Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World

by E. K. Tan


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"The first English-language monograph centering on late twentieth- and early twenty-first century Sinophone Southeast Asian literature, and in particular that of Singapore and Malaysia, E. K. Tan’s interdisciplinary Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World makes important contributions to Sinophone studies, Chinese studies, and Southeast Asian Studies, as well as to scholarship on diaspora, comparative literature, and world literature. Well-written and researched, Tan’s volume focuses on the relationship among the Nanyang Chinese, their original homelands of Borneo, Malaysia, and Singapore, and their imaginary homeland of China, through the writings of Kuo Pao Kun, Chang Kuei-hsing, and Vyvyane Loh, all of whom have been neglected in English-language scholarship." - Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (Read the MCLC book review)

"Deftly bridges the divide [between social science and humanities scholarship]... This meticulous study potently justifies its research rationale and repeatedly enhances the conversing space of the studied topic with insights from other fields. ... The book is significantly contributive in its scrupulous theoretical mapping of Sinophone genealogy and its detailed close-readings of the selected literary texts and practices. It skillfully investigates three writers of different generations and backgrounds, a cross-boundaries research perspective that uses impressive conceptualization and sufficient contextualization to essentially strike at the core of Sinophone notions and concerns. Although its approach is primarily rooted in literature and culture studies, it is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in Southeast Asian studies, area studies, or Chinese studies." - Southeast Asian Studies

Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World is the first book devoted to Sinophone Southeast Asian literature in the English-speaking world. Conceptually innovative and flawlessly written, this book makes an important contribution not only to the emergent and growing field of Sinophone studies, but also to Southeast Asian studies, Chinese studies, comparative literary studies, diaspora studies, and minority and multicultural studies. Anyone interested in questions of identity calibrated through such vectors as language, culture, history, geography, and nationality will find this book to be extremely valuable. This is an impressive accomplishment.” – Professor Shu-mei Shih, University of California at Los Angeles

“E. K. Tan has done magnificent work in rethinking literary and cultural politics in the context of Sinophone articulations. In Rethinking Chineseness he looks into sources drawn from the Sinophone communities in Southeast Asia, identifies indigenous and diasporic contestations, and teases out the radical elements in the contemporary debate about Chinese identities. Both historically engaged and theoretically provocative, Tan’s book is a most important source for anyone interested in Chinese and Sinophone literary and cultural studies.” — Professor David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University

“With his illuminating historical and theoretical mapping of the concepts, from Overseas Chinese to Chinese Diaspora, Chineseness to Sinophone, E.K. Tan has done a brilliant job in this highly challenging, interdisciplinary project by weaving together discourses in various academic fields and providing an integrated cross-referential discussion. His selection of works by Singaporean and Malaysian writers fills in glaring gaps and further contributes to the richness and complexities of the notion of Sinophone literature and culture. It is a definitive basic reference in this field.” – Professor Quah Sy Ren, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


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