2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Students Seminar
Shanghai as “the Rubbish Heap of All Asia”: New Sensationalist Writing, Colonial Metropolis, and Environmental Apocalypse
張墨兮 Zhang Moxi
April 20, 2018 (Friday), 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
After his one-month stay in Shanghai in 1928, Yokomitsu Riichi went back to Tokyo and published a series of his New Sensationalist literary theories on language and style in writing. He then wrote Shanghai as his first novel and last practice of New Sensationalist writing. This presentation reads Shanghai in the context of Yokomitsu’s literary theories, focusing on the relationship between writing and space. In Shanghai, the relationship is enabled through the novel’s various characters traveling in the colonial metropolis. Distinct from the conventional paradigms of travel writing, Shanghai reveals a subjectivity that does not take the position either of the “imperial eyes” or of an exiled other. Rather, the subjectivity is interactive with the space presented as a spectacle of urban environment. By bringing environment as a dimension into space, this presentation attends to tropes of non-human agencies both in the text (e.g., waste) and beyond the text (e.g., earthquake) with concerns of ecocriticism. I argue that one can trace inShanghai the colonial legacy of postcolonial ecoviolence, where Yokomitsu both shows its relation to modernity and offers his critique of modernity.
ALL ARE WELCOME