This paper critically examines post/feminist imperatives in relation to neoliberal ethos and class dynamics in The People’s Republic of Desire (2006) by transnational Chinese women writer, Annie Wang (b. 1972). While the novel positions itself as a transnational satire of the Western-styled consumptive furor in post-socialist China, its textual focus on a class-based commodity culture demands a critical consideration of its neoliberal investments. In probing Wang’s text, this paper adopts a feminist reading that attends to how neoliberal ideology and class politics operate together to corroborate a postfeminist stance. The awareness of feminist ethics notwithstanding, the text’s overall postfeminist disposition and the attendant class purview work to depoliticize its expressed intent. The tension between feminism and postfeminism eventually translates into that between the local and the global. That the discursive polarization of China and the West is implicitly inscribed in the denouement also registers the limits of the novel’s transnational engagement.

Note on the Author

Kelly Yin Nga Tse is a doctoral student in the Faculty of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. She is working on the representation of conflicts in relation to ethics and politics in contemporary Anglophone Asian literature. Her research interests include world literature, global modernity, cosmopolitanism, postcolonial Asia, gender studies, queer aesthetics, the novel, critical theories and continental philosophy.