Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Graduates 2018-2019 News: Chinese Studies

Senior Profile: Colleen Mulrooney (Chinese Studies, 2019)



Colleen Mulrooney (’19), Major in Chinese Language & Culture

I came to the College of William & Mary with one simple hope—well, one among a few others, but the most important one was gaining a deeper understanding of China. I had been learning Chinese since age 13 and felt really ready to just declare a Chinese major as soon as I could. William & Mary was actually my first choice school becausethe Chinese department looked so strong.

By the time I actually got around to declaring that long-awaited Chinese major my sophomore year, my major advisor, Dr. Calvin Hui, joked that I had already taken so many courses in the Chinese department that I might as well declare two Chinese majors. It was completely accurate. The Chinese Department courses were great and engaging because there are so many parts of China to be seen. In my time here, I took both Chinese freshman seminars, Modern Chinese Literature, Chinese Pop Culture, Calligraphy, Chinese Cinema, the Senior Capstone Seminar, and every Chinese language class from Chinese 301 through 404. Then in these classes, the topics I got to research and write about ranged from Japanese colonialism in Taiwan, to Chinese memes, to my senior research paper about counterfeit products featuring the British cartoon Peppa Pig, and how these products made a mark on modern Chinese society. Sometimes, it did not even feel like homework.

Better yet was how practical it all was. When I studied in Taiwan, there were actually several instances where material I had learned about in class was brought up. A teacher on my study abroad program actually brought up a Lu Xun short story I had read in Modern Chinese Literature. Other friends there would talk about some of the films and TV shows I watched for the freshman seminar and Chinese Cinema classes. So much of what I learned in class has been really helpful in that very practical study abroad setting, and it will absolutely continue to help me in years to come.

Most important, however, was the supportiveness of the Chinese program. The professors were always willing and ready to help my classmates and I to achieve whatever we were aiming for. From winning the Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest as a Freshman, to getting a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Taiwan, and finally now, receiving a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Taiwan for this coming academic year, the professors at the Chinese Department have supported me every step of the way. Whenever I needed extra practice before a speech contest, or a recommendation, or even just advice, they were always there to help. This, in turn, inspired me to work as hard as I could.

I have nothing but gratitude for my time studying with the William & Mary Chinese Department, and I am not even sure what to say leaving it. It is a really bittersweet feeling. I am looking forward to the coming year, but I will miss dearly those who helped me get to it.



Faculty Profiles News: Chinese Studies Spring 2019

Professor Yanfang Tang will retire by the end of Spring 2019.

Professor Yanfang Tang will retire by the end of Spring 2019.  We will miss her!

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Graduates 2018-2019 News: Chinese Studies

Senior Profile: Alec Sharkey (Chinese Studies, 2019)



My time in the Chinese department here at William & Mary has been one of unforgettable moments and wonderful experiences. Before coming to William and Mary I had spent time in both middle and high school studying Chinese language and culture, but my studies here at William and Mary truly elevated my previous studies to the next level. The language courses helped to refine my vocabulary and give me the tools to speak with Chinese citizens. The tough, but fair, rehearsing of vocabulary and speeches helped me onto the right path for the tonal subtly needed to navigate the Chinese language. My experience here, however, was not solely focused on the study of the Chinese language but also an exploration of Chinese culture. While here I was able to explore modern Chinese cinema and literature throughout the 19th to 21st century, ancient Chinese poetry, and the rise and historical significance of Pan-Asianism in the continuing narrative of East Asia. Additionally, I was fortunate to study shanzhai (counterfeit) culture in my Senior capstone course and explore what it means to be shanzhai or at the very least labeled shanzhai. It would be remiss to not also touch on my incredible experience in China itself on William & Mary’s Summer Study abroad, where I was able to spend two months at Tsinghua University studying Chinese language and conducting research on guan’xi.

