IL-IN Corridor Speaker Series: Fei-Hsien WANG, "Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China"
In Pirates and Publishers, Fei-Hsien Wang reveals the unknown social and cultural history of copyright in China from the 1890s through the 1950s, a time of profound sociopolitical changes. Wang draws on a vast range of previously underutilized archival sources to show how copyright was received, appropriated, and practiced in China, within and beyond the state's legal institutions. Contrary to common belief, copyright was not a problematic doctrine simply imposed on China by foreign powers with little regard for Chinese cultural and social traditions. Shifting the focus from the state legislation of copyright to the daily, on-the-ground negotiations among Chinese authors, publishers, and state agents, Wang presents a more dynamic, nuanced picture of the encounter between Chinese and foreign ideas and customs. Developing multiple ways for articulating their understanding of copyright, Chinese authors, booksellers, and publishers played a crucial role in its growth and eventual institutionalization in China.
Fei-Hsien Wang is an associate professor at the Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington. She is a historian of modern China, with a particular interest in the relations between knowledge, commerce, and political authority after 1800. Her book Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2019) was the winner of the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award, American Society for Legal History, and the Runner-Up Commendation for the DeLong Book History Book Prize, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing in 2020. She is Associate Editor of the American Historical Review.