Staging art and Chineseness – Q&A with Jane Chin Davidson

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Friday, 3 Jan 2020


How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

Staging Chineseness is a book that questions the meaning of contemporary art in a trans-nationalized world of global cultures, and it challenges the ways in which Chinese identity is attributed to artworks by nation.

What book in your field has inspired you the most?

Amelia Jones, Body Art: Performing the Subject (1998)

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Beyond the real places in China, the research took me to the fantasy places of global expositions for representing Hong Kong and Taiwan such as the Venice Biennale.

Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?

My writing process involves recorders, longhand, many notebooks, and mostly many drafts and rewrites on the computer.

Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

I published with MUP because I thought the book fits well with the Rethinking Arts Histories series. I also completed my PhD at the University of Manchester, so it felt right.

What are you working on now?

My current book project connects a history of environmental actions by performance artists from around the world to current ideals for resisting the petro-capitalist lifestyle of fossil-fuel-burning humanity.

If you could go back and give yourself once piece of advice when starting out on project, what would it be?

I would have prioritized this project and completed the manuscript before working on other things.

If you could have been the author of any book, what would it be and why?

Michel Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge & the Discourse of Language. To write such a life-changing book for any scholarly discipline is so amazing.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

I read a lot of philosophy and I used to read a lot of literature (not any more), both in European and Chinese contexts.

Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

Rey Chow, Wu Hung, Wang Ning, Zhang Huan, Cao Fei, Wu Mali, and Yuk King Tan.










Staging art and Chineseness is available to buy now. Jane Chin Davidson is Associate Professor of Art History and Contemporary Global Art at California State University, San Bernardino.



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