In 2015, a Chinese science fiction writer, Liu Cixin, won the Hugo prize for his work "The Three-Body Problem". This was the first Hugo award for a science fiction work in Asia and China. In the years since Liu Cixin has won a number of national & international awards. These include three Galaxy Awards, two Nebula Awards from China, and one each from the USA and Japan. Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg were among many who praised the novel, and it went on to win a Hugo Award. This work marked the beginning of Chinese science fiction's journey into the West, at a time when the world's political, economic, and increasingly, literary - centre of gravity is moving eastwards.
For Chinese authors looking to reach worldwide audiences, Liu is an invaluable resource. Jonathan Franzen in an interview with The New York Times said that Liu's novel is "as much about a genre as it is about China." an assessment with which most readers of Liu's novel will most likely agree. After his "Three-Body" trilogy gained considerable media attention and received numerous commendations, his first novel paved the way for more translations. Science fiction, a genre previously dominated by American and British authors, is witnessing a revival in China. Besides giving science fiction a radically different direction, it is also giving voice to Chinese authors.
Using contemporary Chinese literature and science fiction, this presentation examines Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem and its impact on global (especially in the Anglosphere) and domestic issues. It will also touch upon his influence on contemporary and young Chinese writers, critics, and researchers. The status and influence of Liu Cixin's science fiction novels, and their contribution to the development of this genre in China. The presentation will conclude by exploring whether Chinese Science Fiction would be a potentially poor or good instrument of soft power for China.
About the Speaker
Mr Shanky Chandra is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Chinese Studies Department. School of Languages at Doon University. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis titled "Socio-Political and Cultural Factors in the Making of Chinese Science Fiction Writer Liu Cixin: Understanding The Three-Body Problem," at the Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, JNU New Delhi. His research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese science fiction. Shanky Chandra completed his Master in Chinese language and literature in 2013, and his M.Phil. (2016) in Comparative Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University. The title of his dissertation was: Premchand and Lu Xun: A Comparative Analysis of Two Great Contemporaries, 1918-6. He was awarded a Chinese Government Scholarship by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2013 for a Post Graduate Diploma at Beijing Language & Culture University. He taught Chinese language and literature at St. Stephen's College (2014-2021), Delhi University. He completed the Advanced Mandarin Teacher Training Program at the National Taipei University of Education Chinese Language Education Center, Taipei, Taiwan, in July 2018. In 2021 he spent one year at the Department of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Language and Literature at the School of Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University as a senior visiting scholar and recipient of the ICS-Harvard-Yenching Institute Fellowship under Prof. Wu Yan's supervision. Thereafter, he conducted research at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard, under the supervision of Prof. Mingwei Song. He is also a member of the International Forum of Chinese Language Teachers and its official Account e-journal（国际汉语教师500强公众号）. He has participated in numerous conferences and has various research publications to his credit.
About the Chair
Prof. Mary E John was formerly Professor at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi. She was Director of the Centre from 2006-2012 and before that the Deputy Director of the Women’s Studies Programme at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi from 2001-2006. Major publications include Discrepant Dislocations: Feminism, Theory and Postcolonial Histories (reprinted 2021). A Question of Silence? The Sexual Economies of Modern India (reprinted 2021) and Women’s Studies in India: A Reader (2008). In 2021 the co-edited volume Women in the Worlds of Labour: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Perspectives and the monograph Child Marriage in an International Frame: A Feminist Review from India were published. She was the co-chair of a Task Force set up by the University Grants Commission to look into sexual harassment on Indian campuses and brought out the report Saksham: Measures for Ensuring Safety of Women and Programmes for Gender Sensitization on Campuses (2013). Her areas of interest span the fields of women’s studies and feminism within the social sciences, with particular expertise in studies pertaining to marriage and family, education, and labor, as well as a more philosophical interest in the concepts and frameworks of feminist theoretical analysis.
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