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Radical Ethnicity and Apocryphal History: Reading the Sublime Object of Humanism in Zhang Chengzhi's Late Fictions

Radical Ethnicity and Apocryphal History: Reading the Sublime Object of Humanism in Zhang... positions 10:3 Winter 2002 seminal writings of Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault, among others; the other is the social and political reality of China defined by the rapid commercialization of culture and the governmental suppression of human rights petitions. Zhang forges a powerful if unusual identification with the Hui nationality and its Islamic religion, an identity that is not just the effect of literary strategy, although it is that too. He declares that his novel History of the Soul [Xinling shi],3 a solemn narration of the religio-political history of the much-victimized Muslim Chinese sect known as the Jahrinya, from Northwest China, is not a normal literary work but a “religious homework,” predestined to be done by him in order both to represent the Jahrinya people and to save his own soul. Therefore the decision to be the pen of the Jahrinya and to write a book that the Jahrinya people would defend with their lives is to him a religious one.4 A Hui by birth but educated as a Han, Zhang returns to his ethnic roots when he claims to speak for his people. Zhang’s work thus exhibits a certain sacral authenticity that would seem to transcend the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Radical Ethnicity and Apocryphal History: Reading the Sublime Object of Humanism in Zhang Chengzhi's Late Fictions

positions asia critique , Volume 10 (3) – Dec 1, 2002

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-10-3-525
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

positions 10:3 Winter 2002 seminal writings of Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault, among others; the other is the social and political reality of China defined by the rapid commercialization of culture and the governmental suppression of human rights petitions. Zhang forges a powerful if unusual identification with the Hui nationality and its Islamic religion, an identity that is not just the effect of literary strategy, although it is that too. He declares that his novel History of the Soul [Xinling shi],3 a solemn narration of the religio-political history of the much-victimized Muslim Chinese sect known as the Jahrinya, from Northwest China, is not a normal literary work but a “religious homework,” predestined to be done by him in order both to represent the Jahrinya people and to save his own soul. Therefore the decision to be the pen of the Jahrinya and to write a book that the Jahrinya people would defend with their lives is to him a religious one.4 A Hui by birth but educated as a Han, Zhang returns to his ethnic roots when he claims to speak for his people. Zhang’s work thus exhibits a certain sacral authenticity that would seem to transcend the

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2002

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