Illegible Cities

Illegible Cities: Translating Early Modern China

This book project in progress, very loosely inspired by Calvino’s Invisible Cities, is devoted to understanding the institutional, textual, and social history of translation in China from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries (with a wee bit of a foray into the nineteenth as well). It’s also a space in which I’m trying to work on, and work through, practices of sameness in history. Put another way, can we glimpse in glossaries and phrasebooks (and in the practices of the men who made them) moments in a global history of selfhood, of the basic act of considering something as equal or identical to something else?

For more on this project, click here