Alternative Diplomacies: Writing in Early Twentieth-Century Shanghai, Istanbul, and Beyond
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CitationXiang, Alice. 2017. Alternative Diplomacies: Writing in Early Twentieth-Century Shanghai, Istanbul, and Beyond. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation presents rich grounds for comparison between Chinese and Turkish literary contexts in the early twentieth century, an academic dialogue which has hitherto been nearly non-existent. Writers in these two contexts were faced with comparable challenges and stimuli: the turbulent end of a once-glorious empire, accompanied by a profound cultural crisis along with radical modernisation and nation-building efforts. Meanwhile, these processes of change unfolded in particularly fraught ways in the cosmopolitan crucibles of Shanghai and Istanbul, cities which respectively embodied the complex contradictions of Chinese and Turkish modernity. By examining the work of literary figures who were shaped by their experiences of Shanghai/Istanbul —such as Kang Youwei, Nazım Hikmet, Shao Xunmei, Halide Edib, and Lin Yutang— this dissertation presents such figures as groundbreaking synthesisers of a stunningly cosmopolitan range of intellectual and cultural resources across ‘East’ and ‘West’. In addition, this project positions these writers as ‘alternative diplomats’: from explicit critiques of western-centric power politics and diplomatic norms, to fictional narratives offering boldly re-imagined transnational networks and solidarities, I explore the ways in which these figures were deeply engaged in the creation of alternative discourses to official inter-state diplomacy. Through the supple and charismatic medium of literature, they endeavoured to influence broad reading publics, and to fashion new horizons of possibility for cross-cultural reflection and dialogue. By forming literary and ‘diplomatic’ linkages across Shanghai and Istanbul —and thus, in a larger sense, China and Turkey— this dissertation seeks to re-frame the landscape of early twentieth-century literary cosmopolitanism as well as international affairs.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41140229
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