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20240429|Critical Curatorial Practices in the 21st Century: Public Space, New Media and Geopolitics


Penumbrae Query Shadow II: Thing-in-between

Publication Date|2022-12-01

Authors|Nai-fei Ding, Amie Parry, Nicholas de Villiers, Wen-ling Lin, Chien-Ting Lin, Dennis C. Lin, Hsin-wen Chang, Wing-kwong Wong, Jen-peng Liu




Imagining the be-coming-in-common of “the multitude of penumbrae”

Under different categories, structures, and modes of

Affect, Sex, and Non-human

and with the Thing-in-between as Method

“Penumbrae Query Shadow,” with its original meaning (as the faint shading at the exterior of a shadow) allegorizes a state of double marginality (the margin of the margin), a (quasi) subject receding at every layer of the strata. The receding point of its reference also entails the impossibility of mutual referencing. The articles in this book extend the initial queries of Penumbrae Query Shadow: Queer Reading Tactics published 15 years ago, by reflecting on the external and internal limits of its history and concepts, revisiting the lingering and unresolved questions and theses there, and identifying multiple forms of beings yet in their indistinct profiles. Here “penumbrae”, as the faint shadings at the exterior of shadows, is no longer limited to the narrow sense of “sexual minorities,” but instead extends to many unnameable things—— a cohort not only of the anthropo-subjects of yaos and concubines, but also of the material penumbrae (roads, nuclear waste, severed fingers, the speculative genre), the affective penumbrae (negativity, emptiness, ancient ghosts). The book as a sequel unfolds the queries of the penumbrae from an elusive spatio-temporal position provided by reading the penumbrae allegories of “the passing sundial shadows, the unabiding shady minute” (Zhang Taiyan, 1869-1936) and “that which is neither this nor that ” (Yan Fu, 1854-1921) and reflects anew on the trajectories of the “Things-in-between” in the modernity formations and thoughts in the inter-Asia localities.

The import of “the multitude of penumbrae” as method lies in the “query””- which is to say,

a potent form of pensée, querying at the margins.

This book attempts to take Lu Xun(1881-1936)’s re-inscription/rendering of Nietzsche(1844-1900)’s usage of the word “Mitte”(noun.: middle, between, midst, mean), from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, as the “tropical” concept of zhong-jian-wu (Thing-in-between) to a “geo-colonial historical” epistemological dimension, working as a guiding and mediating concept to read the nine essays by nine authors collected in the book that together explore the possibility of critical knowledge production in the Asian present. The questions opened up by each essay seem like rings knotted closely with one another, with “thing-in-between” as the ring in between/in the middle, the locale where the problematics of knowledge production converge. With academic works increasingly being individualised at the present moment, we hope to explore through the experiment of the book a possibility of co-labouring “in the midst of / in-between” the collective.

Features of the Book:

  1. To exhibit the temporal paradox— between belatedness and yet-to-come, instead of the linear history or “center-periphery” trope, so as to further connect the thematics across time and places and across different categories and explore “thing-in-between” as a non-spatial trope for the historical process and its transitionality.
  2. Through the “tropical” concept of “Thing-in-between”, interconnections and mutual interrogations between the conceptual devices and signifiers in all the essays are densely woven like a web, for which we coined an odd catachrestic term “inter-trans-(re)ference”, where the inter-referencing is always transference that carries back a new reading and affect.
  3. To provide readers with a stepping stone to think about “thing-in-between” in the historical conjuncture of colonialism and cold-war, so as to offer a bridge to be passed over for the inter-Asian epistemic-affective labour of decolonization that is yet-to-come .

Academic praise (alphabetical by surname)

CHANG Hsiao-Hung | Distinguished Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University

Chieh-Jen CHEN | Renowned Taiwan Contemporary Artist

Kuan-Hsing CHEN | Chief Editor, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and Renjian Thought Review

Pei-Jean CHEN | Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature, National Chengchi University

Lik Kwan CHEUNG | Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Fred Y.L. CHIU | Social Movement Hound

Xu-Kuan GAO | Activist for the Transgender Movement

Wai-Siam HEE | Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University

Josephine HO | Chair Professor / Professor Emeritus, Department of English, National Central University

Lin-Ching HSIA | Retired Professor, Department of Psychology, Fu Jen Catholic University; Senior Chair Professor, Education Faculty, Beijing Normal University

Yingying HUANG | Professor & Doctoral Supervisor, School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China

Lucifer HUNG | Associate Professor, Graduate Institute for Gender Studies, Shih Hsin University

Yung-Chao LIAO | Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University

Joyce LIU | Emeritus Professor, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University; Contracted Professor, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies International Degree Program

Cindy PATTON | Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

Teri J. SILVIO | Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica

Chih-Ming WANG | Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

WANG Ping | Secretary General, Gender/Sexuality Rights Association, Taiwan

WU Jing-Ru | Research Fellow, Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA)

YAU Ching | Professor, Department of English, National Central University

Jieping ZHANG | Founder and CEO of Matters Lab; Former Chief Editor of Initium Media


Preface | Not Belated but yet to Come: the Temporalities of Thing-in-between and the Multitude of Penumbrae / Pei-Jean Chen

Introduction | “Thing-in-between(zhong-jian-wu)” Methodology / Wing-Kwong Wong, Hsing-Wen Chang, Jen-Peng Liu, Nai-fei Ding

Part 1 Passing Sundial Shadows: Between Historical Transformation and Knowledge Formation

Sex, Yin, Translation: Nooks and Crannies of Sex/Gender Knowledge Reconfiguration in Late Qing China / Jen-peng Liu

The Negative Transference in Inter-Asian Encounters: Qu Qiubai and Tagore, 1924 / Wing-Kwong Wong

Winners Take All! Marriage Transformation and Women’s Rights Evolution / Naifei Ding; trans. Hans Tao-Ming Huang

Part 2 In-dependent One? Between Emptiness and (Racial) Hierarchicus

What is Zhu-ti-xing/Subjectivity in Taiwan? An Exercise of Inter-Asia Methodology / Hsing-Wen Chang

Fixing the Severed Fingers: The Militarization of Injured Nationalism and Racialized Cold War Liberal Humanism / Chien-Ting Lin

Flamboyantly Yao: Shanzhai Gender/Sexual Modularization Among Contemporary Chinese Yaos / Dennis Chwen-der Lin

Part 3 The Queerness of Woods-Stones: Between the Material Turn and the Unknown New Terrain

Mediations and Transformations of Social Issues: Analysis of Two Taiwan Indigenous Documentaries of Sasuyu Ubalat / Wen-Ling Lin

Uncertain Futures of Chinese Trans Sex Workers and Testimonial Documentary / Nicholas de Villiers; trans. Mei-fong Siu, Xing Zhang; ed. and trans. Dennis Chwen-der Lin

The Speculative Turn: Parables for the Millennium / Amie Parry; trans. Jun-Yu Zhang; ed. and annot. Yu-Jen Fang

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