• Portrait
  • Jessey Choo
  • Research Interests: cultural history of medieval China

Professor Choo is a cultural historian specializing in medieval China (ca. 200–1000 CE). She began teaching Chinese History and Religion at Rutgers in 2012. Her recent research centers on four interrelated areas: death and commemorative rituals, epigraphy (especially the entombed epitaphs also known as muzhiming), memory and identity, and gender and religion. Her monograph “Inscribing Death: Burials, Texts and Remembrance in Tang China, 500-1000 CE,” examines the transformations of ancestor worship and the constructions of identity and memory that resulted from the wide dissemination of Buddhist ideas is forthcoming from University of Hawai’i Press. She is currently finishing two other book length monographs. The first, “Blood Debts: Childbirth, Filial Piety, and Women’s Salvation in Chinese Religions, 500–1500 CE,” traces the development and popularization of various soteriologies centered on women’s menstruation and parturition blood and their social impacts. The second, “Being Women in Late Medieval China, 500-1000 CE,” reconstructs women’s everyday during China’s late medieval period using entombed epitaphs. She is also a co-editor of Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Tales from Tang Dynasty China: Selections from the Taiping Guangji (Hackett Publishing Co., 2017).

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  • Tao JIANG
  • Research Interests: Classical Chinese philosophy, Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy, and cross-cultural philosophy

Tao Jiang is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Rutgers. He specializes in pre-Qin 先秦 classical Chinese philosophy, Mahāyāna Buddhist 大乘佛教 philosophy (Madhyamaka 中觀 and Yogācāra 唯識), and cross-cultural philosophy. Jiang's book, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China: Contestation of Humaneness, Justice, and Personal Freedom, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. The book received Honorable Mention for the 2023 Joseph Levenson Prize for distinguished scholarship on pre-1900 China from the Association for Asian Studies. He is also the author of Contexts and Dialogue: Yogācāra Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind (University of Hawaii Press) and the co-editor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China: China’s Freudian Slip (Routledge). His articles have appeared in leading Asian and comparative philosophy journals and several major anthologies.

Jiang is working on several projects, including a monograph on Zhuangzi's political philosophy and another on Chan/Zen Buddhist philosophy. He co-directs Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy and co-chairs the Neo-Confucian Studies Seminar at Columbia University. He serves on the editorial boards of several leading Asian and comparative philosophy journals.

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Portrait
  • Suhkee LEE
  • Research Interests: Chinese social and intellectual history of the middle period

Professor Lee is an historian of middle period China. He defines himself as a social historian but is interested in intellectual history as well. He is interested in two aspects of Chinese history: First, tensions between state power and social elites, focusing on how those tensions are expressed and resolved; Second, the localization of national policies or nationwide scholarly movements, asking how local actors appropriate those outside changes to serve their interests, whether material or cultural. He is the author of Negotiated Power: The State, Elites, and Local Governance in Twelfth- to Fourteenth-Century China.

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  • Peng LIU
  • Research Interests: Fiction and Drama in Late Imperial China, Chinese Buddhist Hagiographies, Daoist Magic

Professor Liu’s research focuses on the dynamic relationship between vernacular literature and religion in late imperial China. His current book project, The Way of Darkness and Light: Daoist Divine Women in Pre-Modern Chinese Fiction, takes an interdisciplinary approach to Chinese literature, religion, and gender studies, investigating how late imperial Chinese fiction and drama popularized Daoist goddess cults that would otherwise have been marginalized or forgotten. Before joining Rutgers, Dr. Liu taught several courses at Columbia University as a teaching scholar. In the same way that interdisciplinary insights enrich his research, one of his goals in teaching is to help students break down existing disciplinary and cultural boundaries.