The department has helped me mature as a student as well. Whether it be learning how to reach out to citizens to probe for answers while studying at Tsinghua or digging through databases to find the evidence necessary to support that Communist Theme Parks in China stand as fascinating integrations of capitalism and Communism, the department has encouraged me to take my studies into my own hands and let my curiosity drive me to even greater heights. All the while providing support at every step along the way. As I begin the next steps in my career and head to China to teach English in Shenzhen, I am proud to have had the opportunity to study with William & Mary’s Chinese Department.

Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Graduates 2018-2019 News: Chinese Studies

14 Chinese Majors Will Graduate in Spring 2019!

They are:

  1. Carleton J. Anderson (CJ)
  2. Shani Cave
  3. Nicole C. Cook (Nicole)
  4. Eleanor K. Currie (Ellie)
  5. GyuHui Hwang (GyuHui)
  6. Giselle Jernigan (Giselle)
  7. Benny Li (Benny)
  8. Natasha L. Mortensen (Natasha)
  9. Colleen M. Mulrooney (Colleen)
  10. Emily J. Pearson-Beck (Emily)
  11. Robert A. Rust (Robert)
  12. Alec Sharkey (Alec)
  13. Robert W. Sherman (Rob)
  14. Griffin T. Vasile (Griffin)
Faculty Awards Faculty Profiles News: Chinese Studies Spring 2019

Professor Calvin Hui has received a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship

Calvin Hu Profile Image

Another good news! Professor Calvin Hui has received a highly prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship to finish his book project entitled _Useless: Fashion, Media, and Consumer Culture in Contemporary China_. This book draws on film and fashion to track the emergence of consumer culture in China’s encounter with global capitalism. The first part stages an analysis of a commodity chain of fashion involving production, consumption, and disposal. The second part focuses on the representations of fashion and consumption in Chinese cinema in the 1960s (the socialist period), the 1980s (the economic reforms period), and the 2000s (the globalization period). Such portrayals help decipher the symptoms of otherwise imperceptible contradictions of contemporary China. The third part discusses labor and waste as the repressed undersides of consumption. This research demonstrates the relevance of cultural studies, western Marxism, and post-structuralist theory in investigating Chinese visual cultures.

See ACLS website:

Faculty Awards Faculty Profiles News: Chinese Studies Spring 2019

Professor Calvin Hui has received tenure and been promoted to Associate Professor of Chinese Studies

Calvin Hu Profile Image


Good news! Professor Calvin Hui has received tenure! He will be Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at William and Mary beginning in fall 2019!

See his faculty profile:


Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies News: Chinese Studies Spring 2019

Professor Jennifer Rhee’s Book Talk _The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor

Professor Jennifer Rhee from Virginia Comonwealth University gave a book talk entitled The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (Minnesota University Press, 2018). This talk was held on 17 April 2019, Wednesday, at 5:00-6:30 p.m. in Washington Hall Room 315. 
This talk draws on her book, The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). She will trace connections between robotics technologies and cultural forms at the sites of dehumanization and devalued labor. She will argue that the figure of the robot in contemporary culture and technology is largely shaped by the conceptions of the human, and more importantly of the dehumanized. Looking specifically at the labor of drone operators and what she calls “drone art,” or contemporary artistic responses to drone warfare, she will characterize drone warfare as the labor of racial dehumanization. Drawing on the racialized dimensions of early cybernetics military research, she will look at drone art that responds to drone victims’ dehumanization by examining the limits of identification as a means to ethical response. Instead, drone art, as she will discuss, points to an understanding of the human through unrecognizability, difference, and unfamiliarity, rather than recognition, familiarity, and knowability.
Jennifer Rhee is an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She works in media studies, feminist science studies, and literature and science. Her book, The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor was published in 2018 with University of Minnesota Press. She is currently working on her next book on counting technologies. In this project, she traces counting technologies’ entanglement with race, from statistics’ role in eugenics in the 19th century to the contemporary digital counting practices of big data, predictive policing software, and biometric surveillance. She is a recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship in 2019.
This talk was sponsored by the Chinese program, and Arts and Sciences. It was organized by Professor Calvin Hui in Chinese Studies. 
Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies News: Chinese Studies Spring 2019

