Early Modern and European Responses
Encountering China addresses the responses of early modern travelers to China who, awed by the wealth and sophistication of the society they encountered, attempted primarily to build bridges, to explore similarities, and to emulate the Chinese, though they were also critical of some local traditions and practices. Contributors engage critically with travelogues, treating them not just as occasional sources of historical information but as primary, literary texts deeply revelatory of the world they describe. Contributors reach back to the earliest European writings available on China in an effort to broaden and nuance our understanding of European contact with the Middle Kingdom in the early modern period. While the primary focus of these essays is the external gaze - European sources about China - contributors also tease out aspects of the Chinese world-view of the time, thus generating a conversation between Chinese literary and historical texts and European ones.
About the editors:
Rachana Sachdev is associate professor of English and coordinator of Asian studies at Susquehanna University. She has published several articles on early modern gynecological discourses; the most recent, "Of Paps and Drugs: Nursing Breasts in Shakespeare's England," appeared in English Language Notes 47, 2 (Fall/Winter 2009). Her current research project focuses on representations of infanticide and position of children in Asia in the European travel writing from the early modern era. A brief section of the chapter on Ming China, "Contextualizing Female Infanticide: Ming China in Early Modern European Travelogues" was recently published in ASIANetwork Exchange (Fall 2010).
Qingjun Li is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Chinese Language at Belmont University. She holds her Ph.D. in English from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). She is also Associate Professor of English at Zhengzhou University, Peoples Republic of China, where she has been twice recognized as the Teacher of Excellence. She is author of three books and numerous articles, including her recent essay, "Pound's Poetic Mirror and the China Cantos: The Healing of the West," Southeast Review of Asian Studies , 30 (2008). Her research interests are in Chinese American literature, women's literature, and comparative literature.