Inevitable Impositions: Censorship and Modern Chinese Literature

  • Michel Hockx, Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame
    Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed

    Tuesday, March 12, 5-6:30 pm with reception to follow
    Coffee and tea will be available at 4:30 pm in the Piano Lounge, Graham House
    in the series
    Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
  • This lecture will draw on the insights of New Censorship Studies to discuss examples of censorship of modern Chinese literature from both before and after the 1949 communist takeover. Since the 1990s, humanities scholars active in the field of New Censorship Studies have highlighted the ways in which all human communication inevitably takes place in contexts where social forces impose limits to free expression. New Censorship Studies shows us that, when it comes to culture, censorship is the norm rather than the exception, and that censorship is a global phenomenon. The challenge for humanities scholars, especially those of us working on China, is to document, describe, contextualize and analyse each instance of censorship in detail, and to resist simplified judgments.

    Engaging with New Censorship Studies through case studies from modern Chinese literary practice, this lecture will forge connections between censorship before and after the communist victory of 1949, between political censorship and moral (obscenity) censorship, and between print censorship and internet censorship. It also assesses the oversimplified representation of Chinese censorship in American and European discourses, considering it a form of censorship in itself, which discredits or silences Chinese writers and artists who refuse to be dissidents.

    This event has been co-organized with Asian Studies.

    Michel Hockx is Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely, both in English and in Chinese, on topics related to modern Chinese literary culture, especially early 20th-century Chinese magazine literature and print culture and contemporary Internet literature. His monograph Internet Literature in China was listed by Choice magazine as one of the “Top 25 Outstanding Academic Titles of 2015.” His current research focuses on literary and cultural censorship in modern China from the early twentieth century to the present. Hockx studied Chinese language and literature at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he earned his PhD in 1994 for a thesis on modern Chinese poetry.



  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

March 12th, 2024 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
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