Taipei

Shanghai
30. Sep 2022

Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction

China, cultural studies, Hong Kong, InFocus, literature, Shangahi, Taipei, urban development

What happens when the city you live in changes so rapidly that space melts into time and your memories can find no recognisable place to take hold? This kind of morphing urban reality was and is experienced by many in east Asian mega cities, where what cultural critic Dai Jinhua calls the “destructiveness of construction work” (“Imagined Nostalgia.” Boundary 2 24 (3), 1997: 146) is a defining factor. For cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei, the 1990s saw a new level of urban transformation that fundamentally affected quotidian ways of life and urban identities, a tendency that continued well into the 21st century. In her new monograph Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction, Astrid Møller-Olsen argues that fiction writing has the ability to capture both the sense of ongoing transformation and the complex and often ambiguous identity politics that follow.

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