China Talks 2018: Gender and Post-Human in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction



“Post-human”, which means one entity or condition beyond being human, is a critical concept for us to reconsider “human” and “humanism”; “Gender”, which is understood as social constructions on sexual differences, is another important tool of inquiry into the masculinist understanding of the world. Both of the categories could be used to destabilize essentialist and binarist ways of thinking. Therefore, they are key to “cyber-feminism” of which Donna Haraway is a leading advocate.
Contemporary Chinese science fiction, especially the “New Wave Sci-Fi” that emerged at the turn of the 21th century, offers bold experiments in writing about “post-human” conditions, “cyborgs” and gender-fluid species as serious engagement with social, political and philosophical themes. This talk will introduce some representative works and critically discuss the presentation of modernity, humanity, science and gender within them. It will also propose the ways in which a feminist science fiction with boundary-crossing political possibilities could be created.


Dr Xi Liu
Lecturer in Dept. of China Studies

She received her PhD from Dept. of Comparative Literature, the University of Hong Kong. Her main research field is contemporary Chinese literature, with a focus on literary representations of gender, class and ethnicity in China. Chinese science fiction is one of her new research interests. She is working on a research project on this topic.