Literature and Culture

Study of the literature and culture of China have never been stronger at the Fairbank Center. The Center has numerous affiliated scholars focusing on a wide variety of periods and subjects ranging from the ancient Chinese poetry to modern Chinese literature. Prof. David Wang is a particularly active member of the community and is responsible for many of the Center’s events on this subject, including bringing the Nobel laureate, Mo Yan, and acclaimed author Ha Jin to speak at Harvard and designing a successful symposium held last year entitled “The Cultural Revolution and Cinema.”

Expertise

Jennifer Li-Chia Liu

Professor of the Practice of Language Pedagogy, Director, Chinese Language Program, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Jennifer Liu came to Harvard in 2011 as the Director of the Chinese Language Program. As Director, she is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising 24 teachers who offer 20-22 language courses annually to approximately 700 students.

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5 Bryant St. #207 | Cambridge MA, 02138
shigahisa kuriyama
shigahisa kuriyama

Shigehisa Kuriyama

Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History

Professor Kuriyama's research explores broad philosophical issues (being and time, representations and reality, knowing and feeling) through the lens of specific topics in comparative medical history (Japan, China, and Europe).

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2 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge MA, 02138
david wang
david wang

David Der-Wei Wang 王德威

Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature

David Der-wei Wang holds a joint appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Department of Comparative Literature.

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2 Divinity Ave. #130A | Cambridge | MA 02138
Jie Li
Jie Li

Jie Li

Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

As a scholar of literary, film, and cultural studies, Jie Li’s research interests center on the mediation of memories in modern China.

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2 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge MA, 02138
Rudolf Wagner
Rudolf Wagner

Rudolf Wagner

Senior Professor, University of Heidelberg

Research interests: Chinese religions and philosophical thought

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Karl Jaspers Centre | Voßstraße 2, Building 4400 | 69115 Heidelberg | Deutschland/Germany
karen thornber
karen thornber

Karen Thornber

Professor of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Victor and William Fung Director, Harvard University Asia Center; Chair, Harvard University Council on Asian Studies; Director, Harvard Global Institute Environmental Humanities Initiative.

Karen Thornber’s primary areas of research and teaching are world literature and the literatures and cultures of East Asia, particularly Japan, as well as the Indian Ocean Rim.

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Harvard University Asia Center | CGIS South S222 | 1730 Cambridge Street | Cambridge, MA 02138
Ellen Widmer
Ellen Widmer

Ellen Widmer 魏爱莲

Mayling Song Professor of Chinese Studies, Wellesley College

Professor Ellen Widmer studies traditional Chinese fiction, history of Chinese women's writing, history of the book in China, and missionaries to East Asia.

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Wellesley College | 106 Central Street | Wellesley | MA 02481
leonard van derkuijp
leonard van derkuijp

Leonard van der Kuijp 范德康

Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies

Leonard van der Kuijp is professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies. Best known for his studies of Buddhist epistemology, he is the author of numerous works on Tibet and TibetanRead More

Department of South Asian Studies | Inner Asian and Altaic Studies | 1 Bow St. | Cambridge
stephen owen
stephen owen

Stephen Owen 宇文所安

James Bryant Conant University Professor, Professor of Comparative Literature

tephen Owen is a sinologist specializing in premodern literature, lyric poetry, and comparative poetics. Much of his work has focused on the middle period of Chinese literature (200-1200), however, he has also written on literature of the early period andRead More

2 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge MA, 02138
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Research Projects

Funded Tarikh-i Hamidi Reading Group

In addition to funding large-scale conferences, the Center also supports smaller, focused modes of inquiry. Last year, the Fairbank Center funded Eric Schluessel, a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s History and East Asian Languages department, to form a reading group for the examination and partial translation of Tārīkh-i Ḥamīdī (1908) by Mullā Mūsà. The text itself is the most important Turkic-language source for the history of Xinjiang in the nineteenth century and is considered a masterwork of Uyghur history.

Jeffery R. Gu Memorial Fund for Study in Taiwan

The Jeffery R. Gu Memorial Fund for Study in Taiwan is awarded to Harvard College students who wish to study Chinese language and culture in Taiwan. For more information and to apply, see here.

Mo Yan as Storyteller

In the fall of 2014, Prof. David Der-wei Wang moderated a conversation between author and Nobel laureate Mo Yan and the acclaimed novelist Ha Jin on their creative processes and the sharing of Chinese stories with a global audience.

China in Translation: Theory, History, Practice

This workshop, funded by the Fairbank Center and organized by Harvard professors Mark C. Elliott and David Wang in conjunction with Uganda Sze Pui Kwan, assistant professor at the Chinese Division of nanyang Technological University, examined the place of translation and translators in the making of modern China. It studied China through the lens of translation, and translation through the lens of China. It sought to contextualize an examination of knowledge production both in China and of China since the nineteenth century, and to trace the sources of the enduring tension between Sinocentric and Eurocentric worldviews.

The Cultural Revolution and Cinema

This symposium asked the question: what was cultural about the Cultural Revolution, or was the decade only a cultural desert? Upon the fiftieth anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, this symposium considered the cinematic production and reception, practices and legacies of that tumultuous decade. These issues were addressed through three panels—Revolution through Cinema, Revolutionary Aesthetics, and Cinematic Memories—plus a roundtable discussion.

For more on Cultural Revolution cinema, see here

Shen Congwen and Modern China International Symposium (2015-2016)

Shen Congwen (December 28, 1902 – May 10, 1988) was one of the greatest modern Chinese writers cum scholars on par with Lu Xun. Yet, for decades, Shen Congwen was overlooked by literary historians in the People’s Republic of China due to his stylistic iconoclasm and ideological nonconformism. The symposium situated Shen Congwen in the tumultuous historical context from the early Republican era to the Cultural Revolution, and rethought the contested process by which a modern Chinese intellectual writer came to terms with his time as well as his own life.

For more on Cultural Revolution cinema, see here

Upcoming Events

Dec 04

Jing Tsu – Key Strokes: What Made the Chinese Script Revolution

December 4 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Cambridge MA
United States
Jan 29

China Humanities Seminar – Paul Kroll

January 29, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Cambridge MA
United States

Publications

Latest News

Fall 2017 Courses on China

FRESHMEN SEMINAR FRSEMR 71D: Zen and the Art of Living: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary James Robson This seminar explores the rich history, philosophy and practices of Zen Buddhism as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan. We will first consider the emergence of...

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Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies