“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.” -James Baldwin

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Eric Hayot: Chinese Bodies, Their Parts, and Their Markets

Eric Hayot

19 November 2009
12:30 pm

Room 471
20 Cooper Square
(Bowery and East 5th)

In the basement of the Yale University Medical Library are some eighty portraits that show patients of Dr. Peter Parker, the American founder of the first Western hospital in China. These portraits testify, first (or perhaps last) to the lives of those who appeared in them, but they also mark the intersection of a number of other biological, cultural, economic, and political exchanges: between China and the West, between violence and openness, between expression and silence, between the visual and the written, and between, finally, the modern history of the idea of the human, and of China.

Linking these images to a series of other cultural artifacts, including reports on the Chinese judicial system and contemporary exhibits of skinned human bodies, Hayot shows how in a history of suffering, modernity, and Chinese pain, Eric Hayot shows how intimately the idea of Chinese life takes part in the creation of Asian/American history.

Eric Hayot is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and the Director of the Asian Studies Program at Penn State University. He’s the author of Chinese Dreams: Pound, Brecht, Tel Quel (2004), Sinographies: Writing China (edited with Haun Saussy and Steve Yao) (2007), and, most recently, of The Hypothetical Mandarin: Sympathy, Modernity, and Chinese Pain. He has also published essays on the current state of Asian American Studies, contemporary poetry, digital culture, and modernism as a global literary formation.

Part of the Asian American Visual Cultures Series organized by SS Sandhu and Thuy Linh Tu

Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program
Department of Social & Cultural Analysis
New York University
20 Cooper Square, 4th Fl
NY, NY 10003

Tel 212.992.9650

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