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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The Couch, Volume 35, Number 2

Introduction: East Asian Perspectives on Psychoanalysis -- Theoretical and Political

Never Divide and Love: From The Ethics of Psychoanalysis to The Politics of Friendship

In this paper, I would like to propose a kind of parallel reading of Lacan and Derrida, not in order to confront them with each other and to decide in favor of one of them, but in order to shed light on a certain conceptual configuration or topography that they seem to share. In the first half of the paper I focus on the notion of neighbor, proposed by Lacan in his seminar The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. I show how he elaborated this notion with multiple references to Freud and to various literary works, and in relation to the positing and removal of a dividing line relative to love. In the second half of the paper I try to demonstrate that the notion of friend occupies a homologous position in the conceptual framework of Derrida's Politics of Friendship, at the center of which we find an in-depth analysis of that distinction between friend and enemy which marks the works of Carl Schmitt. Nevertheless, this homology does not spell identity. I suggest in the conclusion that the divergence between the two thinkers opens up a field for new and potentially important investigations.

Psychoanalysis and Scenes of Night in Narratives on Culture

In first part of this paper, I will try to explain briefly the reason of the frequent appearance of nocturnal scene, in commenting on two simple poetic texts from a structuralist point of view. The second part is concerned with the position in which psychoanalysis can deal with the scene of night. The third problem lies in the possibility of psychoanalysis to intervene in the historical passage into the Weltnacht in the Heideggerian sense. In the last part, I will attempt to give an answer to this question, in commenting on Žižek's thesis concerning Hegel with Lacan and Lacan with Hegel.

That Obscure Object (a) of Drive: The Politics of Negativity in Derrida and Žižek

This paper investigates the theoretical nature of negativity and its ethico-political implications in Derrida and Žižek. It argues that there is an illegitimate shift in Derrida's thinking of the limit from his early essay on différance to his later political formulation. With différance, the limit is strictly immanent within the system; however, the limit is transposed to the outside and to a figure of impossibility in his later work. Such a move has crippling implications for politics because it elevates passivity and imperfection into ethical principles, thus rendering radical political intervention inconceivable. The paper thus offers an alternative theorization of the limit from a Žižekian point of view. Central to this view is the ontological status of object a in psychoanalysis. The ontology of lack, thought from the point of view of the drive, is both self-fissuring and self-engendering. It posits an immanent negativity that, at the same time, constitutes the positive condition for radical political intervention. Politics, in this view, is not founded on primordial passivity or constitutive imperfection. Rather, it involves an element of subjective decisionism that, through the enactment and the embodiment of the limit, brings about symbolic suspension and allows new political sequences to unfold.

The Importance of Making Ashamed: Regarding the Pain of (Animal) Others

In the first two sections of this paper, I will elucidate why the emotion of shame arises when images of suffering are seen, or, to be more precise, are seeing us. Moreover, I will deal with Lacan's proposal of "making ashamed" and discuss in what sense shame can become a blessing. While the distressing photographs Sontag addresses are mainly concerned with the pain of human others, the third section of this paper also ventures to explore whether the viewer will be made ashamed by the pain of animal others. I will examine how animal cruelty is represented in Taiwan's media coverage, with a view to answering the following question: What kinds of images are able to make the spectator feel ashamed and call for a halt to cruelty?

Politicizing Cognition: Antigone, Yogācāra, and the Politics of Not One Less

This study argues that a political reading of Not One Less should not stop at such apparent conformism. Indeed, both the reading of blind obedience and that of conformism assume direct causal connection between the ethical act and social/political practice. In Not One Less, however, there is a gap of causal uncertainty indicating that Minzhi's act, though fully immersed in conformist practice, does open up a degree of cognitive freedom within the very uncertainty of causative agency. I will use the theory of "three natures" in Yogācāra thought to further examine how such uncertainty indicates the presence of a cognitive ethics which points to a different kind of causality in much the same way as the Lacanian/Žižekian act. Here effectivity is more radical because less predictable.

