Zoom Webinar: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/67605128399

Suppervisors: Irmy Schweiger och Monika Gänssbauer
Opponent: Kwok-Kan Tam, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong.


This study focuses on the prison writings from and about modern China (from the Mao era to the present day). It builds on previous research on Chinese prison camp literature as well as on sociological and historical studies of the evolution of punishments, both within the Chinese context and from a more global perspective. Theoretically and methodologically, the subject is approached through the conceptual model of the prisonscape. Informed by Arjun Appadurai’s theories on global interactions and by Edward Soja’s notion of “thirdspace,” this model is employed to explore the ways in which prison, through literature, is re-mapped as an “imagined world.”

The aim of this work is twofold: on the one hand, it seeks to characterize prison writings as a global literary genre and to position Chinese prison literature within a national literary system and in relation to a “world literary space” (Casanova). On the other hand, the literary analysis aims at illuminating key aspects of the imagined world of the Chinese prison. The textual analysis is organized around two main thematic explorations that focus, in turn, on a spatial and a corporeal dimension. Through the literary investigation of carceral spaces and carceral bodies, this study ultimately aims to contribute to a deeper and broader understanding of the Chinese prisonscape.