Founded In    1976
Published   semiannually
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest


literary and cultural studies

ISSN   1729-6897
Editorial Board

Tsu-Chung Su

Chun-yen Jo Chen
Wei-Cheng Chu
Iping Liang
Pin-chia Feng
Amie Parry
Frank W. Stevenson
Jung Su
Chih-ming Wang

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

1.        Manuscripts should be submitted in English. Please send the manuscript, an abstract, a list of keywords, and a vita as Word-attachments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Alternatively, please mail us two hard copies and an IBM-compatible diskette copy. Concentric will acknowledge receipt of the submission but will not return it after review.

2.        Manuscripts should be prepared according to the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Except for footnotes in single space, manuscripts must be double-spaced, typeset in 12-point Times New Roman.

3.        To facilitate the Journal’s anonymous refereeing process, there must be no indication of personal identity or institutional affiliation in the manuscript proper. The name and institution of the author should appear on a separate title page or in the vita. The author may cite his/her previous works, but only in the third person.

4.        The Journal will not consider for publication manuscripts being simultaneously submitted elsewhere.

5.        If the paper has been published or submitted elsewhere in a language other than English, please make available two copies of the non-English version. Concentric may not consider submissions already available in other languages.

6.        One copy of the Journal and fifteen off-prints of the article will be provided to the author(s) on publication.

7.        It is the Journal’s policy to require assignment of copyrights form by all authors.

Mailing Address

Concentric Editor
Department of English,
National Taiwan Normal University
162 Hoping East Rd.
Section 1, Taipei 10610
Taiwan, ROC
Phone 886-2-23636143
Fax 886-2-23634793

Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies

Emerging as one of the best journals of its kind produced outside of West, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies is, in the words of Professor Ronald Bogue, “one of the most vibrant and innovative vehicles of transcultural exchange active today.” Its history traces back to 1976 when the journal was published as a joint study of the English language and literature. Starting from 1999, it has become a medium devoted to exclusively literary and cultural studies. It is now published biannually in March and September by Bookman Books, Ltd. for the Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University, in Taipei, Taiwan. A peer-reviewed journal, Concentric is dedicated to offering innovative perspectives on literary and cultural issues, as well as to initiating the transcultural exchange of ideas. While foregrounding Asian—and particularly Taiwanese—points of view, Concentric encourages all perspectives and approaches including comparative and interdisciplinary ones, and welcomes original contributions from diverse national and cultural backgrounds, which address any of the many dimensions of literatures and cultures. Concentric is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography; the Taiwan Humanities Citation Index (THCI); and in PerioPath: An Index to Chinese Periodical Literature.


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bios, Volume 37, Number 1

Coming to “Terms” with Life

Risk, Fear and Immunity: Reinventing the Political in the Age of Biopolitics

As an update of his continual concern for contemporary risk society since 1980s, Ulrich Beck's latest work World at Risk (2009) alerts us to the deterritorializing effects of global risk on national, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries. On an increasingly global scale, risk mixes up natives and foreigners, while risk calculus connects natural, technical and social sciences, and incorporates almost all aspects of everyday life. Fear, accordingly, spreads out as a kind of carrier that binds so-called global, multicultural civil society; it even prospers as a lucrative risky business. Such an era has witnessed a structural transformation of the roles of the state and various biopolitical institutions, of life itself, of subjectivity and agency. Drawing on Žižek's theory of ideology critique and radical ethics and politics, this paper firstly presents a critical survey of contemporary biopolitics, focusing on how health needs contagion as its uncanny double to define and immunize itself, and on how new forms of biomedical experts and knowledge of life flourish with uncertainty and administer our body and life. All of these will be discussed in relation to theoretical accounts of the contemporary risk society and culture of fear to critically look at how risk and fear function as depoliticizing biopolitical instruments for disavowing social antagonism. Theorists such as Judith Butler and Roberto Esposito caution us against the (auto)immunitary biopolitical logic and call for vulnerability, precariousness and finitude to be adopted as the ethical principles for a "positive" biopolitics, while this paper will query whether human subjects are victimized and depoliticized in their discourses. The final part of this paper will turn to Žižek's recent formulation of radical ethics and politics to address the possibility of reinventing the political in contemporary biopolitics.

