Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities

DATE: Friday-Saturday, April 15-16, 2016

LOCATIONS: Friday, April 15, 2016: 180 Doe Library
Saturday, April 16, 2016: 1995 University Avenue — Room 508

SPONSOR: Center for Chinese Studies



Initiated in 2010, the annual Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities brings together current graduate students from across the U.S. and around the world to present innovative research on any aspect of modern Chinese cultural production in the humanistic disciplines.

The conference provides a window into current research in Chinese studies, and serves as a platform for fostering interaction among budding scholars of geographically disparate institutions, facilitating their exchange of ideas and interests. We hope that this conference will encourage interdisciplinary scholarship within and between literary and cultural studies, cultural history, art history, film and media studies, musicology and sound studies, as well as the interpretative social sciences.

Each year the conference features a keynote address from a prominent Chinese studies scholar, and one by an alumnus of the conference, chosen by the student organizing committee.

Keynote speakers:
Carlos Rojas
Emily Wilcox



FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016: 2:30 – 5:30 pm.

Location: 180 Doe Library

2:30 – 4:00 Panel 1: State, Society, and the Chinese Body
Annabella Massey (Oxford), Spilling Ink, Selling Blood
Peiting Li (Berkeley), Medical Authority and Expertise in the Republican Shanghai Medical Information Market
Harlan Chambers (Columbia), “Comrade, you’re sick!” Revolutionary Hygiene in Yan’an era Cultural Production
Faculty Discussant: Andrew Jones (Berkeley)
Student Discussant: Gina Tam (Stanford)

4:15 – 5:30 Keynote speech
Carlos Rojas (Duke University), Language, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Literary Taxonomy: Ng Kim Chew and Mahua Literature

SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2016: 9:00 – 4:45 pm.

Location: 1995 University Avenue, fifth floor conference room

9:00 – 11:00 am Panel 2: Redefining the Medium of Propaganda
Eldon Pei (Stanford), The Techno-Warrior Rebooted, an Atomic Striptease
Guo Yanping (CUHK), Female Projectionists on the Move: Women’s Early Encounter with Modern Technologies in Rural Maoist China
Yu Wang (Toronto), Managing Accidents: Radio Broadcasting during the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Christopher Tang (Cornell), World Revolution with Chinese Characteristics: Depictions of National Liberation Abroad in the Chinese Arts, 1962-1966
Faculty Discussant: Weihong Bao (Berkeley)
Student Discussant: Eunyeong Kim (Stanford)

11:15 – 12:30 Alumni Keynote speech
Emily Wilcox (University of Michigan) The Postcolonial Blind Spot: Chinese Dance and Socialist Culture in the Era of Third World-ism, 1949 1965

12:30 – 1:30 lunch break

1:30 – 3:00 pm Panel 3: Collective Imagination and Memory in the Sinosphere
Kyle David (UC Irvine), From the Business of Revolution to the Business of Childhood: Shifts in Age Consciousness in the Wake of the Cultural Revolution, 1973–1979
Alberto Gerosa (CUHK), Psychic Dream-States and Cultural Imaginaries of Chinese Youth Movements
Yuqian Yan (Chicago), Reimagining the Past: Chinese costume films from 1925 to 1928
Faculty Discussant: Tom Mullaney (Stanford)
Student Discussant: Xiangjun Feng (Berkeley)

3:15 – 4:45 Panel 4: Transnational Reading, Titling, and Translation
Wei Peng (Stanford), When the Knight-errant Encounters the Modern Detective: Scientific Detection and Public Justice in Chinese Detective Fiction
Jia Feng (UCLA), Translating “Black Washington” in Republican China: A Social History of Three Chinese Translations of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery
Jianqing Chen (Berkeley), The Beloved Hated Texts: Over-titling and New Spectatorship in China
Faculty Discussant: Ban Wang (Stanford)
Student Discussant: Linda Zhang (Berkeley)

Click here to download a copy of the schedule.


Keynote Speeches

Carlos Rojas
Language, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Literary Taxonomy: Ng Kim Chew and Mahua Literature

Through an examination of short stories from Malaysian-Chinese author Ng Kim Chew’s 2001 collection From Island to Island, in this talk I will reflect the taxonomical functions of criteria such language, ethnicity, and nationality, particularly as they inform contemporary discussions of Chinese, Sinophone, and Mahua (Malaysian-Chinese) literature. Several of Ng’s stories are set on remote islands and feature individuals who have been forcibly separated from their original linguistic or social environment, and as such they offer a vehicle for reflecting on some of the consequences of literary that arbitrarily prioritize one criterion (such as language or nationality) over others. Drawing on Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblance, I propose a taxonomical system that does not rely on a single criterion but rather attends to the dynamic interaction between a variety of different criteria, while using the resulting model to interrogate the naturalized conception of the family on which Wittgenstein himself relies.

