Positions

Research Areas research areas

Overview

  • I specialize in modern Chinese literature and culture, film studies, and critical theory. Employing various discourses of modernity (e.g. Enlightenment, biopolitics) and the epistemic-comparative lenses of ontological and correlative thinking, my research seeks to situate modern Chinese culture both in the global context of shared modernity and along the axis of its complicated relationship with classical Chinese tradition.

    My first book, Lu Xun's Affirmative Biopolitics: Nothingness and the Power of Self-Transcendence (Routledge, 2022), explores an extraordinary case of affirmative biopolitics through the study of Lu Xun (1881–1936), the most prominent cultural figure of 20th century China. Diverging from the Enlightenment-humanist framework in reference to which Lu Xun is commonly interpreted, it demonstrates how his thinking is defined by a naturalistic conception of culture that is best understood in the global context of what Foucault defines as the biological turn of modernity. In comparison to ontologically-grounded modern Western theories of life, it brings to light the deep connection between Lu Xun’s affirmative biopolitics and the epistemic ground of Chinese tradition - what is known as correlative thinking.

    Currently I am working on my second book project, which explores the modern transformation of correlative thinking in a broad range of 20th and 21st century Chinese literature, film and art.

    I have taught a wide variety of courses, including modern Chinese literature and film, introduction to Chinese culture, literary theory and biopolitical discourse, and Chinese language at different levels.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2020 "Waiting and the Duration of Time: The Critique of Everyday Life in Jia Zhangke’s Platform"China Perspectives.  2020:35-42. 2020
    2016 "The 'Symbol of Angst' and the Poetics of Remembrance: Lu Xun and Chinese Literary Modernity"Modern Chinese Literature and Culture.  28:139-182. 2016
    2012 "'Literal Translation' and the Materiality of Language: Lu Xun as a Case"Frontiers of Literary Studies in China.  6:393-409. 2012
    “‘Usefulness without Use,’ or the Power of the Virtual: Lu Xun on the Vital Efficacy of Literature”Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews

    Book

    Year Title
    2021 Lu Xun's Affirmative Biopolitics: Nothingness and the Power of Self-Transcendence 2021

    Teaching Activities

  • Advanced Chinese I Taught course 2022
  • Intermediate Chinese I Taught course 2022
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2022
  • Elementary Chinese II Taught course 2022
  • Intermediate Chinese II Taught course 2022
  • Elementary Chinese I Taught course 2021
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2021
  • Elementary Chinese II Taught course 2021
  • What does it Mean to be Modern Taught course 2021
  • Elementary Chinese I Taught course 2020
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2020
  • Advanced Chinese II Taught course 2020
  • What does it Mean to be Modern Taught course 2020
  • Advanced Chinese I Taught course 2019
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2019
  • Intermediate Chinese I Taught course 2018
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2018
  • Elementary Chinese II Taught course 2018
  • What does it Mean to be Modern Taught course 2018
  • Elementary Chinese I Taught course 2017
  • Intro to Chinese Culture Taught course 2017
  • Chinese Lit in Translation Taught course 2017
  • Elementary Chinese II Taught course 2017
  • Advanced Chinese I Taught course 2016
  • Elementary Chinese I Taught course 2016
  • Education And Training

  • B.A. Law, Renmin University of China
  • M.A. Modern Chinese Literature, Peking University
  • Ph.D. East Asian Studies, New York University
  • Full Name

  • Wenjin Cui