Fourth Biannual West Coast Workshop on Premodern Chinese Literature and Culture

DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2016

PLACE: IEAS Conference Room, 1995 University Avenue, 5th Floor, UC Berkeley

SPONSOR: Center for Chinese Studies

FACULTY HOST: Paula Varsano



This is the fourth biannual West Coast Workshop on Premodern Chinese Literature and Culture, established to provide scholars in the field, especially those working in the midwest and west coast of the country, an opportunity to present and discuss their current work in progress, in an informal setting.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

8:30 — Doors open, coffee, fruit and pastries available

9:00–9:10 — Welcoming Remarks (Paula Varsano)

SESSION 1: 9:15–10:25
Men’s Appearance and Political Careers in Han China
Presenter: Yiqun Zhou, Stanford University (Discussant: Michael Nylan, UC Berkeley)

SESSION 2: 10:30–11:40
Medical Narratives in Early Medieval Chinese Literature
Presenter: Antje Richter, University of Colorado, Boulder ((Discussant: Paula Varsano, UC Berkeley)

Lunch (on-site): 11:45–12:45

SESSION 3: 12:50–2:00
Can Lost Maps Speak? — Toward a Cultural History of Map-reading in late Medieval China
Presenter: Linda Rui Feng, University of Toronto (Discussant: Nicolas Tackett, UC Berkeley)

SESSION 4: 2:10–3:20
Domestic Investments: Shiwu guan and Money in Motion
Presenter: Ariel Fox, University of Chicago (Discussant: Sophie Volpp, UC Berkeley)

Break: 3:20–3:40

SESSION 5: 3:40–4:50
Guided reading of Tang Dynasty anecdotes on poetic performance and reception
Presenter: Graham Sanders, University of Toronto

Download the workshop agenda here.



Linda Rui Feng (Toronto)
Linda Rui Feng is the associate professor of premoder Chinese cultural studies, at University of Toronto. She is interested in integrating literary scholarship and a cultural history of space, and I work with materials ranging from collections of anecdotes, narrative tales to maps and geographical treatises. Her recent monograph, City of Marvel and Transformation: Chang’an and Narratives of Experience in Tang Dynasty China, treats the premodern city as a way to reconnect senses of the self and a sense of place, and explores how the cultural imagination and its literary imprint became transformed by shared urban sojourns and encounters. Currently, she is working on a project concerned with imagined geographies and the circulation of spatial knowledge in late medieval China. This work continues to explore an awareness of space, whether such a space is found within city walls, or on the roads connecting the empire’s center and peripheries. She hopes to ask questions about how space was made tangible through both text and illustration.

Ariel Fox (Chicago)
Ariel Fox is an assistant professor of Chinese literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. She received her BA from Columbia University and her PhD from Harvard University. During the 2014-2015 academic year, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica. She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Commercial Acts: Money, Merchants, and Markets in Late Imperial Chinese Drama. In June 2016, her article “Precious Bodies: Money Transformation Tales from Medieval to Late Imperial China” will appear in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies.

Antje Richter (Boulder)
Antje Richter studies the culture of early and medieval China, with research interests in literature, art history, religion, and medicine. She received her Ph.D. in 1998 from Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, and from 1998–2007 taught at universities in Germany before joining the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007, where she is an Associate Professor now. Antje is the author of a monograph on notions of sleep in early Chinese literature (2001, in German) and of the book Letter Writing and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China (2013). She edited the conference volume A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture (2015), and is co-editor of three earlier conference volumes (in German). Antje has published articles in Monumenta Serica, Early Medieval China, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Asia Major, and T’oung Pao. She is currently working on two book projects: Medical Narratives in Early Medieval China and Studies in Chinese Literary Imagination. Antje is the Editor for East Asia at the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Graham Sanders (Toronto)
Graham Sanders (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Associate Professor of Classical Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. His books include Words Well Put: Visions of Poetic Competence in the Chinese Tradition (2006), and a translation of Shen Fu’s (b. 1763) Six Records of a Life Adrift (2011). He is currently translating two collections of Tang poetry anecdotes for De Gruyter’s Library of Chinese Humanities.

Yiqun Zhou (Stanford)
Yiqun Zhou is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research interests include Chinese and comparative women's history, early Chinese literature and history, late imperial Chinese fiction, and China Greece comparative studies. She is the author of Festivals, Feasts, and Gender Relations in Ancient China and Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2010).


Bistro Liaison

RSVP required (please contact Angel Ryono, ccs-vs@berkeley.edu)

Directions, on foot, from 1995 University Avenue — https://goo.gl/maps/VU5wkFA5A9q

View the dinner menu here.



The fourth biannual West Coast Workshop on Premodern Chinese Literature and Culture will be held in the IEAS conference room on the Berkeley campus. 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.

See 1995 University Avenue on this Berkeley map.


Directions to the Berkeley campus

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Downtown 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.