What projects are you working on now?
I am currently working on completing revisions of my dissertation into a book manuscript, titled “The Trans-formation of Life: Lu Xun (1881-1936) and Modern Chinese Biopolitics.” This book investigates a biopolitical mode of modernity by exploring the dynamic interplay between the creative force of life and the transformative power of culture that structures Lu Xun’s entire opus. It also challenges the Euro-centric narrative of modernity by demonstrating how the Chinese tradition of questioning the world in terms of transition and process―what is known as correlative thinking―shapes the particular forms of modern Chinese biopolitics.
Why did you choose EAS and NYU for your graduate work?
I was attracted by the graduate program’s theoretical approach to culture and its focus on the question of modernity. And I probably got more than what I had hoped for.
Looking back, what were some of your favorite things about studying at NYU and about the EAS?
I am grateful to the fact that I was able to freely explore what I was interested in, rather than having to conform to certain established norms. To me that’s the advantage of studying in a young and vibrant program like ours. I was also fortunate enough to have met a few professors at NYU who opened up my intellectual horizon and changed the way I look at things.
Like everyone else, I enjoyed the additional bonus of being able to live in an enjoyable city for some of the best years in my life.
What recommendations would you give a graduate student at NYU and one focusing in East Asian Studies?
Given my own experience of having to struggle on the job market for a few years, I would recommend one to get professionally prepared to a reasonable degree. On the other hand, I still think the most important thing is to find one’s own voice.
Interviewed November 2017