Professor Yiman Wang’s talk on Chinese-American Actress Anna May Wong

The Chinese program was excited to present Professor Yiman Wang’s talk concerning the first Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong. This talk was held on 27 March 2019, Wednesday, at 5:00-6:20 p.m. in Washington Hall 315.
Title: Regarding Anna May Wong: An “Oriental Flapper’s” Transnational Stardom

Anna May Wong (1905-1961), the most well-known pioneering Chinese-American screen-stage-television performer, forged a four-decade long career from 1919 to 1960. My presentation will focus on her transnational shuttling between the US and the interwar Europe, Australia as well as China. I argue that her transnational movements made her a glamorous and exotic cosmopolitan who significantly also doubled as a migrant performer-worker who ventured into various media formats while navigating precarious work conditions (due to race-gender-class and other socio-political inequities) for better work opportunities. I analyze the ways in which she “greeted” her international public through acting, giving interviews, letter-writing, photo-gifting, anti-Fascist activism and other activities. From her interstitial position that defied any essentialist categorization, working at time prior to the formation of the hyphenated Asian-American identity politics, she developed double-entendre signature performances that subverted gender-race stereotypes and enabled her to foster a political and critical consciousness in her international audiences both in her times and in the 21st-c. Studying Wong as an exemplary case, my presentation addresses the broader question of how to (re)write feminist media histories.
Speaker: Professor Yiman Wang is an Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Remaking Chinese Cinema: Through the Prism of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hollywood (2013). For her academic profile, please see:
This talk was sponsored by the 100 Years of Women at W&M, Confucius Institute, and Film and Media Studies. It was organized by Professor Calvin Hui in Chinese Studies.
Fall 2018 News: Chinese Studies

Talk: East Asian Cinema’s Occidental Eye: Fair Ophelia and Sweet Hamlet

Speaker: Alexa Alice Joubin (Professor of English, George Washington University)
 Talk: East Asian Cinema’s Occidental Eye: Fair Ophelia and Sweet Hamlet
Date/Time: 22 October 2018 (Monday), 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Venue: Washington 317
Abstract: East Asian cinema has given us fresh interpretations and visually stunning renditions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Korean and Chinese Ophelias are no longer silent; they gain agency by being seen and heard through various strategies. Prince Hamlet is given Confucian virtues. This illustrated presentation explores Chinese cinematic adaptations of one of the most canonical and widely translated Western dramatic works.There has always been a perceived affinity between Ophelia and East Asian women. In May 1930, British writer Evelyn Waugh entertained the prospect of Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong playing Ophelia: “I should like to see Miss Wong playing Shakespeare. Why not a Chinese Ophelia? It seems to me that Miss Wong has exactly those attributes which one most requires of Shakespearean heroines.” While East Asian Ophelias may suffer from what S. I. Hayakawa calls “the Ophelia syndrome” (inability to formulate and express one’s own thoughts), they adopt various rhetorical strategies—balancing between eloquence and silence—to let themselves be seen and heard. Chinese Ophelias seem to possess more moral agency.
Speaker’s Bio: Alexa Alice Joubin is Professor of English, East Asian Languages and Literatures, Theater, and International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington D.C. where she co-founded the Digital Humanities Institute. At MIT, she is co-founder and co-director of the open access Global Shakesperes digital performance archive. ( At Middlebury College, she holds the John M. Kirk, Jr. Chair in Medieval and Renaissance Literature in the Bread Loaf School of English. Her latest books include Race (in the Routledge New Critical Idiom series; co-authored with Martin Orkin); Local and Global Myths in Shakespeare Performance (co-edited); and Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (co-edited). Alexa will be a visiting professor at Yonsei University in South Korea later this year.
* This event is sponsored by AMES and the Reves Center.
Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Fall 2018 News: Chinese Studies

Post-socialism in Hong Kong: Zone Urbanism, Urban Horror, and Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema

Talk: Post-socialism in Hong Kong: Zone Urbanism, Urban Horror, and Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema

Speaker: Professor Erin Huang (Princeton University)
Date/Time: 28 November 2018 (Wednesday), at 5:00-6:20 p.m.

