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Associate Professor
New West 302

Advisor, Chinese program


My present interest in research falls into two broad categories, namely, modern Tibet and the rise of China. I write primarily in English on Tibet to focus on its representation in Chinese literature, film, and popular culture (by Tibetans and Han alike). Because I try to engage cultural studies of Tibet with China’s nationality policies and ethnic formation, the issues of governance and “uneven development” figure centrally in my intellectual concern.  As a result I travel extensively, mostly in Tibetan regions of Amdo (of Qinghai Province) and the Kham (of Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces), to collect ethnographic data beyond what a text-centered humanistic discipline would require me to.

My work on the rise of China, on the other hand, takes a top-down approach. It has developed from my collaboration with scholars inside China, lately supported by a national-level research grant (hence I publish primarily in Chinese, in the PRC). From a humanist perspective, the rise of China is both a cultural(ist) discourse and an emerging reality. The former (the discourse) embeds some deep-seated fantasy and everlasting anxiety of the Oriental Other while the latter (the reality) has been inflated by an unlikely alliance of investment bankers, national security hawks, and leftist intellectuals looking for an alternative to U.S. hegemony—all for different reasons.  How the two topics of Tibet and the rising China, or Tibet in a rising China more appropriately, can mesh and be brought to bear upon one another remains an open-ended question I would like to explore further.


ASIA 52: First-Year Seminar: Food in Chinese Culture
ASIA 453: Global Shangri-La: Tibet in the Modern World
CHIN 244: Introduction to Modern Chinese Culture through Cinema
CHIN 342: The Rise of China: A Global and Multidisciplinary Approach
CHIN 414: Advanced Reading and Composition (taught in Chinese)
CHIN 525: Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation (taught in Chinese)
CHIN 631: Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from U.S. Homeland (taught in Chinese)