Western Theory’s Chinese Transformation


Influenced by China’s distinctive “qing” tradition, ranging from the “affective Enlightenment” to the sentimental/affective revolution, both China’s modern Enlightenment movement and the Chinese leftists’ endeavors for social transformation and revolution heavily relied on the emotions and affect, especially those within literature, art, and aesthetics. The dyna mics of “moods” proposed by Qu Qiubai, the “national form” movement, and the Maoist affect not only foreshadowed and actualized but also enriched the conceptualizations of feelings, emotions, and affect by Western theorists such as Gramsci, Raymond Williams, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Rancière. With its meticulous portrayal and innovative theorization of the social and political dynamics of moods, emotions, and affect, Chinese leftist affect/emotion theory should be reassessed as a significant driving force within the global affective turn of the twentieth century.