urban development

Sinoscapes A Moller Olsen
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 my new monograph Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction, I argue that fiction writing has the ability to capture both the sense of ongoing transformation and the complex and often ambiguous identity politics that follow. More than any other type of writing, narrative fiction can accommodate the paradox that it is the very disappearance of any material links to the past, which fosters a renewed interest in the private and public histories under erasure. Through the original framework of literary sensory studies, I use whole-body engagements with the cityscape as a perspective that bridges the divide between the elusive memories of the past and the material deconstruction of the present. I look at unconventional sensory modes such as temperature, pain, sense of self, and sense of time, as well as the cross-sensory and metaphorical nature of familiar sensations such as smell or sight.

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1. Mar 2012

A little tale about lies by Anya Palm

cambodia, corruption, democracy, Human rights, InFocus, politics, poverty, refugees, urban development

“The neighborhood of Dey Krahorm has never received a social land concession.” This was the words of Cambodian Information Minister His Excellency Khieu Kanharith when I last visited him for an interview. About a week ago. But let´s go back a little. Let´s go back to May 2003. Prime Minister Hun Sen gives a speech […]

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