Venue: Washington Hall 219

The film, directed by the Hong Kong director Fruit Chan (陈果), is called The Midnight After (那夜凌晨,我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅VAN) (2014).

Trailer (2 minutes):



This talk examines the condition of Chinese “(post-)socialism” in Hong Kong—a city without “socialist” legacies—as a way of addressing the emergent history of radical deterritorialization and reterritorialization in the era of the “post.” Proposing “zone urbanism” as a critical lens—a phenomenon of zoning that renders space into a programmable and reproducible spatial software—the presentation traces Hong Kong’s infrastructural revolution since the early 1980s that intimately connects the city to special economic zones in mainland China. From the controversial construction of New Hong Kong Airport to expressways, tunnels, and bridges designed to enhance the speed of movement in South China’s economic circles, “(post-)socialist” Hong Kong is arguably transformed into Southeast Asia’s transport super city and logistics hub. While recent scholarships on Hong Kong highlight the Umbrella Revolution in 2014 as the city’s protest against its loss of political sovereignty, this presentation probes a longer history of zone urbanism and traces the emergent aesthetics of infrastructural phenomenology in post-handover Hong Kong cinema. Problematizing the relationship between “Hong Kong” as a planned abstract space of transit and as a corporeal space under tremendous pressure to accommodate its human population, post-1997 Hong Kong cinema suggests a number of ways for re-experiencing, re-sensing, and touching the city’s infrastructural space while producing a plethora of experiences on the widening spectrum of movement and displacement. While focusing on the zoning phenomenon in South China, the talk theorizes (post-)socialism as a universalizing condition with regional differences that is creating new centers and peripheries.



Erin Y. Huang is Assistant Professor in East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and a comparatist working on modern China and Sinophone studies. Her research interests broadly include cinema & media studies, Marxist urban theory, gender & sexuality studies, comparative socialisms and post-socialisms, and phenomenology. She is completing her first book, Urban Horror: Global Post-socialism, Chinese Cinemas, and the Limits of Visibility, where she theorizes urban horror as Marxist phenomenology, and an emergent horizon of affects that rehearses the potentiality of future urban revolutions after the supposed end of revolutionary times.

Princeton University professor lectures on Hong Kong post-socialism, cinema

Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Fall 2018 News: Chinese Studies

Adventures in Beijing (by Brian Donahue)

Aventures in Beijing (by Brian Donahue)

I remember first looking out the airplane window as my flight began its descent into Beijing Capital International Airport. A smile was plastered on my face as I realized that, after six years of studying Chinese, I was finally in China. Despite the jubilation, anxiety took over as I realized for the next two months, my Chinese language abilities would be put to the ultimate test. The first week went by faster than I could imagine. Within two days, our program visited the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Lama Temple. On the third day, we officially started our intensive language classes, where we met three amazing laoshi who would serve not only as our teachers, but who would also become great friends.

After finally getting into the groove of things, navigating China’s capital became a breeze. My friends and I spent much of our time just outside of Tsinghua’s campus in the infamous Wudaokou (五道口) neighborhood of Beijing. Given its proximity to many of China’s top universities, a large number of students, both domestic and international, live here. As a result, many restaurants in Wudaokou cater to the cosmopolitan audience. A favorite of ours was Pyro Pizza, an American-owned pizzeria that provided us with a sometimes-necessary taste of home.

