Readings in New Sinology

New Sinology is a Sinology that combines fluency in the practices of the ‘China Studies’ that developed during the Cold War and the academic disciplines that have flourished in academic institutions world wide. New Sinology engages equally with Official China via its bureaucracy, ideology, propaganda and culture, as well as with Other Chinas — those vibrant and often disheveled worlds of alterity, be they in the People’s Republic, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or around the globe.

My advocacy of the study and reading of literary Chinese and attention to modern Chinese culture is not merely a way of justifying support for underfunded academic programs. As I have repeatedly argued, when things with China ‘went south’ — that is as the systemic inertia of party-state autocracy continued to cast a pall over contemporary Chinese life, as I had no doubt that it would following the events of 1989 — students and scholars would always have recourse to the vast world of literature, history and thought that made a study of China also a study of human greatness, genius and potential.

New Sinology is nothing less than a laissez-passer into the Invisible Republic of the Spirit.

— Geremie R. Barmé




Yuan Ming Yuan, 1999. Photograph by Lois Conner