Main Content

Malaysian Crossings: Place and Language in the Worlding of Modern Chinese Literature


Modern East Asian Literature Research Cluster presents
Emerging Research on Modern East Asian Literature


Malaysian Crossings: Place and Language in the Worlding of Modern Chinese Literature


Speaker: Cheow Thia CHAN

Assistant Professor | Department of Chinese Studies | National University of Singapore


Moderator: Nicholas Y. H. WONG

Assistant Professor | School of Chinese | The University of Hong Kong


DATE: 4 May (THU) 4:30 pm–6:00 pm (Zoom, HKT)


No scholar of modern Chinese literary studies in its globalizing mode will miss the recent spotlight on Malaysian Chinese (Mahua) literature. In Malaysian Crossings, Chan shows how the minor literary formation’s grasp of its own marginality in the world-Chinese literary space constitutes the threshold—instead of a hurdle—to creating signature aesthetic imprints that foster global outlooks. Foregrounding inter-Asian linkages, Chan describes the strategic “worlding” of modern Chinese literature that involves authorial navigation of connected literary spaces. Historicizing “crossings”—which include the physical journeys, the interactions among social groups, and the mindset shifts entailed in creating distinctive literary languages—from the 1930s to the 2000s, Chan contends that new perspectives from the periphery are essential to understanding the globalization of modern Chinese literature. By emphasizing the inner diversities and connected histories in the margins, Malaysian Crossings offers a powerful argument for remapping global Chinese literature and world literature.


Cheow Thia CHAN is assistant professor of Chinese studies at the National University of Singapore. His articles have been published in Modern Chinese Literature and CultureSOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, as well as PRISM: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature. He co-edited the special issue of PRISM on “The Worlds of Southeast Asian Chinese Literature.” As a literary translator and editor, he has worked with Renditions: A Chinese-English Translation Magazine.


The series is coordinated by Dr. Su Yun Kim (, Dr. Pei-yin Lin (, and Dr. Alvin Wong (


For registration of the seminar, go to or