“Java in Discord: Unofficial History, Vernacular Fiction, and the Discourse of Imperial Identity in Late Ming China (1570-1620),” positions: asia critique, (2019) 27 (4), 623-652.
Read it here: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-7726916
This essay examines how in times of rampant “Japanese” piracy and Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea, four Chinese literati composed unofficial histories and vernacular fiction on China’s foreign relations with Java during Yuan and early and mid-Ming times. This article argues that the cultural memory of Sino-Java exchange enabled the authors to write narratives with personal anxieties and nationalistic sentiments. Collectively, the four authors’ narratives represent various images of the Ming Empire, revealing the authors’ deep apprehension of the Mings’ identity, their political criticism of the state, and their divergent and even self-conflicted views toward maritime commerce, immigrants, and people of different races.
“The Emaciated Soul: Four Women’s Self-Inscriptions on Their Portraits in Late Imperial China,” NAN NÜ: Men, Women, and Gender in China, June 2020, 22:1, pp.36-69
This article studies the emaciated self-images in four Ming Qing women’s self-inscription poems on their own portraits. These women similarly describe their self-images as qiaocui (emaciated), alluding to the legendary girl poet Feng Xiaoqing. Inherently ambivalent, qiaocui could imply sexual and erotic appeal, the virtuous mind of a recluse, sickness, ordinariness, melancholy, as well as aging and death. The article argues for the importance of the rhetoric of qiaocui and the topoi of Feng Xiaoqing in the self-inscriptions by the women in Hangzhou and the broader Jiangnan region as a medium to construct their female subjectivity. This article suggests that, initially a persona publicly circulated in the late Ming, the topoi of Xiaoqing became to define the women’s personhood in private spaces in late eighteenth and early centuries.
“Dye and Desire: The Problem of Purple in Jin Ping Mei cihua,” Chinese Literature, Essays, Articles, and Reviews (CLEAR), December 2020.
This article examines the material and cultural history of purple dye–a pigment that designated royalty from Tang to Song, but was diverted from the sartorial hierarchy in the Ming dynasty because it symbolized political threat to the the sovereignty. The article discusses that not only purple was mass produced in the late Ming society, but served as a professional marker of late Ming courtesans and a fashion style among women who loved fashion. I argue that dyeing and colors are central for us to understand the relationship between material culture, desire, and the mind in the Ming novel Jin Ping Mei cihua.
“Fantasizing the Hairpins in Tang Xianzu’s The Purple Hairpins,” Ming Studies, revise and resubmit.
“Imagining Siam: Chinese Diaspora, Race, and Sexuality in The Sequel to the Water Margin,” Journal of the Siam Society, forthcoming, 2020.