chapter
The Sinophone
ByYucong Hao
Pages 2

Sinophone literature, a term coined by Shu-mei Shih in 2004, refers to Sinitic-language literature written “on the margins of China and Chineseness”. As an emerging field of inquiry, the Sinophone provides a conceptual alternative to the paradigm of China-based national literary studies; as an organizing category, the Sinophone evinces the plurality of cultural identities, linguistic practices, and ethnicities of Sinitic-language communities around the world. The affinity between the Sinophone and ideas of Francophone or Anglophone studies is immediately obvious: all of them, theoretically indebted to postcolonialism, propose a reconceptualization of center and periphery, empire and colony, imperialism and the colonial language. As the concept of the Sinophone rejects a monolithic representation of Chineseness, it similarly defines a uniform definition. For David Wang and Jing Tsu, the Sinophone is less about choosing local commitments over China-centrism than about removing disciplinary and geographical boundaries, which enables Sinophone studies to engage in interdisciplinary and transnational dialogues.