'Some Genuine Chinese Authors': literary appreciation, comparatism, and universalism in the Straits Chinese Magazine

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Title: 'Some Genuine Chinese Authors': literary appreciation, comparatism, and universalism in the Straits Chinese Magazine
Authors: Fermanis, Porscha
Editors: Comyn, Sarah; Fermanis, Porscha
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/12582
Date: 6-Jul-2021
Online since: 2021-10-27T15:48:01Z
Abstract: This chapter considers the ways in which Straits Chinese elites in Singapore strategically used discourses of comparatism and universalism both to marginalise ‘native’ Malays and ‘sojourning’ Chinese diasporas, and to point to colonialism’s inherent contradictions. Examining the political stakes of comparatism and its relationship to anticolonial, postcolonial, and ethnic nationalism in the context of Nanyang South Sea and Indian Ocean spaces, it reads the Straits Chinese Magazine (est. 1897) as an anticolonial project. Despite its apparent investment in the logic and rhetoric of imperial liberalism, Straits Chinese contributors to the magazine ultimately turn European comparatism on its head, encouraging a reversal of the comparative gaze and an exposition of the defective use of Enlightenment methodologies by European comparatists. If Straits Chinese authors often fall back on arguments for the universality of human experience, the Straits Chinese Magazine demonstrates the extent to which competing Sinocentric and Islamocentric civilisational accounts could disrupt European modes of seeing, destabilising what is considered natural and self-reflexively exposing the Eurocentric grounds on which comparisons are made.
Funding Details: European Commission Horizon 2020
European Research Council
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Copyright (published version): 2021 Manchester University Press
Keywords: Chinese literary historyMalay literary historyPolitics of languagePolitics of comparisonMonthly magazinesEthnic nationalism
DOI: 10.7765/9781526152893.00028
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Comyn, S., Fermanis, P. (eds.). Worlding the South Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture in the Southern British Colonies
ISBN: 9781526152886
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:English, Drama & Film Research Collection

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