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Westernization without the West, Romanization without Rome

"Westernization without the West, Romanization without Rome," presented by Jing Tsu, Yale University (co-sponsor: Dept. of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures, Emory)

Open and free to the public

Forthcoming in Fall. Stay tuned.

For more than four centuries, the Chinese script has wrestled with the question of its fate in the modern age.  From early Jesuit bilingual dictionaries to typewriting, this phenomenon has been of obvious interest to the Chinese, especially in the general atmosphere of nationalism and standardization. But the Chinese script revolution was never just a question about the Chinese language for the Chinese.  Unlike most writing systems, it has been a multi-scriptive, transnational venture in struggling for an ever larger medium, involving as many outsiders as insiders.  A breakthrough came in the twentieth century, which put it on an irreversible path of globalization.  This talk focuses on the invention of a crucial typewriter in the 1940s, in the context of other failed attempts and innovations in the first half of the twentieth century.

About the speaker

Jing Tsu is a literary scholar and cultural historian of modern China at Yale University. Her disciplinary and research areas include modern Chinese literature, Diaspora and Sinophone studies, Area Studies, Comparative Literature, and History of Science and Technology. She is the author of Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora (Harvard University Press 2010), Failure, Nationalism, and Literature: The Making of Modern Chinese Identity, 1895-1937 (Stanford University Press 2005), and coeditor of Global Chinese Literature: Critical Essays (with David Der-wei Wang; Brill 2010) and Science and Technology in Modern China, 1880s-1940s (with Benjamin A. Elman; Brill 2014). Tsu has received numerous awards and distinctions for her interdisciplinary work. Honors include fellowships from the Harvard Society of Fellows, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard), the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), and the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton).