Chinese Characteristics: The Next Big (Export) Thing?

Written by John Hartley. In my research field of Cultural Science, the role of ‘we’ and ‘they’ groups in organising knowledge is seen as crucial. Knowledge is rarely neutral. ‘Ours’ is trusted, thick with meanings that bind ‘us’ together, and applicable to all situations, while ‘theirs’ is untrusted, possibly threatening, and not in the least applicable …

Shanghai Tang: China’s Aspiring Global Fashion Brand

Written by Jonathan Schroeder, Janet Borgerson, and Zhiyan Wu. How do Chinese brands draw upon what we call ‘Chinese brand culture’ in order to create distinctively Chinese fashion? Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum in New York hosted its annual Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, which examined 500 years of Chinese influence on European luxury …

Fashion, China, and Trends: A Critical Perspective

Written by Tina Mai Chen and Paola Zamperini. In June 2015, the runways for Moda Uomo in Italy celebrated China in more ways than anyone could have expected even in 2007, when Jean Paul Gaultier wove his dystopian haute couture gowns inspired by a delirious conflation of Japanese and Chinese motifs in his Spring collection for …

Depicting Orientalism in the Museum

Written by Simona Segre Reinach. In the feud between curator Diana Vreeland and cultural historian Deborah Silverman, surely Diana Vreeland is the clear winner. The debate dates back to more than thirty years ago. It was 1986 when Professor Silverman published Selling Culture in which she accused the fashion exhibits in the Metropolitan Museum curated by Vreeland of …

Identities of Migrant worker: From Nongmin Gong (农民工) to Xin Shimin (新市民)

Written by Wei Wang. People’s identity is very much reflected on and constructed by how they are named by others. Internal migrant workers in China have experienced huge differences in terms of how they have been perceived and named during the last thirty years. During this time, economic development and rapid urbanisation in China has …

Language, National Identity and Nationalism in China

Written by Yingjie Guo. The close relationship between language, national identity and nationalism is rarely disputed. Though few would insist on a strong interconnection between language and the development of ‘intellectual peculiarity’, it is easy to agree that ancestral language and national continuity are intertwined and that nationalism has been inextricably bound up with language. …

Linguistic Challenges to China’s Centralizing Control

Written by Susan D. Blum. Challenges to authoritarian states’ control of language can be so complex that they exceed the states’ ability to manage them all. Electronic expression of resistance and increasing embrace of non-Mandarin linguistic varieties reveal powerful linguistic insights in China, which are evident too in the so-called Umbrella Revolution that took Hong …

“I have an accent”: British Chinese Young People on Learning and Speaking Chinese

Written by Ada Mau. Going to ‘Chinese school’ at the weekend is an experience shared by many young people of Chinese heritage growing up in the US, UK, Australia and other Western countries. Many children start attending these community-based schools from a young age in order to learn Chinese language(s) and sometimes cultural activities such as …

Chinese Language and Beijing’s Public Diplomacy

Written by Sheng Ding. The political effects of language acquisition, culture exchange, and education contact are important in respect to soft power appeal, and have received growing attention from policy-makers around the world. Indeed, those who will be impacted most by the appeal of a country’s soft power are the people who can speak its language …

China’s Language Policies

Written by Li Wei. Since 2006, China’s State Language Commission, an administrative department under the Ministry of Education, has been compiling an annual Green Paper on the so-called ‘language life’ in China. These Green Papers are published under the title Language Situation in China, and the English translation of the key parts of the reports …