his project became a book over the course of many years. Irene Eber,
Charlotte Furth, Howard Goldblatt, Gary Hamilton, Marilyn Young,
Wolfgang Kubin, and Don Price read some or all of the earliest por-
of the research. During the 1990s, I found interlocutors in two
long-lived, Bay Area reading groups. In Inderpal Grewal’s ‘‘Feminism and
Nationalism,’’ I voiced my characteristic themes of the historical cata-
chresis, the peripheralization of the sign, and the problematics of colonial
modernity. I have developed these positions in various other venues over
the 1990s. In Donald M. Lowe’s ‘‘Marxism and Postmodernity’’ reading
group, which ran concurrently, a sustained, critical, reading of Derrida
allowed me to begin reframing historical and historiographic concerns
that had preoccupied me in graduate school. Also during those years, Renli
Wang read Chen Hongmou with me. Angela Zito, Jing Wang, Judith Far-
quhar, Jim Hevia, Wolfgang Kubin, Li Tuo, Francine Winddance Twine, Yi-
tsi Mei Feuerwerker, and Dorsey Green all encouraged me to complete the
book. I appreciate their unwillingness to accept anything less.
After I drafted the manuscript, Hiroko Sakamoto, Meng Yue, Jacqueline
Berman, Dai Jinhua, David Palumbo-Liu, Uta Poiger, Li Xiaojiang, Deborah
Porter, and Yi-tsi Mei Feuerwerker each carefully examined chapters where
their expertise could best enrich my views and rectify errors. I acknowledge
with appreciation the library support of Wenbing Peng, Brian Hammer,
Scott Edward Harrison, Paul Walker, Sumei Yi, and Mengliang Zhang at the
University of Washington, and the manuscript editing skills of Brian Ham-
mer, Riki Thompson, and Tamiko Nimura during the process of revision.
Liu Bohong, Dora Dien, Helen May Schneider, Tu Shaojun, Raoul David
Findeisen, Lau Kin Chi, Liu Huiying, Yan Hairong, and Wang Zheng en-
sured that I found sources I needed. Christina Gilmartin, Chia-lin Tao
Hiroko Sakamoto, and Chen Liwei answered my questions of fact. Claudia
Pozzana and Alessandro Russo organized a 1999 seminar at the Project for
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