were labeled as sodomites, humiliated and tortured in public, and sentenced to hard labor; some reportedly were beaten to death or committed suicide during this period. Using oral history and archival cases collected by the author, this article complicates this narrative about the Cultural Revolution by documenting different experiences of sexual awakening, ingenuity, and resilience of those men as well as their fear, misfortune, and tribulations. Despite all the risks of being arrested, interrogated, and disciplined by the authorities, clandestine sex between men persisted in both private and public spaces throughout this tumultuous period.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 85-110
Author(s):  
Chungjae Lee ◽  
Jerry Won Lee

Abstract This article develops a theory of nation form as translational, referring to the praxis of re-presenting and thus rendering sensible the nation through an examination of the Tongnip Kinyŏmkwan (Independence Hall of Korea), a national museum designed to commemorate Korea’s anticolonial resistance efforts and its independence from the Japanese Empire in 1945. Translation in the context of this article alludes to the praxis of re-presenting and thus reconstituting the nation through what Rancière calls “the distribution of the sensible.” The Hall, in other words, suggests that the nation does not matter unto itself but rather that it is in such moments of articulation and sensibility that the nation is hailed into existence. This article makes the argument that the interactional outcomes between visitors and the Independence Hall direct us toward an interpretation of the Hall as a space of enactment of the translational nation, which refers to a re-formation of nation through translation across interrelated matrices including text, trauma, and time. This translational praxis, understood in the context of the interplay between state-sponsored zeal and popular anemia, centers on the translation of communicative text into theatrical text, somber tragedy into diluted play, and discrete historical events into a posthistorical genealogy.


2022 ◽  
Vol 30 (1) ◽  
pp. 111-136
Author(s):  
Xiuying Cheng

Abstract Based on a critique of the history project titled “Oral History of Peasants’ Ordinary Life in the Revolutionary Era of China,” this article provides an analysis of class ideology production from Land Reform Movement to the Cultural Revolution in China. Thirty years of socialist construction in China was based on the craft of making the Homo Socialist. The focus here is on how personal experiences were transformed into state-endorsed conduct via the discourse of class and class struggle. Over the course of the sociopolitical transformations leading to the Cultural Revolution, “class” changed from a socioeconomic designation to a political behavioral metaphor, and in the end a purely symbolic gesture; personal experiences were transformed from hallmarks of class privilege to virtual identification with imagined class struggle. And the peasants went from being “owners of bitterness” to “debtors of bitterness” on the way to becoming “sinners of the revolution”—who gradually submitted themselves to the regime in the name of revolution, liberation, and redemption. These transformations were realized through discursive practices connecting personally embodied experiences with the abstract Marxist theory of class and class struggle. Examining the shifting nature of class ideology production helps to explain how the Chinese Communist Party understood the effects of its governance and how people found class ideology meaningful to them, even when it reached the point of absurdity.


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