East Asian Languages & Cultures
B.A., Shandong University; M.A., Fudan University; M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
On Leave 2015-16
Associate Professor of Chinese
My research interests include modern Chinese literature and intellectual history from the late 19th century to the early 21st century, Chinese cinema, science fiction, and 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, was published by Harvard University Asia Center (2015). A synthesis of narrative theory and cultural history, it combines historical investigations of the origin and development of the modern Chinese youth discourse with close analyses of the novelistic construction of the Chinese Bildungsroman, which depicts the psychological growth of youth with a symbolic allusion to national rejuvenation.
A second monograph in English, titled Posthuman China: Virtual Nations, Utopian/Dystopian Visions, and Science Fiction, is a study in the new wave of Chinese science fiction, with an emphasis on the subversive nature of the genre in the contemporary political and cultural context of China’s pursuit of wealth and power. I was among the first scholars to engage serious critical criticism of the new wave of Chinese science fiction, and I have published several research articles to examine the genre’s dynamism and its subversion of the genre convention as well as its cutting-edge experiment with the constructions of difference, as embodied in gender, race, class, nation, species, and artificial intelligence, etc. I guest edited three special journal issues on science fiction: Renditions 77/78 (2012), China Perspectives 1(2015), and Journal of Comparative Literature in China 100.3 (2015). The Renditions special issue (2012) features the English translations of science fiction stories and novel excerpts from China’s early twentieth century and early twenty-first century. An enlarged anthology of Chinese science fiction based on the Renditions special issue is currently under contract with Columbia University Press, titled The Reincarnated Giant: Chinese Science Fiction in the Twenty-First Century: Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the PRC (co-edited with Theodore Huters, to be released in 2017).
For my work on science fiction in China, I received interviews by BBC, PRI, Deutscheland Radio, Wired, Boston Globe, New York Times, and Foreign Policy, and I appeared in a live talk show “World Insight” on China’s English International TV Channel in August 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 Perspectives, China Scholarship, Studies of Modern China, Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, Shanghai Culture, Journal of Comparative Literature in China, Twenty-First Century Monthly, and Dushu (China’s foremost intellectual journal).
I received a “Shanghai Literature Award” for literary criticism in 2003. My other major grants include a research grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange in 2010-2011, and the Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellowship offered through the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) in 2016.
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.
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. I also served on a number of editorial boards for literary magazines, academic journals, and presses, such as Literature (Wenxue), People’s Literature, Pathlight, and “Studies in Global Science Fiction” Book Series (Palgrave Macmillan).
See my Selected Publications page for additional information.