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This revised and expanded edition of the first comprehensive study of Occidentalism in post-Mao China includes a new preface, foreword, and chapter on Chinese diaspora writings in the Chinese language. Xiaomei Chen offers an insightful account of the unremittingly favorable depiction of Western culture and its negative characterization of Chinese culture in post-Mao China since 1978. She examines the cultural and political interrelationship between the East and West from a vantage point more complex than that accommodated by most current theories of Western imperialism and colonialism. Going beyond Edward Said's construction in Orientalism of cross-cultural appropriations as a defining facet of Western imperialism, Chen argues that the appropriation of Western discourse—what she calls "Occidentalism"—can actually have a politically and ideologically liberating effect on contemporary non-Western culture. She maintains that simplistic allegations of Orientalism frequently found in current critical discourses seriously underestimate the complexities of intercultural and multicultural relationships. Using China as the focus of her analysis, Chen examines a variety of cultural media, from Shakespearean drama, to modernist poetry, to contemporary Chinese television and popular fiction. She thus places sinology in the general context of Western theoretical discourses, such as Eurocentrism, postcolonialism, nationalism, modernism, feminism, and literary hermeneutics, showing that it has a vital role to play in the study of Orient and Occident and their now unavoidable symbiotic relationship. Occidentalism presents a new model of comparative literary and cultural studies that reenvisions cross-cultural appropriation. It will be indispensable to future discussions of Orientalism, Occidentalism, and postcolonialism, as well as subaltern studies, Asian studies, comparative literature, cultural studies, and non-Western drama.
"This is a very thought-provoking work. Chen draws upon a wide range of interesting Chinese material in a way that few non-Chinese scholars could hope to match, and provides interesting readings of this material with the commitment and sensibilities of the insider."—Arif Dirlik, University of Victoria
"Occidentalism is a stunning and innovative book that will have a profound impact on the fields of Chinese studies and modern Chinese literature and society. Not only is it well researched, well written, and lively, it is bold, even daring, in its analytic thrust. Professor Chen has made a most welcome contribution to our understanding of contemporary Chinese culture, but more importantly, she has made a valuable contribution to the theoretical literature on cultural studies. Her critique of Edward Said is devastating and right on target."—Paul Pickowicz, University of California, San Diego
"Occidentalism is a much needed book that speaks for and as a non-Western Other, and will help us deal with the complexity of cross-cultural understanding in a way more challenging and less simplified than the discourse of Orientalism has made possible."—Zhang Longxi, University of California, Riverside
"Chen offers a new theoretical framework on cultural studies. Extensive notations and a Chinese glossary enhance the book's usefulness for all levels."—Choice
Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Occidentalism as a Counter-Discourse: The He shang Controversy Chapter 4 Occidentalist Theater: Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Brecht as Counter Others Chapter 5 "Misunderstanding" Western Modernism: The Menglong Movement Chapter 6 A Wildman between the Orient and the Occident: Retro-Influence in Comparative Literary Studies Chapter 7 Wilder, Mei Lanfang, and Huang Zoulin: A "Suggestive Theater" Revisited Chapter 8 Fathers and Daughters in Early Modern Chinese Drama: On the Problematics of Occidentalism in Cross-Cultural/Gender Perspectives Chapter 9 China Writes Back: Reading Stories of the Chinese Diaspora Chapter 10 Glossary