Carlos Rojas is Associate Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University, and is also the current president of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature. He is the author of Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation (Harvard University Press), The Great Wall: A Cultural History (Harvard University Press), and The Naked Gaze: Reflections on Chinese Modernity (Harvard University Asia Center). He is the co-editor of several volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Cinema Literatures (Oxford University Press), and has translated several book-length volumes of literary fiction by Yu Hua, Yan Lianke, and the Malaysian Chinese author Ng Kim Chew.

Emily Wilcox
The Postcolonial Blind Spot: Chinese Dance and Socialist Culture in the Era of Third World-ism, 1949‑1965

English-language scholarship on Chinese dance has perpetuated the myth that revolutionary ballets — and their famous rifle-toting ballerinas — represent dance creation in Maoist China. In fact, dance creation during the Maoist period was filled with adaptations and reconstructions of romantic historical dramas and folk dances, many of which had seemingly little to do with the themes of class struggle and communism. In this paper, I argue that Cold War historiography has left us with a "postcolonial blind spot" when it comes to understanding Maoist culture in China: we have been taught to view Chinese culture only through the lens of a narrowly understood "communist" culture, when in fact China (like most socialist countries) was deeply involved in anti-colonial Third World movements during this time. Retracing international exchange that connected Chinese artists to artists in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, I argue that the period from 1949 to 1965 marked a moment of global exchange across the socialist and postcolonial worlds, creating an alternative sphere of the modern often occluded by Cold War memory.

Emily E. Wilcox is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. Emily has received major grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright IIE, the Blakemore-Freeman Foundation, the UC Pacific Rim Program, the Shanghai Theatre Academy. She is President of the Association for Asian Performance and serves as a Board Member of the Society for Dance History Scholars. Her publications in English and Chinese appear in Asian Theatre Journal, Body and Society, TDR: The Drama Review, Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Wudao pinglun (The Dance Review), and other venues.


  • Annabella Massey, University of Oxford
  • Peiting Li, UC Berkeley
  • Harlan Chambers, Columbia University
  • Andrew Jones, UC Berkeley
  • Gina Tam, Stanford University
  • Carlos Rojas, Duke University
  • Eldon Pei, Stanford University
  • Guo Yanping, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Yu Wang, University of Toronto
  • Christopher Tang, Cornell University
  • Weihong Bao, UC Berkeley
  • Eunyeong Kim, Stanford University
  • Emily Wilcox, University of Michigan
  • Kyle David, UC Irvine
  • Alberto Gerosa, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Yuqian Yan, University of Chicago
  • Tom Mullaney, Stanford University
  • Xiangjun Feng, UC Berkeley
  • Wei Peng, Stanford University
  • Jia Feng, UCLA
  • Jianqing Chen, UC Berkeley
  • Ban Wang, Stanford University
  • Linda Zhang, UC Berkeley



The Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities will be held at the following locations in Berkeley. The Friday session will be held at 180 Doe Library on the central campus. The Saturday session will be held in the IEAS conference room at 1995 University Avenue.

Friday, April 15, 2016: Doe Library

See section C4 on this large campus map.

Doe Library

To reach Doe Library via the most direct route, enter campus from Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way. Walk north through Sproul Plaza and Sather Gate. Doe Library will be the second building on the right after passing through Sather Gate. Turn right and walk uphill (towards the Campanile clock tower) until you come to a ground level entrance on your left. Enter there and walk down the hallway to 180 Doe on the right side of the hallway.

Saturday, April 16, 2016: 1995 University Avenue

The Institute of East Asian Studies is located on the fifth floor of 1995 University Avenue — two blocks west of the University Avenue entrance to campus at the intersection of Milvia Street and University Avenue. The building is three blocks from BART and also has a public parking garage which is accessed off Bonita Street.

Directions to the Berkeley campus

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). If going to the campus, walk east up Center Street (towards the hills) one block to the edge of campus. If going to IEAS, walk two blocks north to University Avenue, then one block west (away from the hills) to 1995 University Avenue.

From Interstate 80

To reach the campus by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east (toward the hills) approximately two miles until you reach the campus.

From Highways 24/13

To reach the campus from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at College Avenue and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way.

Directions to the campus are also available at www.berkeley.edu/ visitors/ traveling.html


There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.