(781) 283-3588
East Asian Languages & Cultures
B.A., Shandong University; M.A., Fudan University; M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
On Leave 2015-16
GRH 336A

Mingwei Song
Associate Professor of Chinese

Specializing in modern Chinese literature, film studies and youth culture.

My research interests include modern Chinese literature from the late Qing to the early 21st century, Chinese cinema, science fiction, and the youth culture. I have published books and articles in both English and Chinese. My first monograph in English, titled Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959, is forthcoming from Harvard University Asia Center (Fall 2015). My Chinese books include Criticism and Imagination (Shanghai, 2013) and The Sorrows of a Floating World: a Biography of Eileen Chang (Taipei, 1996; Shanghai, 1998; Hong Kong, 2001). My research articles have appeared in such journals as Science Fiction Studies, China Scholarship, Studies of Modern China, Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese and Dushu (China’s leading intellectual journal). I received a “Shanghai Literature Award” for literary criticism in 2003 and a research grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange in 2010.

My current research work focuses on Chinese science fiction. I have published a series of academic papers on the topic in both English and Chinese. I guest edited a special issue of Renditions (2012) that featured the English translations of science fiction stories and novel excerpts from China. I am currently writing a new monograph (in English) on the utopian/dystopian and post-human imageries in twenty-first century Chinese science fiction, which is tentatively titled “The Post-human China: Virtual Subjectivity, Utopian/dystopian Narrative, and Science Fiction.”

Since I joined the faculty of Wellesley College in 2007, I have designed, renovated, and taught a variety of courses covering the literature, film, and popular culture of modern China. My pedagogy emphasizes the balance between close reading and critical thinking, and evokes a sympathetic understanding with historical analysis and intercultural literacy. My courses are designed not only to enrich students’ knowledge of modern China, but more importantly to improve their awareness of multicultural values as well as to cultivate and strengthen their intellectual abilities of analysis, criticism, and self-development. Most of my students, I know, would not choose to pursue an academic career after graduation, and I consider it necessary for them, at this early stage of life, to cultivate a lifelong love for reading literature or watching films that are intellectually enlightening. I have striven to make every class I teach a meaningful conversation from which students will walk away with the realization of a certain thought that may enrich their intellectual development.

Instead of presenting modern Chinese literature and culture as a monolithic system of canonical texts, I try to inspire students to identify, investigate, and compare various voices articulated by Chinese writers and filmmakers. For example, in response to the recent rise of Chinese nationalism, I have particularly guided my students to analyze modern Chinese national identity represented in film and literature as a complex cultural product that has been formed through image-making and discursive practice. Critical reflections on these cultural processes of “nation-building” have enabled my students to understand China more realistically and stay alert to ideological compromises.

My course offerings are designed and updated to appeal to Wellesley students’ diverse interests in modern Chinese literature and culture in a wide range of themes, genres, and topics. Here are a few courses I offer regularly:

  • Writing Modern China
  • Chinese Cinema
  • The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film
  • Popular Culture in Modern China
  • Readings in Modern Chinese Literature
  • Eileen Chang

In addition to my academic publications, I have also published short stories, novellas, essays, and poems in Chinese-language literary magazines in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Mainland China. I published two collections of my literary writings in 2007 and 2012, both from Shanghai Bookstore Press.