20190513 dhss lecture Poster


Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival—which was based on Chinese-American author Ted Chiang’s 1998 short story “Story of Your Life”—explores issues of language, culture, and ethnocentrism through a story that revolves around tentacled aliens whose language (and corresponding worldview) is radically different from our own. In this way, the work examines how our understanding of the world is mediated through language, together with what it might mean to radically reassess the underlying assumptions upon which that worldview is predicated. This talk uses Villeneuve’s and Chiang’s works to consider issues of radical translation, as well as perceptions of the Chinese language in a Western context. 

Guest Speaker: 
Carlos Rojas is Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; and Arts of the Moving Image, and is also the current president of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature. His research focuses on issues of gender and visuality, corporeality and infection, and nationalism and diaspora studies, particularly as they relate to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the global Chinese diaspora. He works primarily in the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods. He is the author of three books: The Naked Gaze: Reflection on Chinese Modernity, The Great Wall: A Cultural History, and Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation. He is the co-editor of five books: Writing Taiwan: A New Literary History (with David Der-wei Wang), Rethinking Chinese Popular Culture: Cannibalizations of the Canon (with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow), The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas (with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures (with Andrea Bachner), and Ghost Protocol: Development and Displacement in Global China (with Ralph Litzinger). He is also the translator of five volumes of literary fiction, including Yu Hua’s Brothers (translated with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, and shortlisted for the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize), Yan Lianke’s Lenin’s Kisses, The Four Books, The Explosion Chronicles, and Marrow (of which The Four Books shortlisted for both the 2016 Man Booker International Prize and the 2016 FT/Oppenheimer Emerging Voices Award), and Malaysian Chinese author Ng Kim Chew's Slow Boat to China and Other Stories.