Chronotopia: Urban Space and Time in 21st-Century Sinophone Film and Fiction

In this themed cluster of PRISM: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, we encounter wandering flats, ghostly spaces, and nostalgic fantasies that foster an interpretation of space and time as fundamentally entangled in the city.

My intro is available OA: and the whole grand spacetime shebang goes like this:

(Introduction) Chronotopia: Urban Space and Time in Twenty-First-Century Sinophone Film and Fiction by Astrid Møller-Olsen

Multiple Time-Spaces: Dialogical Representation of the Global City in Chinese New Urban and Rural-Migrant Films by Jie Lu

Ghostly Chronotopes: Spectral Cityscapes in Post-2000 Chinese Literature by Winnie L. M. Yee

Spatiotemporal Explorations: Narrating Social Inequalities in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction by Frederike Schneider-Vielsäcker

Reconfiguring the Chronotope: Spatiotemporal Representations and Cultural Imaginations of Beijing in Mr. Six by Xuesong Shao and Sheldon Lu

Take the Elevator to Tomorrow: Mobile Space and Lingering Time in Contemporary Urban Fiction by Astrid Møller-Olsen

BISU Library

With rows of umbrellas parked in the entrance, the library seems to be providing a safe haven for the students of Beijing International Studies University (BISU 北京第二外国语学院) during one of Beijing’s rare rain falls. Inside the red brick building, the two floors circle around a central hall, which is lit up by a polygon sky light, made to look like an enormous crystal.

On the second floor is a room lined with shelf after shelf of Chinese fiction. Mouth watering, and I’m not allowed to borrow a single volume, as I’m not strictly a student here, but working in the Dean’s office. The shelves are ugly gray ones, but the books are all used and creased and lovely, they’d make any plastic rack look homely.

Along every walk way and every wall there are tables filled with notebooks, tea cups, mobile phones and stacks of books mainly on oral English, tourism and how to write good papers. It feels like a common living room, and in a way that just what it is. I sit down with The Semiotics of Exile in Literature by Hong Zeng, and sink in for a few hours.