Analyzing Chinese Nationalism through the Protect Diaoyutai Movement

Firstly, the paper suggests that a certain cultural imaginary of "nationalism" (or "love of one's nation") is perverse. This idea has profound political implications for democracy, because in Lacanian psychoanalysis the pervert is tortured by the inability to separate his subjectivity from the perversely demanding Other. Secondly, the paper illustrates the traumatic and "real" implications of the jouissance of nationalism through the example of the inadvertent and traumatic death of a leader of the 1996 Protect Diaoyutai Movement in Hong Kong. Here the question will be: What is the irreducible aspect of the Lacanian real that people failed to symbolize and reckon with in dealing with Chen Yuxiang's death? Thirdly, the paper takes the concept of disavowal as being central to the operational logic of perversion, and explores the following questions. Can the analysis of this case help us to understand how the perverse cultural imaginary of nationalism operates through denial and disavowal? How can theory articulate and make knowable the plight of nationalism's hated and persecuted others? How can Jacques-Alain Miller's concept of extimacy address the relation between the nationalist community and its disavowed others?

An Impossible Encounter between Lacan, Lu Xun, and Chen Shui-bian: A Psychoanalysis of Taiwan and Its Discontents

This paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses Lu Xun and Mao Zedong in order to clarify the structure of desire in terms of its intimate relationship with impossibility. The second part draws on Lacan's theories of jouissance and the Borromean knot, and his four discourses in order to analyze Taiwan's socio-political turmoil mentioned above. The last part first elucidates the structure of suffering and enjoyment as revealed in the 2006 Red Shirt Army protest and the 2008 presidential election. Then, as part of an envisaging of a way out of the said complicity, Lu Xun and his writing are taken up again to illustrate the act of writing the impossible. Last, resorting to the modus operandi of the "true hole" in Lacan's Seminar XXIII, this paper presents and expounds the two concepts of "linking cut" and "doing with-out," in order to arrive at the possibility of severing the complicity between knowledge and jouissance. Above all, this paper aspires to imagine a way, emphatically though not exclusively for Taiwan, to dissolve the repetitive compulsion of the "again" so as to embark upon the future.

Force of Psyche: Electricity or Void? Re-examination of the Hermeneutics of the Force of Psyche in Late Qing China

The aim of this paper is to discuss the contrasting hermeneutics concerning the concept of psyche among the late Qing intellectuals. Late Qing intellectuals developed a mode of hermeneutics that viewed xin li, or "psyche force," as utilizable, tamable, self-adaptable (in the manner of electricity) and capable of evolving. Also, the "weak mind" has to be exercised as a muscle and all so-called "vile thoughts" must be erased. This Christianized version of the psyche descends, at least in part, from some of the vast range of western knowledge which was introduced into China during the modernization movement, mostly through second-hand translations (based on Japanese translations), as well as through translations by the missionaries in China. John Fryer's Zhixin mianbingfa (治心免病法A Method for the Avoidance of Illness by Controlling the Mind), published in Shanghai in 1896, was the first text that introduced the term xin li (心力) into the Chinese contexts and represented the emblematic text of this trend of hermeneutics. Liang Qichao fully absorbed this mode of interpretation and elaborated the concept of xin li in such a way that this utilizable and tamable force of psyche could be governed and exercised so as to save the nation and to create a new people. Tan Sitong, though a close friend to Liang Qichao and a member of the Hundred Days' Reform in 1898 and died as a martyr, held a totally different concept of xin li. In his Buddhist-inspired vision of the xin li, the force of psyche was presented as void, a site for "micro-appearing-disappearing," that was possible of subverting any fixed nominal system. This paper discusses the political implications in Tan's anarchistic vision of xin li. This paper argues that Lacan's topological formulation of the psyche and ex-sistenceas well as Alain Badiou's concept of void and the force of subtraction can help us explicate the radicality of Tan's notions of the psyche.

Mourning Love: Queer Performativity and Transformation in Zero Chou's Spider Lilies and Splendid Float

Hybridization as the Postcolonial Anti-Exotic in Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl

Working with Nature: David Masumoto and Organic Farming Discourse

On the Horizon: Nietzsche’s Lady Dawn and Deleuze’s Sky-Chance

Other Issues

bios, Volume 37, Number 1
M, Volume 36, Number 2
Transnational Taiwan, Volume 36, Number 1