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1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Hsiu-chih Tsai Preface: Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt
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2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Han-liang Chang The Rise of Chinese Literary Theory: Intertextuality and System Mutations in Classical Texts
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In traditional Chinese literary criticism, textual strategies comparable to intertextuality have governed Chinese critics’ and poets’ reading and writing aboutliterature throughout the dynasties. Drawing on the intertextual theories of Kristeva and Riffaterre, the paper probes into the phenomenon of sign system-mutations in two highly influential ancient texts: the Confucian Classic of Changes of the fifth century B.C.E. and Liu Xie’s The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, an ars poetica in the third century. The transformation of sign systems from nonverbal to verbal, in the case of the Changes, and from literate to literary or “creative” to “theoretical”, in the case of the Dragons, bears witness to the Hjelmslevian reciprocity of object-semiotic and meta-semiotic.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Dennis C. H. Cheng East Asian Semiotics: Graphic Interpretations of Body, Mind and the Universe
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In East Asia, there has been a long tradition of using graphs and diagrams to express abstract ideas. This paper is to give an account of the East Asian methodsfor representing body, mind and the universe. The fundamental ideas of East Asian graphic interpretation mostly originated from the Yijing (I Ching, Zhouyi), and were later developed by Confucian and Daoist thinkers to describe the universe, the mind, and the body as an organic totality. By comparing different approaches to portraying the universe, this paper offers a critical analysis of East Asian semiotics.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
You-zheng Li Signification and Performance of Nonverbal Signs in the Confucianist Ritual System
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The Confucianist learning of rites and related code systems are full of performing details realized in patterned conducts, programmed processes and multiplemedia-emblematic network most of which exhibit themselves as nonverbal signs and rhetoric. Those nonverbal ritual codes and the related regular performance exercise an extremely effective impact on the directed communication and domination of the society. As a result, in the Li-System the nonverbal signs and codes could function more relevantly and effectively than the related verbal part which itself functions also at a quasi-nonverbal level.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Youzheng Li Distinguishing Reality from Discourse in Chinese: Historiography from a Point of View of Historical Semiotics
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Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural semiotics will systematically change the present-day academic compartmentalization, especially impacting the constitutionof historiography. Emphasizing the distinction between reality and discourse this paper suggests a new historiographic view based on documents-centrism rather than periodical division. Then historians can more reasonably reach historical truth in a hermeneutic term. Following a semiotic rereading of a modern Chinese historical school Gu-Shi-Bian (textual criticism of historical literature), a more serious comparative historical theory will be established in the global humanities. This modern critical Chinese historiography will be instructive to the development of historical science in the world.
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Jie Zhang, Haihong Ji Three Cornerstones of the Former Soviet Semiotics: A Comparative Study of the Semiotic Theories of Bakhtin, Lotman, and Uspenskij
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Bakhtin’s social semiotics, Lotman’s structural literary semiotics, and Uspenskij’s linguistic cultural semiotics are the three important theoretical cornerstones of the mansion of semiotics in the former Soviet Union, whose influences have long gone beyond the territory of the former Soviet Union, and have attracted widespread attention of the literary and semiotic circle from China and the rest of the world as well. However, researches so far have been mainly separate studies of their distinct theories, while a comparative study of the characteristics of Bakhtin, Lotman, and Uspenskij’s theories and methodologies has not been initiated. This paper attempts to compare the Russian troika’s conceptions and research methodologies of semiotics, and explores how they reach the same goal of the study of social-cultural system from different approaches — linguistics and trans-linguistics. This paper further reveals how they break the thinking mode of dualism and construct a pluralistic critical mode, and finally points out the contribution they have made to semiotics and the overall studies of humanities and social sciences.
7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Ersu Ding Saussure, Peirce, and the Chinese Picto-phonetic Sign
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Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce are two founding fathers of modern semiotics but, up until fairly recently, their theories have fared differentlyon the mainland of China, with the former canonized in university textbooks and the latter banished from academic discussion for political reasons. What this article tries to show is that, thanks to its picto-phonetic origin, the Chinese language lends itself particularly well to theorization from the Peircean perspective, hence the importance of embracing his trichotomous approach to language and other types of signs.
8. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Chi-hsiang Lee The “Blanks” and the “Writing”: A Narratological Description of Spring and Autumn
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This paper is intended to discourse upon the state of the “blankness” in the first sentence of Spring and Autumn. Chinese traditional scholars tend to explain“blanks” as the “chueh wen/blanks of text” or the “pu shu/unwritten” on the basis of Commentaries. The former is a kind of “to be written” while the latter refers to the “blank”, which is “already written”, not “non-written”. “Blanks of text” is a term from The Analects of Confucius, coined first by Master Confucius to refer to the relationship between court historians, writing and tradition, while “blank written” is a term in the Commentaries in reference to the relationship between thepractice of “meaning-given” and the “blank narrative” of “unwritten/blank written” in the text of Spring and Autumn. On account of the two terms, this study attempts to argue that the status of the “blanks” is explainable.
9. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Ying-hsiung Chou Can the Uncanny Be Represented?
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If the uncanny is something one cannot quite come to terms with in the first place, can the uncanny really be represented? There is clearly in the act itselfsomething quite against the grain of referentiality. What in other words is the point of saying that which cannot very well be said in explicit terms? And how do we account for an increase in modern times of efforts to perform what at first look seems infeasible? It also remains to be seen how the Chinese uncanny is represented with the help of a seemingly inane rhetorical tour de force in which the uncanny is confirmed as being historically true despite everything else in the story that points in the opposite direction.
10. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/4
Hsiu-chih Tsai Female Sexuality: Its Allurement and Repression in Geling Yan’s “White Snake”
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This paper aims at addressing how the question of Chinese female sexuality is questioned and challenged by the Chinese woman writer Geling Yan’s novella“White Snake” (1999). By adopting a similar title to the famous traditional Chinese monster story that narrates a white serpent transformed herself into a pretty lady to pursue and experience human love, Geling Yan’s novella carries the mimicry of the theme by portraying her protagonist as a serpent-embodying woman whose sexual power was deemed abnormal and monstrous. This imprisoned woman as a monstrous other, though sinuously gazed, desired and mocked, her monstrous sexuality, not as the un-human, but as the conflation where the social and cultural anxiety encounters the fear of desire and the difference, is given the chance to be re-initiated, re-directed and unleashed into another heterogeneous state and territory of the unsaid and unnamed behind the traditional cultural prison house.