“Westernization without the West; Romanization without Rome”

September 1, 2015

Professor Jing Tsu of East Asian Languages & Literatures and Comparative Literature will lecture in Emory University’s Distinguished Speakers series on the fate of the Chinese script in the modern age. The Chinese script revolution was never just a question about the Chinese language for the Chinese.  Unlike most writing systems, it has been a multi-scriptive, transnational venture in struggling for an ever larger medium, involving as many outsiders as insiders.  A breakthrough came in the twentieth century, which put it on an irreversible path of globalization.  This talk focuses on the invention of a crucial typewriter in the 1940s, in the context of other failed attempts and innovations in the first half of the twentieth century.