Tag Archives: Chinese Empire

James McGrath’s Religion and Science Fiction: Chapter 3

Is Another World Possible?

I would like to thank Wipf and Stock Publishers for my review copy of James McGrath’s latest book, Religion and Science Fiction.

Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.’s “Star Trekking in China: Science Fiction as Theodicy in Contemporary China” went through the recent history of the Chinese people, from struggling to overcome Western imperialism to the rise of May 4th intellectuals. The leadership in China pushed for the popularity of “scientism,” or that which was rational, but rather than pushing this rationality to where nationalism is seen as irrational, Chinese scientific thinking still clung to the belief of China as the Middle Kingdom. It is an effort to justify the cultural loss and shame associated with being a subordinate country (to the British and French). I also found Lozada Jr.’s piece on Chinese youth using internet cafe for gaming purposes as informative. Play as an integral part of social life rather than an individualistic, non-stop work shops (take Starbucks for instance) appealed to my sense and theology of the Sabbath.

I find it quite interesting that even in China, modernity/scientific rationalism is exposed as being narrative-driven. Rather than the naturalness of progress being already determined, however, it is China’s own future greatness. I keep wondering, however, with all of this talk of theodicy, what will Science Fiction in China look like when the nation-state. with its State Capitalism and all, faces an economic threat it cannot stop, like a depression or man-made environmental disaster, or perhaps a monumental event where the people begin to have a lack of confidence in scientific advancements? Or what if India becomes the world’s next superpower? Will not this change the imagination, and therefore the imagined Chinese selves?

I believe it would.

Postcolonialism and the Next Empire: China?

Recently, I have been watching the great t.v. show on DVD, The West Wing, and I came across the classic Thanksgiving episode in Season 2, “Shibboleth.”  In it, there is a discussion about American greatness, religious freedom, and Chinese regulations on religion and spirituality.  I sometimes wonder to myself what will become of the future of post-colonial studies.  What will our interpretations of history and power look like. I have a feeling well over a century ago, that wise sage of race relations, W.E.B. DuBois had it partially right in his essay “The Color Line Belts The World.” The next imperial structures, probably in the form of economic prowess may well be China. I don’t like American politicians and their alarmism about our current, ahem,  debt to them, but our current situation is our own fault, that, and the global presence that the Chinese government has now in the African continent. It gives me reason to wonder, to imagine.  To read more, check out this article by The Atlantic: The Next Empire.

Am I way off base? I think if post-colonial studies is to thrive in the decades ahead, there needs to be a discernment about which nations are becoming the super-powers and how does it manifest itself.  Otherwise there will be this outdated anti-American, anti-British polemic.