Modern Chinese Style: Words & Worlds in Twentieth Century China

A conference in honor of Professor Theodore Huters



See revised times for panel 4, panel 5, and the roundtable.

The conference is convened in honor of the scholarship of Professor Theodore Huters of UCLA, whose work has been crucial in expanding our understanding of Chinese print culture and its relation to modern intellectual history, binding a rigorous focus on questions of literary form and style to the historical excavation of the mediation between words and worlds in modern China. It brings a group of distinguished scholars of cultural and literary history to Berkeley’s Center for Chinese Studies, to explore the question of style in Chinese literary modernity. Professor Huters is the keynote speaker and presenters include his current and former students as well as scholars whom he has inspired and collaborated with.

Presentations will investigate Chinese writing in the twentieth century not so much in terms of content, but as a set of styles of conceptualizing, feeling, translating, navigating, and revolutionizing the world through words.



See revised times for panel 4, panel 5, and the roundtable.

Friday, May 2, 2014

LOCATION: Tamalpais Room, second floor, David Brower Center

3:00–4:50 — Panel 1: Passages: the Modern Micro-Politics of Style
Haiyan Lee, The Silence of Animals: Writing on the Edge of Anthropomorphism in Contemporary Chinese Literature
Richard Jean So, Shadow Networks of the Chinese Literary Left
Xiao Liu, Information Nonsense and Experimental Writings of Wang Meng
Nicole Huang, How to Style a Murder Story: On the Minor Narratives of Chen Dingshan (1897-1987)

5:10-6:30 pm — Keynote speech
Theodore Huters, Separated at Birth? Notes on the Popular and Vernacular in Modern China

Saturday, May 3

LOCATION: IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, UC Berkeley

9:00-10:50 — Panel 2: Keywords: the Modern Chinese Lexicon
Roy Chan, How to Do Things with Dreams
Hu Ying, How to Make a Lieshi: Eulogy between Empire and Nation
Eileen J. Cheng, Civilizing Oppression: Lu Xun on the Failure of "Cultivating the Human"
Michel Hockx, Keywords: yinhui 淫秽 (obscene), buliang 不良 (harmful)

11:00 to noon — Panel 3: Words and Everyday Worlds
Wen-huei Cheng, 日常生活現代性:周瘦鵑小說的文化敘事
Joan Judge, Detailing the Everyday: The Shiyantan 實驗談 and the Valorization of Quotidian Experience in the Early Chinese Republic

Noon to 1:00 — lunch

1:00-2:50 — Panel 4: Genre and Gender in the Formation of Modern Print Culture
Shengqing Wu, Confucian Poetics, the Politics of Sound, and the Imaginary of Peace in East Asia: Long Yusheng (1902–1966) in 1940s Nanjing
Yurou Zhong, Yutiwen in Modern Chinese Literature
Andrew Stuckey, Female Relations: On Giving Voice to the Abject in Chinese New Fiction
Huang Jinzhu, 民初女作家呂韻清言情小說的駢體文與日常性黃錦珠

3:00-3:50 — Panel 5: Translating Worlds
Yuan Jin, 新文学的先驱——试论十九世纪来华西方传教士对中国文学的改变复旦大学中文系袁进
Wang Hui, The Reconstruction of Classical Order in a New Concept of Time: Yan Fu's Translation of Evolution

4:00 — Roundtable: Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies: Questions of Methodologies and Media
Andrew Jones, Moderator


Keynote Speech

Theodore Huters: Separated at Birth? Notes on the Popular and Vernacular in Modern China

The main purpose of this essay is to trace the development and implications of the split between "popular" and "elite" literature in modern China. I argue that the seeds of this division, which most acknowledge was fully formed by the New Culture Movement of the May Fourth Period, can be found in Liang Qichao's late Qing writings about he novel. The split as it hardened into orthodoxy by 1920 had serious consequences for the development of modern Chinese literature, creating an artificial division on political rather than aesthetic grounds. This politicization of writing had serious consequences for the growth of an autonomous literature in modern China, reflecting as it did the apprehension on the part of elites for cultural work not under their direct intellectual control.


  • Roy Chan, University of Oregon
  • Eileen Cheng, Pomona College
  • Cheng Wen-huei, National Chengchi University
  • Michel Hockx, SOAS, University of London
  • Nicole Huang, University of Wisconsin
  • Theodore Huters, UCLA
  • Huang Jinzhu, National Chung-cheng University
  • Joan Judge, York University
  • Haiyan Lee, Stanford University
  • Liu Xiao, McGill University
  • Richard Jean So, University of Chicago
  • Andrew Stuckey, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Wang Hui, Tsinghua University
  • Shengqing Wu, Wesleyan University
  • Hu Ying, UC Irvine
  • Yuan Jin, Fudan University
  • Yurou Zhong, University of Toronto

Chairs / Discussants
  • Steven Day, Benedictine University
  • Gail Hershatter, UC Santa Cruz
  • Andrew Jones, UC Berkeley
  • Makiko Mori, Auburn University

Keynote Speech
  • Theodore Huters, UCLA



The Friday sessions of the conference on Modern Chinese Style: Words and Worlds in Twentieth Century China will be held in the Tamalpais Room on the second floor of the David Brower Center — 2150 Alston Way in Berkeley. Directions can be found here.

The Saturday sessions of the conference on Modern Chinese Style: Words and Worlds in Twentieth Century China will be held in the IEAS conference room on the Berkeley campus — 2223 Fulton Street, 6th floor conference room. Directions can be found here.

Directions to the Berkeley campus

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk south down Shattuck Avenue to Kittredge Street (one or two blocks depending on which station exit you leave from) and turn left. Walk one block to Fulton Street and you will be facing the 2223 Fulton Street Building.

From Interstate 80

To reach the site by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east to Oxford Street and turn right. Oxford becomes Fulton Street in a couple of blocks. We are located in the six-story beige building on the east (left) side of the street.

From Highways 24/13

To reach us from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at Telegraph and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way and turn left. The 2223 Fulton Street Building is at the northeast corner of the Bancroft and Fulton intersection (right side).

Directions to campus are also available at http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/traveling.html


There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

Other lots:

  • Kittredge Street between Shattuck and Fulton
  • Berkeley Way near Shattuck
  • Center Street near Shattuck
  • Allston Way near Shattuck
  • Kittredge Street near Milvia

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.