My favorite memory of Beijing came one night while exploring the city with my mom. My mom, fortunately, had a business trip to China at the same time I was there. After hearing much about Jingshan Park’s spectacular views of Beijing at sunset, I decided to save that excursion for when my mom was there. Because Jingshan doesn’t have a subway stop, my mom and I decided to be adventurous and walk from her hotel near Tiananmen Square to Jingshan Park, an approximately 2.2-mile walk. This excursion took us through some quieter streets of Beijing that ran parallel to the Forbidden City. The traditional hutong’s in this area were completely restored. It was here that I saw the magic of Beijing and could happily share it with my mom. When we finally reached Jingshan Park, the panoramic view of the city at the top was so stunning that not even photos could do it justice.

My greatest thanks goes out to everyone who made this trip possible. It truly changed my perception of China and helped me to finally connect the language I had spent so long studying to the culture it belongs to. My greatest thanks goes to the three laoshi who helped improve my confidence in my Chinese tremendously and challenged me to improve my skills. I anxiously await the day I get to return to China and once again experience its allure.

Beijing 2

Fall 2018 News: Chinese Studies

Summer Study Abroad – Beijing, China (by Annecy Daggett)

By Annecy Daggett

When I found out I had been accepted into the William and Mary Summer in Beijing study abroad program, I was filled with pure excitement, but as the program neared, I developed many reservations about studying abroad. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I worried I wasn’t ready to live in a foreign country for seven weeks, especially a country as different from the United States as China. I questioned the decision to study abroad the summer after my freshman year, thinking maybe I should have waited until the next summer. But as soon as I arrived in Beijing, all these worries disappeared, and the excitement set in. Having traveled to China once before for a week, the new culture didn’t come as a complete shock, but this time I was fully immersed. I quickly became accustomed to ordering meals in Chinese and paying in yuan. Even without a language pledge, my American friends and I started speaking Chinese to each other outside of class because in China it just felt natural. One of my favorite experiences from the trip was visiting the Summer Palace with a few friends. After walking around the historic site and admiring the beautiful architecture, we found a place to sit, enjoy the scenery, and play a Chinese card game. We ended up surrounded by Chinese children and adults, watching us play and offering tips and advice for the next move. Even as outsiders, we were welcomed into their culture with enthusiasm.

Not only were excursions to famous sites incredible but so were the daily experiences of living in a foreign country. Every day was an exciting new adventure. From ordering food in Chinese, to navigating the subways, to playing pickup ultimate Frisbee with students from around the world, every day was filled with new experiences and opportunities to practice Chinese. Nearing the end of my time in Beijing, I began to miss living in China before I even left. Returning to the United States, I missed hearing Chinese all around me. I missed ordering in Chinese and eating with chopsticks. After my study abroad experience in China, I wondered why I ever doubted that it was the right decision.


Beijing 1

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2017 More

Hollywood Made in China

The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled “Hollywood Made in China” on April 20, 2017 (Thursday). The speaker is Aynne Kokas, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. W&M students and faculty learned about how Kung Fu Panda 3, Iron Man 3, and Transformer 4 revealed the culture and politics of U.S.-China transnationalism in the 21st century.


According to Kokas, the Chinese market is poised to become the largest theatrical box office in the world within the next two years. But China currently allows only 34 films from around the world to be imported per year (with distribution revenue sharing privileges). In order to circumvent China’s film import quota and access the world’s largest potential film market, Hollywood studios have begun engaging in a range of collaborative ventures to access audiences in the middle kingdom. In February 2016, Shanghai-based US-China joint venture Oriental DreamWorks released Kung Fu Panda 3, which dominated the global box office that month. Disney opened its first theme park in China – a USD 5.5 billion investment – merely four months later. From film co-productions, to animation studios, to theme parks, American media conglomerates are working ever more closely with Chinese firms and Chinese regulators in exchange for access to audiences. Local Chinese filmmakers increasingly create media with an eye toward the international market in order to compete with Hollywood-China collaborations globally. Cash-rich Chinese conglomerates like the Dalian Wanda Group have begun taking major stakes in foreign studios, spurring US government efforts to regulate foreign direct investment in Hollywood. This talk demonstrated how the growth of China’s media market is transforming Hollywood from the inside out.

