Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Native, Other and/or Alter-Native: The Role of Nobel Laureate in Chinese Literature

Dr. Meiling Wu.

This paper, Native, Other and/or Alter-Native: The Role of Nobel Laureate in Chinese Literature, compares the global receptions and award statuses of Nobel Prize laureates Pearl S. Buck (awarded in 1938) and Xingjian Gao (awarded in 2000). This research will examine the issues of identity politics, of cultural marginality, and of alternative subjectivity. In this project, I will compare Buck's and Gao's laurelled works that were categorized as Chinese literature and discuss how such Chinese-ness is a historical, political and cultural construction.

Through the close reading and the observation of the two writers’ subjectivity construction, associated with individual relations to China politically and culturally, an ambivalent position will be detected. From the discussion of subjectivity, I am able to hypothesize the alter-native positionality. Furthermore, through the discussion of Latin roots and Chinese etymology, I will theorize the hypothesis of alter-native and its relation to the concept and discussion of??/lìnglèi.

The significance of the paper is to provide a thorough and coherent development of the theory of alter-native using 1938 Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck and 2000 Nobel Prize laureate Xingjian Gao as examples. It is a comparative study of both writers' novels, of the global-local receptions, and of current theoretical debates among the comparative literary scholars. Moreover, this research will examine the issues of popularity, the award fames, and the nationalistic zealotry of the writers within Chinese community and outside, in order to identify, and then to theorize the ambivalent cultural identity.


Dr. Meiling Wu  (United States)
Asst. Professor
Dept. of Modern Languages and Literatures
California State University, Hayward

Dr. Wu was a Lecturer in Chinese in the Department of German, Russian and East Asian languages and literatures in 1994-5. She was a Lecturer and Assistant Professor in the Modern Languages Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She holds a teaching credential in Chinese language and in literary, cinematic and cultural studies of Twentieth Century Chinese cultural sub-continents. She has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at California State University, Hayward since 2000.
Dr. Wu was honored with the First Prize of Taiwanese Central Daily News Short Story Award in 1995.
Dr. Wu is the author of numerous articles and book projects, including "Women, Her-story and Taiwanese Cinema" and "Other, Native, and/or alter-native: Nobel Writings of Chinese Women."

  • Alter-native
  • Other
  • Native
  • alternative
  • identity
  • subjectivity
Person as Subject
  • Buck, Pearl S. Gao, Xingjian

(Virtual Presentation, English)