From World History to World Literature: China, the South, and the Global 1960s

Friday 12 June 2015 (16:00-18:00)
  • Global China: New Approaches lecture series
  • Funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.
  • Speaker: Shu-mei Shih (University of Hong Kong and University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Rooms 8 & 9, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge


This lecture explores the concept of world literature from world historical perspectives and asks whether we can think about world literature from the vantage point of the South.  While China is often considered as the site of alternative modernity or literature to the West, Southeast Asia, as the South to both the West and to China, is seldom brought into the conversation within this ‘China versus the West’ binarism.  Taking select literary representations of the Global 60s across Asia (China, Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong) as examples, this lecture will explore the possibility of a conception of world literature as a network of texts without a predetermined center and a preordained future.

Speaker biography

Shu-mei Shih, Professor in Asian Languages and Cultures, Professor in Comparative Literature, Professor in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Hong-Yin and Suet-Fong Professor in the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. Author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937 (University of California Press, 2001); Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific (University of California Press, 2007).

  • Full lecture programme

All welcome!

Bursaries are available for undergraduate and postgraduate attendance of the lectures.