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Semiotic Sovereignty

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates how and why the linguistic dimension of Chinese telegraphy cannot be bracketed or jettisoned from our discussion but must be kept in play and even central as we reflect upon questions of materiality, finance, and legal frameworks. The most basic functionality of Chinese telegraphy depended upon the creation of a novel information-semiotic-system that is, a Chinese telegraph code. To consider the "language problem" in the history of Chinese telegraphy is not a question of "more history" it demands different history. At first blush, the very notion of semiotic sovereignty might seem to place an impossibly steep demand on the history in question and invites even demands reasonable objections of many sorts. The earliest example of experimental mediation of the Chinese telegraph code was a set of stamps invented by Septime Auguste Viguier himself to expedite the processes of encipherment and decipherment.

Keywords: Chinese telegraphy; experimental mediation; semiotic sovereignty; Septime Auguste Viguier

10.1163/9789004268784_008
/content/books/b9789004268784_008
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