Cartooning China: ‘Punch,’ Power, & Politics in the Victorian Era currently under contract with Routledge
Japan’s opening to global trade during the second half of the nineteenth century aroused much interest from Western nations. Attempts to understand the nation were made by classifying Japan and its people within the racial and political hierarchies known at the time, which were frequently contradictory in attitude. By focusing on the popular British satirical magazine, Punch, this paper explores the ways in which Japan was used as a satirical ‘other’ between 1852 and 1893. The fluctuating representations reveal socio-political anxieties during a period of heightened consciousness towards ideological and geopolitical power dynamics.
The Royal Asiatic Society in London houses a collection of magic lantern slides of China dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By investigating a selection of lantern slides, this article explores their epistemological nature and their wider relations to socio-cultural and political systems of power. These lantern slides highlight the complexity of our ways of seeing and representing that are embedded into particular historical and ideological systems in which meaning is both shaped and negotiated. This article argues that images are powerful conduits in disseminating and, if unchallenged, maintaining particular notions and ideas.
“The (Mis)Representation of Reality: ‘Knowledge’ and Image-Making in Glass Lantern Slides of China” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 31, Issue 2, April 2021, pp. 303-319. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S135618631900052X
This paper is concerned with the intersection between ideological influence, epistemology, and Orientalism. In 1913, an American named William Francis Mannix claimed to have edited a memoir based on the diary of the famous Chinese statesman, Li Hongzhang. The Memoirs of Li Hung Chang was a success in America and Britain, with expert sinologists praising its contributions. When the memoir was exposed as a forgery, some readers struggled to explain its success by the perceived verisimilitude of the work. By taking a closer look at Mannix’s book, this paper considers the concept of truth, knowledge construction and dissemination, as well as the role of cultural and ideological presuppositions that shape our understandings.
“Cui Malo? Cui Bono? Reflections on a Literary Forgery: The Case of The Memoirs of Li Hung Chang” Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, Volume 19, Number 1, January 2021, pp. 19-34.
“Cartooning Anxieties of Empire: The First Sino-Japanese War and Imperial Rivalries in Punch” deals with the negative portrayal of China in the middle of her “humiliation period” and the threatening rising of Japan as a formidable rival to Europeans in the picture presented by the popular British satirical magazine.
“Cartooning Anxieties of Empire: The First Sino-Japanese War and Imperial Rivalries in Punch” Ming Qing Studies (2018), pp. 231-247.