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Modern Chinese Humanities Seminar Featuring Pang Laikwan – Economic Sovereignty in Contemporary China: The Biopolitical Subject as Garlic Chive

October 7, 2021 @ 8:00 pm 9:30 pm


Speaker: Pang Laikwan
, Professor of Cultural Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong

This paper focuses on the wide popularity of the meme and buzzword jiucai, garlic chives, on China’s internet to investigate the cultural and political subjectivity of the ordinary Chinese citizens in a time of fierce competition simply to survive, largely known as neijuan, involution. Through this investigation of the garlic chives meme, the paper also updates Foucault’s theory of the biopolitics by investigating the deeply intertwined relation between the biological, the economic, and the political in contemporary Chinese governmentality. While the post-socialist PRC has developed a sophisticated economic rationality to legitimize its state sovereignty, this economic sovereignty also strains the ordinary subjects so much that it begins to pose serious challenge to this legitimacy.

PANG Laikwan is Professor of Cultural Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is the author of a few books, including, more recently, The Appearing Demos: Hong Kong During and After the Umbrella Movement (U of Michigan, 2021), The Art of Cloning: Creative Production During China’s Cultural Revolution (Verso, 2017), andCreativity and Its Discontents: China’s Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offenses (Duke UP, 2012). She will be a CASBS fellow at Stanford University in the academic year of 2021-2022.

Presented via Zoom Webinar


October 7, 2021
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

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