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China Imagined: From Western Fantasy to Spectacular Power

Abstract : For several centuries now European and American sinologists and novelists have imagined their own China and have narrated and imposed China according to this imaginary. By imaginary, I intend that clutch of phrases, images and beliefs which make up the commonly held understanding we have of a group or community (be it an ethnicity or a nation, our own or someone else’s) which dictates the way we perceive it or them. Thus far, this Western imaginary of China has been globally dominant. However, in the 21st century, ‘China’, whose shape and form and categories we in the West invented and maintained, is starting to escape us. The ‘China’ we have created, that we have imagined, that have dreamt up and of which we have dreamt, the China that frightened us as well as fascinated us, has slipped out grasp. We no longer have sole control over it; just as the West’s dominance over the world’s economy has waned, so has its ability to impose the planet’s global story. But before attempting to take stick of today’s China, we need to apprehend where that China has come from.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 8:49:41 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 13, 2020 - 9:59:00 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02186006, version 1


Gregory B. Lee. China Imagined: From Western Fantasy to Spectacular Power. Public Lecture: China Imagined: From Western Fantasy to Spectacular Power, Faculty of Humanities, University of Saint Joseph, May 2018, Macau, China. ⟨hal-02186006⟩



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