Sinkwan Cheng is the editor of Law, Justice, and Power: Between Reason and Will (Stanford University Press). Contributors to this volume include Julia Kristeva, Slavoj Žižek, J. Hillis Miller, Alain Badiou, Nancy Fraser, and Ernesto Laclau. Her writings have also appeared in MLN, Cardozo Law Review, American Journal of Semiotics, Law and Literature, and Literature and Psychology. Besides publishing in refereed journals and books in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Russia, and Spain, Dr. Cheng also has articles solicited for edited volumes in France and Germany.
In addition to her teaching experience in New York, Berlin, and Hong Kong, Prof. Cheng has given faculty seminars and lectures in England, Germany, the United States (including Columbia University), China, South Korea, Macau, and Hong Kong.
Over the past thirteen years, she has been awarded seven external fellowships and grants for her scholarly work (in addition to her current fellowship at the IIAS, she was also the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, a DAAD Fellowship, and an IAS Fellowship at Durham University in the U.K., among others).In addition to her teaching experience in New York, Berlin, and Hong Kong, Prof. Cheng has given faculty seminars and lectures in England, Germany, the United States (including Columbia University), China, South Korea, Macau, and Hong Kong.
My project explores how and why China’s linguistic revolutions took place alongside the country’s quest for scientific, economic, and political modernity. When discussing the contributions made by translation of Western texts to China’s modernization process, scholars have been focusing on content issues. They have overlooked how translation, through effecting changes in the Chinese language, has transformed the Chinese people’s Weltanschauung at a fundamental level—only with that transformation did China become truly ready for modernity. For example, tenses did not exist in classical Chinese. But given the prominence of the temporal dimension in Western languages, time markers were gradually invented for the Chinese language as intellectuals engaged in translations of Western texts. These time markers brought a linear concept of time to Chinese society, and only with that new way of experiencing time could “the modern” become conceivable for the Chinese people. I will examine how the time consciousness gave the Chinese a new concept of the future and laid the path for China’s modernization, and elaborate the subject at hand via an analysis of two waves of temporalization of the Chinese language. This topic about temporality, modernization, and language reform has special timely significance given the heated debates throughout East Asia as different countries feel the need to agree on a common adoption of either simplified or traditional characters in the age of globalization, digitalization, and the ever-changing relationship between China and Taiwan.-->