The "Bitter Necessity" of Debt: Neoliberal Finance and the Society of Control

Gilles Deleuze outlines a movement from Foucault's disciplinary society to what he calls the control society. Foucault himself traces this movement in his lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics. Faced with the incipience of neoliberalism, both Deleuze and Foucault shift their focus away from biopolitics, or the regulation of bodies and populations, and return to a kind of quasi-Marxist concern with political economy. Almost in spite of themselves, they both rediscover political economy at the heart of social processes that had previously seemed to be of an entirely different order.

What Remains of Tiananmen? Postpolitical Reduction to Bare Life in Emily Tang's Conjugation

Conjugation, Emily Tang's first feature film, describes the difficult love of a young unmarried couple, seeking to build a home away from the turmoil of the times after the Tiananmen events. Telling the story of their precarious active life, the sorrow about giving up their ideals, and the memories of fallen friends and comrades, Conjugation marks a temps mort, a time no verb can be conjugated with. In this article, I would like to think Emily Tang's attempt at expressing the post-Tiananmen malaise in relation to the more general background of neoliberal globalization. More precisely, I would like to show how the existential itinerary depicted in Conjugation can be read as a powerful allegory about how neoliberalism operates as a reduction of the political to a postpolitical, economic management issue. Following on the work of Giorgio Agamben, this reduction will be thought of as an extraction of bare life that can be understood as the production of a form of survival. In the last instance, I wish to show how Emily Tang's film constitutes a paradigmatic cinematic itinerary illustrating the complex passage from qualified form-of-life to a form of survival or bare life, a passage whose relevance far exceeds the Chinese context and can directly contribute to a better understanding of the formatting of subjectivities corollary to the ongoing global oikonomic mobilization.

The Remains of History: Gao Xingjing's Soul Mountain and Wuhe's The Remains of Life

This essay analyzes Gao Xingjian's Soul Mountain (Ling shan 1990) and Wuhe's The Remains of Life (Yusheng 1999) and their reflections on history and what lies beyond or outside of history. In the face of past traumas, the Cultural Revolution in Gao's, the Musha Incident, in Wuhe's case, both authors and their respective protagonists turn to prehistory. Gao and his protagonists, split into different perspectives, travel through China in search not only of the "soul mountain" of the title, but of natural preserves and minority cultures. Wuhe's protagonist dwells among the indigenous Atayal in Taiwan and becomes especially interested in the practice of headhunting -- one of the rituals conventionally associated with the "primitive." And yet, each author effects much more than a simple return to an imagined prehistory. In their texts, the renegotiation of historical trauma acquires a complex temporality: not only a return to the traumatic event, not merely a finally unfulfilled and unfulfillable desire for a world untouched by trauma and history, but also a reflection on what remains of and after trauma. These texts highlight and question the construction of history with and through its other(s): If the logos of history always needs its own constructed other -- as non-logos, as nature or bios -- in order to function, how can we rethink its temporal and conceptual logic? Can we craft the remains of history into a site of possibility? Can we glimpse a moment that neither succumbs to the dichotomy between history and its ineffable other nor to a total immanence of history? What is the hallmark of a representation of the past that would allow us not to become absorbed in it without remainder? What kind of text can reflect on history's violent character without inviting an eternal return of trauma, but also without fetishizing a pristine prehistory, unmarked by trauma?

The Horror of Dasein: Reading Steele's "The Days Between"

"The Days Between" is a story that appears as the second chapter of the novel Coyote, written by American science fiction writer Allen Steele. It tells of a man, Gillis, who lives all alone on a spaceship for 32 years -- the other crew members being in an extended state of deep sleep or biostasis -- and then dies in a random accident, 198 years before the ship will arrive at the planet Coyote. This paper begins from a Heideggerian interpretation of Gillis's existential condition, and then argues that Gillis's unique existence presents a challenge to Heidegger's grounding assumption of a being-in that constitutes both Dasein and its world. In the conclusion, the potential role of science fiction as a literary genre is discussed in relation to Heidegger's own thinking about technology and art, with the suggestion that science fiction may be needed today for its power, a saving one likely, to elicit a responsible response to the pervasive technological instrumentalization.

On Sophocles’ Antigone 1037-39: Electrum, Gold and Profits

Exteriority, Laughter and Comic Sacrifice in Hawthorne's "My Kinsman, Major Molineux"

Stephan Crane and the Green Place of Paint

Reading from the Heart Out: Chief Bromden through Indigenous Eyes

Other Issues

M, Volume 36, Number 2
Transnational Taiwan, Volume 36, Number 1
The Couch, Volume 35, Number 2