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Open Cultural Studies

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Hong Kong as Alternative Sinophone Articulation: Translation and Literary Cartography in Dung Kai-Cheung’S Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City

Long Chao
  • Division of English, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore, 637332, 8714-8802
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Published Online: 2018-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0069


Following the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong society has witnessed a series of fights between social (youth) activists and its Special Administrative Government (SAR). What was at stake really boils down to the issue of Hong Kong’s self-positioning vis-a-vis the rising economic and political strength of Mainland China. This issue is certainly nothing new, given that most cultural discourses in the 1990s, both within and outside Hong Kong, have focused on the city’s postcolonial status after the handover. This article therefore proposes to approach such an issue from the perspective of the Sinophone to bring to light how cultural production in Hong Kong can generate alternative thinking. It considers specifically a literary work by a native Hong Kong writer, namely, Dung Kai-cheung’s Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City (Atlas), through the lens of translation. By analysing how Dung Kai-cheung engages in three levels of translation to paint a kaleidoscopic image of Hong Kong, this article shows how the concept of Sinophone can inspire, enlighten and even question existing knowledge about Hong Kong’s history and culture. Eventually, Atlas, shown as deprived of a nativist or nationalistic discourse, creates new epistemic possibilities for understanding Hong Kong. As part of the ongoing global Sinophone cultures, Atlas also exemplifies how Hong Kong can be imagined to hold an equally important position vis-a-vis Mainland China.

Keywords: Hong Kong; history; Sinophone articulation; cultural/regional identity


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About the article

Received: 2018-03-11

Accepted: 2018-11-16

Published Online: 2018-12-31

Published in Print: 2018-12-01

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 771–780, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0069.

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© by Long Chao, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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