Visuality, Postcoloniality, Ethnicity, Sexuality
Chapter Six. Rey Chow’s Alter-Native Conclusions
At a symposium in September 2012 focusing on the work of Rey Chow, an event organized by Patrizia Calefato at the University of Bari, I was asked two questions by my interlocutor, Floriana Bernardi. First, she asked me: in the context of all I have ever said and written about Rey Chow’s early arguments that “China” is in more than one sense at the heart and at the foundations of cultural studies, did I think that there is or will be a “Chinese turn” in cultural studies. Second, given the use that I regularly make of Stuart Hall’s essay “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies” (1992) whenever I articulate my understanding of cultural studies, she asked me this: if cultural studies is conceived as a political project, as it is in Stuart Hall’s account, what is the place, position or importance of Rey Chow’s academic work?
These are both significant and challenging questions. Moreover, they are provocative and productive. Both of them look backwards and ask us to take stock of the present in its light, and yet—importantly—they ask about the present in terms of our orientation, asking about directions, hopes, intentions and aspirations. Accordingly, I would like to engage with Bernardi’s questions as a way to conclude this present study.
However preposterous it may seem to some to put it like this, I would propose that the “question of China” in this context is simpler to answer than the question of Rey Chow’s...
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