Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170770
Title: PAPER TIGERS AND BAMBOO LANTERNS: ON THE REDEMPTION AND RECLAMATION OF THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN KEN LIU'S STORIES
Authors: JOSHUA KOH JUN XIANG
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2020
Citation: JOSHUA KOH JUN XIANG (2020-04-13). PAPER TIGERS AND BAMBOO LANTERNS: ON THE REDEMPTION AND RECLAMATION OF THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN KEN LIU'S STORIES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The idea of progress is one that has guided Western thought for millennia. The pursuit of progress is the driving impulse behind technological advancement and numerous civil rights movements, particularly those movements that label themselves “progressive.” However, progress is often seen as a fundamentally Western idea. Robert Nisbet’s seminal work on progress demonstrates how the idea of progress developed and evolved in the West, aided by Western intellectual movements such as the Enlightenment and the Reformation. However, even though the idea of progress developed in the West, is the continued survival of the idea of progress therefore – as Nisbet claims – contingent on the perceived superiority of Western civilisation? This paper discusses how the award-winning science fiction author Ken Liu engages with the theme of progress in his oeuvre, rewriting the core premises underlying the idea of progress. I argue that by addressing and rewriting these premises, Liu demonstrates that the pursuit of progress is not the sole prerogative of the West and thereby decouples the idea of progress from the idea of Western civilisation. I assert that Liu reclaims the idea of progress for non-Western cultures and redeems it, freeing it from the negative associations it has accrued as a result of injustices committed by Western cultures in the name of progress.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170770
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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