Each year, the Fairbank Center admits a cohort of late-stage Ph.D. students from across Harvard whose research involves Greater China. In addition to providing office space and funding to further their research goals, the Center also develops a training program designed assist our Graduate Student Associates with completing their dissertations and navigating the academic job market.

This year, the Fairbank Center is pleased to introduce our nine 2016-17 Graduate Student Associates. Stay tuned to our blog to read about their latest research projects.

Graham Chamness

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Graham Chamness is a Ph.D. candidate in Chinese Literature in his final year. He is working toward completing his final dissertation chapter. His research considers how literature shapes conceptions of belonging to a shared, common culture. Specifically he is examining the way the literati of fourth century China living in the south constructed an imagined, shared “cultural community” in the absence of their northern heartland.

Guangchen Chen

Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature

Guangchen Chen is a 6th year Ph.D. candidate in comparative literature finishing his dissertation entitled “Playing with Things: Collecting as a Materialistic Response to Modernity in China.” Conceptualizing collecting as a discursive thought process that disrupts and reconfigures literary and historic narratives, his research explores collecting’s impact on the history of thought of modern China.

Heng Du

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Heng Du is currently writing the last two chapters of her dissertation, tentatively entitled “Packaging Wisdom: In Search of Paratext in Early China.” In her research, she applies the concept of “paratext” to remap the evolution in early Chinese textual culture and writing practice between fourth and first century BCE, using an interdisciplinary perspective.

Rui Hua

Ph.D. Candidate, History and East Asian Languages

Rui Hua studies late imperial and modern Chinese history and, after numerous archival trips to Northeast China, is beginning to write his dissertation. HIs dissertation is tentatively entitled ”The Defiant Manchukuo: Sino-Russo-Japanese collaboration and the making of borderland political spaces in modern China, 1900-1957”.

Ian MacCormack

Ph.D. Candidate, Committee on the Study of Religion

Ian MacCormack is a doctoral candidate in the Study of Religion specializing in religion in Tibet. His dissertation, entitled “Buddhism and Government in Seventeenth-Century Tibet,” studies the relationship between religion and politics in the formative decades of the Tibetan government and argues for a reassessment of how that relationship is commonly understood for Tibet, while situating this case in the larger contexts of East and South Asia with which it is entwined both historically and intellectually.

David Porter

Ph.D. Candidate, History and East Asian Languages

David Porter is a Ph.D. candidate currently working toward the completion of his dissertation, “Ethnic and Status Identity in Qing China: the Hanjun Eight Banners.” His research examines the interplay between ethnic and status identity in late imperial China, focusing on the Hanjun, the Han component of the Qing Empire’s core military and social welfare system, the Eight Banners.

Nathan Vedal

Ph.D. Candidate, History and East Asian Languages

Nathan Vedal will be writing his dissertation, “Scholarly Culture in 16th and 17th Century China.” This project explores the formation of scholarly fields in late imperial China through a study of the fusion of cosmology, literary pursuits, and Neo-Confucianism with philological scholarship in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Xin Wen

Ph.D. Candidate, Inner Asian and Altaic Studies

Xin Wen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies and is working on a trans-regional history project for his dissertation, entitled “Fragmentary Mobility: The ‘Silk Road’ after the Age of Empire (850-1000)”. In it, he argues that, contrary to current consensus, activities on the Silk Road increased in the era of political fragmentation between trans-Eurasian regimes of Tang China and the Mongol empire.

Miya Xie

Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature

Miya Qiong Xie will be writing her dissertation, “The Literary Territerialization of Manchuria: Spatial Imagination and Modern Identities in Chinese and East Asian Literature.” This project considers literary writings in and about Manchuria (northeastern China) by mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and (ethnic) Korean writers from the 1920s to the 1960s. It explores how spatial imagination and imaginary territorialization of the very margin of the Chinese land, as manifested in their works, testifies, shapes and problematizes important notions in modern Chinese and East Asian literature.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies