News: Chinese Studies

Advanced Chinese Students Create Annual Newsletter

Students in Advanced Chinese: Reading & Writing course (fall 2018), divided into two teams, created two annual bilingual newsletters of Chinese Program in 2018. Students report the study abroad experience, professors’ research and teaching, students’ and alumni’s awards and scholarships, Chinese House and much more.

1.Gold Team’s Newsletter

Chinese Newsletter Final Draft

2. Green Team’s Newsletter

Green Team Newsletter Final

News: Chinese Studies Uncategorized

Prof. Lily Wong of American University on Transpacific Affects and Chineseness



The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled, “Sex Work, Media Networks, and Transpacific Histories of Affect”  on February 15, 2018. The speaker is Professor Lily Wong of American University. Professor Wong is a specialist on the politics of affect/emotion, gender and sexuality, comparative race, and media formations of transpacific Chinese, Sinophone, and Asian American communities. Her book, Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness, is published by Columbia University Press in 2018.


IMG_2625In the talk, Professor Wong discussed the figure of the Chinese sex worker—who provokes both disdain and desire—has become a trope for both Asian American sexuality and Asian modernity. Lingering in the cultural imagination, sex workers link sexual and cultural marginality, and their tales clarify the boundaries of citizenship, nationalism, and internationalism. Based on her new book, Transpacific Attachments, Professor Wong discussed the mobility and mobilization of the sex worker figure through transpacific media networks, stressing the intersectional politics of racial, sexual, and class structures. She focuses on the transpacific networks that reconfigure Chineseness, complicating a diasporic framework of cultural authenticity. While imaginations of a global community have long been mobilized through romantic, erotic, and gendered representations, Professor Wong emphasized the significant role sex work plays in the constant restructuring of social relations. “Chineseness,” the figure of the sex worker shows, is an affective product as much as an ethnic or cultural signifier.


The lecture was attended by around 60 audiences from faculty members and students. This event was organized by Chun-yu Lu and sponsored by WMCI and Reves Center.


News News: Chinese Studies

Professor Hashimoto of Maryland on Postwar Chinese and Japanese Cinema

The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled “Critical Lyricism in Postwar East Asian Cinema: Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town and Ozu Yasujiro’s Late Spring” on October 3, 2017. The speaker is Professor Satoru Hashimoto, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a specialist on comparative East Asian literature and culture.


In the talk, Professor Hashimoto discussed two films produced in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War in China and Japan, Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town (1948) and Ozu Yasujir’s Late Spring (1949), to explore possibilities of postwar East Asian cinema as a critical medium, especially in its historicization of wartime experience. While set against the backdrop of the tumultuous beginnings of the postwar era –– one in China during the Civil War and the other in Japan under the Occupation ––these films are characterized by their singular modes of lyricism which belies such eventful historical contexts. His lecture analyzed these work’s lyrical cinematic languages as an aesthetic topos which intertwines the exigencies of postwar national reconstruction with the long shadows of wartime trauma, thereby critically revisiting some of the ideological premises for conceptualizing the “postwar” in East Asia.

This talk was attended by more than 70 audiences from students and faculty at W&M. This event was organized by Chun-yu Lu and was generously sponsored by WMCI, Reves Center, and AMES.




A Summer in China


Sophia Wischnewski is a Chinese major at William and Mary. She joined the William and Mary Summer Camp, hosted by Beijing Normal University and sponsored by Confucius Institute, in July 2017. Here are Sophia’s reflections on learning Chinese language and her first-hand experience in China in the summer immersion program.


The Journey Begins

My experience traveling along the journey piqued my curiosity about the new world I was soon to encounter. From the time I was enrolled in a Chinese immersion program at 10 years old, I could only dream of visiting one of the world’s most powerful nations. Nine years later, my dream became reality. William and Mary’s brief immersion program gave me the opportunity to see China outside of my previous Chinese language and culture courses. However, I’ve come to find that reading about China and briefly living in China are completely different.

My first day in Beijing was riddled with culture shock. I was obligated to become independent, and that alone truly helped by forcing me to use my language skills. With out the comforts of Google Translate, I had to figure out the meaning of words on my own. I will always remember the word 厕所 (restroom) because of this experience.


IMG_4335The Real China

I visited four cities in China: Yanjiao, Baotou, Beijing, and Zhuhai. All were completely different. They all had different dialects and words. I thought it was a challenge to understand people in the southern and northern states in the U.S., but now I feel that China, as a nation, is not only a master in the art of Kung Fu, but also a master of languages for being able to understand so many dialects.

I had the opportunity to stay with my friend and her family for a week and a half before returning to Beijing. Since my friend Sally was the only one who spoke any English, I had to speak in Chinese with her family. Sally was strict with me in that she not only refused to give me a fork and learn to eat with chopsticks, but also encouraged me to use my language skills outside of her home as well. I felt that living with her and meeting other people were the greatest experiences I have had in my time learning Chinese.

I not only experienced the language, but the culture as well. During my stay I developed a cold and was brought to the doctor. Traditional Chinese medicine is still a common practice among modern medical solutions. Instead of prescribing me pills or syrup for my symptoms, the doctor looked directly into my eyes and advised me to drink a hot cup of water before going to bed and getting up in the morning. He said I needed more rest and time to get accustomed to the environment. All he gave me was root juice as a vitamin. I was told later by my friend’s mother that Chinese people believe that harmony between one’s diet and life style habits is the essence of good health. Sure enough, after a delicious home-cooked dinner, hot water, and rest, I was in even better health then I was in the U.S.



Chinese vs. American Cultures

Aside from learning about Chinese culture, I thought a lot about modern American culture in the process of learning Chinese. I reflected on how much I, just one person, was representing my own country while being a part of China’s society. I learned China believes in symbolism, so everything created acquires a unique purpose. I also noted that the U.S also associates itself as a symbol of freedom. I found this ideal American concept to be quite fascinating during the program. Not only did the American college and high school students extensively pursue their desires during the time in Beijing, but they also expressed the same American mentality of freedom in their accomplishments.

When I was in Beijing, I noticed differences between Chinese and American college students. A sense of destructiveness and a wild spirit was the impression given off by Americans, especially for the younger generation. During student events, such as the talent show, both American and Chinese students were encouraged to share a talent which embraced a bit of their cultural background. The two groups did very different performances. The acts performed by American students generally included songs about partying, individuality, and carefree actions. This music alone could potentially create misunderstandings of Americans, but it also helps spread American culture and American representation on a global scale. The Chinese music performed was a mixture of Chinese folk and modern day songs. The beats were slow, and the notes were long and drawn out. It created a tranquil ambience along with a happy atmosphere from common themes of love, inspiration, fortune, and tranquility in the lyrics.


The Journey Continues…

I learned so much in so little time. I feel like I cannot fully to express my feelings about my experience in China. The food, the places, and the friendships I’ve made are too valuable to be measured and conveyed into a single paper, and yet, that alone reveals how much this trip has impacted my thoughts and my future.

News News: Chinese Studies

Undergraduate Conference on Modern Chinese Literature

undergradconfUndergraduate students in the Chinese program presented their research projects in “Rewriting Modern Chinese Literature: An Undergraduate Conference” on April 18, 20 & 25, 2017. During the conference, students discussed how modern and contemporary Chinese literature is written and rewritten vis-à-vis the larger sociopolitical, cultural, and theoretical context. Topics presented in the conference included trauma and narrative, identity crisis and history’s intervention, selfhood in nation-building, fatalistic and futuristic writings, the insane and the invisible, écriture féminine and Chinese feminism, women and technology, as well as the tropes from new woman to leftover woman. They discussed tanci play, poetry, short stories, science fiction and popular song lyrics from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan since the late 19th century to the 21st century. Writers examined in the research presentations included Qiu Jin, Liang Qichao, Lu Xun, Yu Dafu, Lao She, Mao Dun, Wen Yidou, Ding Ling, Xiao Hong, Eileen Chang, Mo Yan, Can Xue, Liu Heng, Wong Bik-wan, Xi Xi, Dung Kai-chung, Wu Zuoliu, Pai Hsien-Yung, Chu T’ien-wen, Li Ang, Hsia Yu/Li Gedi, Hao Jingfang, etc.

Among the research presentations, Honor Leahy, a Chinese Studies senior, discussed the effects of technology and modernization in the female poet Hsia Yu and in her popular song writer persona Li Gedi’s creations. Honor argued that the author both condemns and submits to modernization. However, Honor also explored whether technology could destroy creativity while at the same time generating a new approach to artistic creation, and whether the author’s gender affects her attitudes towards modernization and technology. When discussing the Chinese avant-garde writer Can Xue’s surrealistic short story “Hut on the Mountain,” Chinese senior Mauricio Armaza drew on Freudian psychoanalysis and suggested that we could read the uncanny relationship between the I-narrator and the mother as an Electra complex. The rich symbolism in the fictional narrative could be read as the manifest content of Freudian dream while the chaotic history of Maoist China could be interpreted as the latent content. Chinese Studies junior Zach Rubin discussed the transition from tradition to modernity in the turn of twentieth century when the modern nation-state Republic of China replaced the Manchu Qing dynasty in Lao She’s “An Old and Established Name.” Zach suggested that Lao She, a Manchu writer who supported modernization, casts a nostalgic gaze on the good old days but is fully aware of the irresistible and inevitable trend of modernization. Ellie Currie, a Chinese Studies sophomore, suggested that the trope of “leftover woman,” despite being a contemporary coinage, could become the inspiration for new woman; the female protagonists’ isolation is indeed a form of empowerment in Eileen Chang’s “Sealed Off” in 1940s Shanghai and Xi Xi’s “A Woman Like Me” in 1990s Hong Kong.

By engaging with critical theories such as feminist theory, gender studies, postcolonial studies, Holocaust studies and psychoanalysis, the conference indicates an interdisciplinary understanding of modern and contemporary Chinese literature across national borders.

The undergraduate conference was organized by Chun-yu Lu, Visiting Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies.


News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2017 More

Prof. Calvin Hui Gave Keynote at Stanford U

Mannning Cat ClearProfessor Calvin Hui, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies, gave a keynote speech at the Modern Chinese Humanities Conference at Stanford University on April 15, 2017. This conference is jointly organized by the faculty and the graduate students at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. In his keynote address entitled “Copycat China,” Professor Hui introduced his first and second book projects on Chinese consumer cultures and presented the current cutting-edge research being done on Chinese copycat cultures. More importantly, he discussed his work on architectural mimicry in contemporary China and explained how his work contributes to, and intervenes in, existing debates in Chinese cultural studies, and the theories of post-colonialism, globalization, and trans-nationalism. His keynote address was very well-received.

In addition, Professor Hui gave an invited talk entitled “Fake Globalization, Counterfeit China” at the University of Richmond in Virginia in early April 2017. He delivered another invited talk “Copycat Architecture in China” at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China in December 2016. During the past half year, he has also given presentations at the Georgia State University in Atlanta (March 2017), the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Chicago (March 2017), and the HKBU Young Scholars Conference on China Studies in Hong Kong, China (December 2016). His next presentation will be in the Cultural Studies Association conference in Washington D.C. in May 2017. In this conference, he is also the organizer of the panel entitled “Interface: The Cultural Politics of U.S.-China trans-nationalism,” which tries to bring together current researches in Chinese literary and cultural studies, Chinese diaspora studies and ethnic studies, and (new) media studies into conversations.
Faculty Awards News News: Chinese Studies

Prof. Calvin Hui won two more external fellowships!

Calvin HuiPlease join us in congratulating Professor Calvin Hui, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies, for winning the prestigious Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Scholarly Exchange Junior Scholar Grant in 2016. He will use his fellowship year to work on his book project entitled “Fashion, Media, and Chinese Consumer Culture.”

In addition, Professor Hui was awarded the 2016-17 China Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship provided by University of Alberta, Canada. He declined the post-doctoral fellowship in order to keep working with the Chinese majors at W&M.

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Chinese Studies

New Faculty in Chinese Program Discusses Her Teaching and Research


This year we welcome Lu Lu to join Chinese Program. Lu Lu is Visiting Instructor of Chinese Studies. She is a PhD candidate of Chinese Linguistics at the University of Wiscosin-Madison and teaches Chinese language at William and Mary.

How do you feel teaching in the Chinese Program at William and Mary?
Lu: Teaching in W&M is one of the most wonderful experience in my life. I am impressed by how hard the students work to learn a new language. Most of the students are diligent and very responsible for their life. Also, I enjoy working with my colleagues in MLLL and Chinese program. They are friendly, smart, and supportive. I love to discuss teaching and research ideas with my colleagues, which inspire me a lot.

What are you teaching assignments this year?
Lu: I am teaching elementary Chinese and Upper-intermediate Chinese this year.

What is your current project?
Lu: My dissertation is about the interface between music and language in Chinese. The focus is the tone-tune relationship in Chinese local operas, such as Huju and Yueju, and how it affects listener’s perceptions. As for teaching, I am currently working on a research of the effectiveness of peer evaluation and error log on class oral project.

What is your future project?
Lu: I am interested in the code-switching phenomenon among language learners, especially comparing the code-switching patterns between beginning and advanced language learners. Prosodic phonology and how to apply it into teaching Chinese as a foreign language is another interest.

Fall 2016 More News News: Chinese Studies

China’s Monkey King

FullSizeRender-1The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled “Journeys to the West:  The Many Adventures of China’s Monkey King” on November 3, 2016. The speaker is Professor Robert E. Hegel, Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Chinese at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a world-renowned specialist in the narrative and theatrical traditions of late imperial China.

In the talk, Professor Hegel discussed Journey to the West, one of China’s greatest novels from the sixteenth-century.  Its central figure is the Monkey King who is both prankster and serious Buddhist pilgrim, monstrous warrior and interpreter of difficult philosophy.  He also plays a major role in the numerous literary sequels, films, television dramas, video games, and other spin-offs of the novel–each with a slightly different take on his journey to bring South Asian scriptures back to China. The major theme of the talk is the complexity of culture how many elements can be inextricably intertwined–specifically fiction, theater, and religious belief and practice in the case of the Monkey King.

This talk was attended by more than 100 audiences from students and faculty at W&M as well as Williamsburg community members. This event was organized by Chun-yu Lu and was generously sponsored by WMCI, Reves Center, and Arts & Sciences.