Research interests: Chinese literary, film and media studies; the mediation of memories in modern China, including contemporary cultural memories of the 1950s to the 1970s through textual, audiovisual, and material artifacts; transnational cinematic history of Manchuria
As a scholar of literary, film, and cultural studies, Jie Li’s research interests center on the mediation of memories in modern China. Her first book, Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (Columbia, 2014), excavates a century of memories embedded in two alleyway neighborhoods destined for demolition. Her current book project, Utopian Ruins: A Memory Museum of the Mao Era, explores contemporary cultural memories of the 1950s to the 1970s through textual, audiovisual, and material artifacts, including police files, photographs, documentary films, and museums. Li has co-edited a volume entitled Red Legacies: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Harvard Asia Center, 2016). Two ongoing research projects deal with the transnational cinematic history of Manchuria and mobile movie projection units from the 1930s to the 1990s. Li’s recent publications in journals and edited volumes include: “Discolored Vestiges of History: Black-and-White in the Age of Color Cinema” (Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 2012), “A National Cinema for a Puppet State: The Manchurian Motion Picture Association (Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, 2013), “Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940” (positions: east asia cultures critique, 2014), and “From Landlord Manor to Red Memorabilia: Reincarnations of a Chinese Museum Town” (Modern China, forthcoming).
Li earned an A.B. in East Asian Studies at Harvard, and studied English literature at the University of Cambridge and German literature at the University of Heidelberg before returning to Harvard for a Ph.D., earned in 2010 in modern Chinese literature and film studies. In 2012-2013 she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Li teaches courses on East Asian Cinema and on Chinese media cultures.
Chinese Name: 李潔
Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (Columbia University Press, 2014), named one of the ten Best City Books of 2014 by The Guardian and one of the recommended books for modern Chinese history on the historian’s blog Backlist.
Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution, co-edited with Enhua Zhang (Harvard Asia Center, 2016)
Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era (under contract with Duke University Press)
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters
“1965, July 14: Lin Zhao writes to The People's Daily in blood,” in David Der-wei Wang, ed., A New Literary History of Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2017)
“From Landlord Manor to Red Memorabilia: Reincarnations of a Chinese Museum Town,” coauthored with Denise Y. Ho, Modern China, Vol. 42 (1) (2016), pp. 3-37.
“Dossier Literature” in Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures, ed. Carlos Rojas and Andrea Bachner (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 275-295. (A revised translation in Chinese is published in Modern Chinese Literature [Zhongguo Xiandai Wenxue], No. 29, June, 2016 pp. 25-46.)
“Introduction: Discerning Red Legacies in China” in Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution, ed. Jie Li and Enhua Zhang (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016), pp. 1-23.
“Museums and Memorials of the Mao Era: A Survey with Curatorial Proposals” in Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution, ed. Jie Li and Enhua Zhang (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016), pp. 319-354.
“Writing from Revolution’s Debris: Shen Congwen’s Family Letters in the Mao Era” in A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture, ed. Antje Richter (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 582-617.
“Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940,” positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol. 22, 2014, pp. 329-369.
“A National Cinema for a Puppet State: the Manchurian Motion Picture Association” in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, ed. Eileen Cheng-yin Chow & Carlos Rojas (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 79-97.
“Discoloured Vestiges of History: Black-and-White in the Age of Color Cinema,” Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2012, pp. 247-262.
“Filming Power and the Powerless: Zhao Liang’s Petition and Crime and Punishment,” special issue on contemporary Chinese cinema for China Perspectives, March, 2010, pp. 35-45. (a revised version of the article has been published in DV-Made China: Digital Objects, Everyday Subjects, ed. Zhen Zhang & Angela Zito (Hawaii University Press, 2015), pp. 76-96.
“Home and Nation amidst the Rubble: Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town and Jia Zhangke’s Still Life,” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Fall 2009, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 86-125.
“Virtual Museums of Forbidden Memories: Hu Jie’s Documentary Films of the Cultural Revolution.” Public Culture, Fall 2009, Vol. 21, No. 3., pp. 538-549.
“Salvaging the Rubble of Utopia: Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks,” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, No. 50, 2008.
“From Autoethnography to Autobiography: Representations of the Past in Contemporary Chinese Cinema,” Senses of Cinema, No. 45, October-December 2007.
Non-refereed Essays / Conference Reports / Review Articles
“Has Chinese Propaganda Won Hearts and Minds?” in Michael Szonyi, ed., The China Questions (Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2017)
“My Grandparents’ Shanghai Home: A Guided Tour,” Harvard Design Magazine, No. 41, F/W 2015.
Review of Amy Jane Barnes’ Museum Representations of Maoist China: From Cultural Revolution to Commie Kitsch for The China Quarterly, 2015, Issue 222, pp. 583-585.
“Re-envisioning the Chinese Cityscape: Tabula Rasa and Palimpsest,” review essay on Chang-tai Hung, Mao’s New World and Yomi Braester, Painting the City Red, in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, E-Journal No. 5 (December 2012), pp. 170-179.
Review of Sheldon H. Lu and Jianyan Mi (eds.), Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge. China Perspectives, 2012/3, pp. 89-90.
“Red Legacies in China: A Conference Report” (co-authored with Enhua Zhang) in China Heritage Quarterly, No. 22, June 2010.
“The Maoist Mise-en-Scene: Antonioni’s Chung Kuo and Ivens/Loridan’s How Yukong Moved the Mountains,” The Ivens Magazine (European Foundation Joris Ivens, Nr. 14-15, July 2009).
Review of Rey Chow’s Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility. Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 61, No. 3, Fall 2009, pp. 59-61.
Creative Nonfiction and Fiction
Essay “Gede jiekou de lao fangzi” (“The Old House on Goethestrasse”, in Chinese), Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo], Feb 21, 2014.
Essays “The Taste of Mangoes” and “Uncles” in Cerise Press: A Journal of Literature, Arts & Culture, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer, 2009. Selected for DZANC Best of the Web 2010 anthology (Westland, MI: Dzanc Books, 2010).
Short story “Gezi” (“Pigeons,” in Chinese), Special Issue on Sinophone Literature, Shanghai Literature [Shanghai Wenxue], September, 2006.
Short story “Qianlou apo he houlou apo” (“Front-floor Grandma and Back-floor Grandma,” in Chinese), Sunday Literary Supplement of World Journal [Shijie ribao] & Lianhe Bao, May 2006.
Dai Jinhua, “After the Post-Cold-War” and “The Piano in a Factory: Class, in the Name of the Father” in a forthcoming volume of Dai’s essays, edited by Lisa Rofel and to be published by Duke University Press.
Chi Hui, “Rain Forest,” (from Chinese), Science Fiction Special Issue, Renditions, Oct, 2012.
The Al-Hadji and His Wives (50 min., 2006). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.