Aynne Kokas is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ work focuses on the intersections between Chinese and US media and technology industries.  Her book Hollywood Made in China was published in February 2017 with the University of California Press. Hollywood Made in China examines the cultural, political and economic implications of US media investment in China as it becomes the world’s largest film market.

This event was organized by Professors Calvin Hui and Chun-yu Lu from the Chinese Program.

Talk 1 Talk 2 Talk 3 Talk 4 Talk 5 Talk 6

Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Graduates 2015-2016 News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016

Congratulations to our Chinese Majors!

MLL Graduation Ceremony (15 May 2016)

Chinese Majors 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 1: Marshall Richards, Isabel Perrin, Benjamin Neville, Jacob Keohane, Skyy Eshleman, Gille Cuda (Note: Five other seniors, including Max Lipkin, Charles Kelly, Rachel Johnson, Kathy Shi, and Lauren Leupold, also graduated. They could not attend the MLL graduation ceremony because of other commitments.)

Chinese Majors and Faculty 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 2: Chinese majors and faculty

Chinese Faculty 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 3: Calvin Hui, Yanfang Tang, Chun-yu Lu, Peng Yu, and Qian Su

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016 More

Make Love and War: Prof. Chun-yu Lu Presented on Chinese Popular Romance During the Wartime

As part of the Bellini Colloquium series for spring 2016, Prof. Chun-yu Lu shared her research with the W&M community.  On April 21, 2016, Prof. Lu presented a talk entitled “Make Love and War: Chinese Popular Romance in ‘Greater East Asia,’ 1937-1945.”

Prof. Lu’s talk focused on Chinese popular romances produced and consumed in the Japanese colonized and occupied regions during the Second Sino-Japanese War and investigates the complex relationships between emotion, representation, and consumption vis-à-vis wartime politics.

In the talk Prof. Lu introduced two of her case studies of Chinese popular romances under Japan’s domination. The first case is Begonia, a tremendously popular novel and its theatrical and cinematic adaptions in wartime Shanghai. The second case is a popular writer, Wu Mansha, a Chinese mainlander in colonial Taiwan and his propagandist romance that promoted Japanese imperialism in the Chinese language.

Prof. Lu suggested that when Begonia in Shanghai intends to tell a tragic love story of two individuals and their sufferings, its dramatic articulation stimulates a shared sense of victimhood and an indirect protest collectively. In contrast, when Wu Mansha explicitly promoted young couples to unite and fight for the “greater good,” the propagandist messages in his popular romance novel was used for his personal safety and private profits. By comparing these popular romances, Prof. Lu argued that while the wartime regime dictated that private emotions and love are to be devoted to the ultimate public needs—the war, and hence the individual would merge with the collective and eventually disappear, through writing and consuming popular romances writers and readers reaffirm their individual existence when they struggle between the tensions of patriotic love and romantic love. So paradoxically, wartime popular romance is a collective channel for confirming individual existence.

Chun Yu 2 Chun Yu1

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2014

Chinese Students Show Their Research Skills

In fall 2013, seniors majoring in Chinese took Prof. Calvin Hui’s course CHIN 428 Advanced Seminar in Chinese, which focused on fashion, media, and consumer culture in post-socialist China. By the end of the course, they did research and produced a paper relating to the course’s major concerns. They also presented their research outputs in the 2014 Chinese Major Forum. You can have a taste of the interesting projects that our Chinese majors produced in the research seminar.

Rachel Faith, Male Cosmetics Advertisement

Tyler Brent, Cooperative Marriage Between Gay Men and Lesbian Women in China

Sara Rock, Dog Ownership in China

Daniel Otto, Changing Views on Sex and Sexuality in Post-Socialist China

Linda Baysore, Peng Liyuan’s Fashion