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  • Xun LIU
  • Research Interests: history of late imperial and modern China, especially Daoism

Professor Liu is a historian of late imperial and modern China with a particular interest in the history of Daoism and its relationship to Chinese society and culture. He is currently working on a monographic study of the Daoist temples and local society in Nanyang in central China from the mid-17th century to the present. He is interested in the various roles Daoists and their temples play in shaping the structures, institutions, and practices of local culture and society, and how they have changed over time in their interaction with the modernizing state, globalizing economy, and local religious traditions. He is the author of Daoist Modern: Innovation, Lay Practice and the Community of Inner Alchemy in Republican Shanghai and the co-editor of Daoism in Twentieth Century China: Between Eternity and Modernity.

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  • Weijie SONG
  • Research Interests: modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film

Professor Song’s research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film, urban imagination, martial arts narratives, Chinese popular culture, comparative imagology, as well as Sinophone and diaspora studies. He is the author of Mapping Modern Beijing: Space, Emotion, and Literary Topography and the author, in Chinese, of From Entertainment Activity to Utopian Impulse: Rereading Jin Yong’s Martial Arts Fiction and China, Literature, and the United States: Images of China in American and Chinese-American Novel and Drama. His new research projects focus on two book length manuscripts, “Ideology: Chinese Environmental Imaginations” and “Between Martial Arts and Avant-Gardes: Sinophone Cinema and the Chinese Mind.”

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  • Portrait
  • Wendy Swartz
  • Research Interests: medieval Chinese literature and comparative literature

Professor Swartz is the author of Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427-1900), which critically examines readings of both Tao and his oeuvre over a fifteen-hundred year span. Reading Tao Yuanming has been translated into Chinese: the Traditional Chinese character edition was published by Linking Press (Taipei) in 2014 and the Simplified Chinese Character edition was published by Zhonghua Book Company (Beijing) in 2016. She is also the principal editor of Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2014). The first of its kind, this volume presents a broadly-based selection of important texts from this formative period in the disciplines of literature, historiography, art history, and religion. It was named "Best Reference Title" by Library Journal in March 2015.

She is also the author of Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427-1900) (Harvard University Asia Center, 2008), which critically examines readings of both Tao and his oeuvre over a fifteen-hundred year span. This study shows that the construction of Tao Yuanming as one of China’s greatest cultural icons was a collective and cumulative process, driven by a centuries-long conversation centered on three categories that lay at the heart of literati culture—reclusion, personality, and poetry— a conversation in which varying readings of Tao’s life and works were informed by changing aesthetic and moral concerns and by the development of new hermeneutical tools and critical lexicons.

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  • Portrait
  • Xiaojue WANG
  • Research Interests: Chinese literature and culture from late imperial to contemporary periods

Professor Wang’s research interests are Chinese literature and culture from late imperial to contemporary periods, the cultural Cold War, the literary transition from late imperial to modern times, cultural memories, film and visual studies, and comparative literature, in particular, the impact of German intellectual dynamics on modern China. She is the author of Modernity with a Cold War Face: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide, which examines the diverse, dynamic cultural practices in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas across the 1949 Chinese divide, and re-positions modern Chinese literature in the global context of the Cold War. She is currently writing her second book, tentatively entitled The Edges of Literature: Eileen Chang and the Aesthetics of Deviation. Centering on the prominent women writer Eileen Chang, this study treats the changing concept of literature—as an aesthetic practice, a cultural institution, and an ideology—in the making of Chinese modernity. She is also co-editing a volume, Lu Xun and Sinophone Asia (under advance contract with Brill), which provides a critical assessment of the transcultural and transnational routes of the work of Lu Xun in various Sinophone communities in Asia.

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  • Jenny Yuan-Chen YANG
  • Research Interests: pragmatics, semantics and syntax of Mandarin Chinese

Dr. Yang received her doctoral degree in linguistics from Yale University. She has previously taught as a Teaching Fellow in both the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Department of Linguistics at Yale. Dr. Yang’s current research focuses on the pragmatics, semantics and syntax of Mandarin Chinese and the Min dialect. Her research interests also include Chinese sociolinguistics and teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

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