I am a professor of Chinese language and culture at the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. I received my Ph.D. in Modern Chinese Studies from Heidelberg University, Germany, on the topic of “Cultural Production of the ‘City’ in Chinese Literary Discourse of the 1980s and 90s.” My research interests are situated in the realm of modern and contemporary literature and culture of China and Taiwan. Among other things I am interested in historical trauma and cultural memory, cosmopolitan and vernacular dynamics in literature and literary history, literature as counter narrative to official discourse, transcultural encounters, urban culture, and literatures of the diaspora. Currently I am working on a project that deals with the future of memory and the memory of future, exploring contemporary Taiwan literature and culture. In teaching I pursue community-based learning strategies to enrich student’s learning experience and to impart civic responsibility. Before coming to Stockholm in 2010 I have been designing the Sino-German inter-cultural exchange program "Artists in Residence" (https://www.ikg-goettingen.de/artists-in-residence/), I am also the convener of the Stockholm Spotlight Taiwan project.
My research interests are situated in the realm of modern and contemporary Sinophone literature and culture. Among other things I am interested in historical trauma and cultural memory, cosmopolitan and vernacular dynamics in literature and literary history, literature as counter narrative to official discourse, cultures in contact, urban culture, gender, and literatures of the diaspora.
As part of a nationwide research group dealing with “Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literature” (led by Stefan Helgesson), I am identifying literary practices in Sinophone writings and how these construct cosmopolitan memory indicating a historical self-understanding that is neither exclusively attached to the nation-state nor to local experience and that gives evidence of self-transformation enabling people to reflexively rework the boundaries between Self and Other and between China and the world.
In an international project that looks into visual and literary counter-narratives that complicate the official unifying narrative to the China dream, I look at the articulation of the “Chinese dream” in the contemporary literary field and discuss how literature and the literary establishment respond to the dominant discourse.
Another project deals with history and memory in a contemporary Chinese context. Based on Jan Assmann’s concept of “cultural memory” I look into Chinese contemporary literature (e.g. Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Yan Lianke et. al.) and documentary films (Xu Xing, Hu Jie, Wu Wenguang et. al.) to find out whether and in what way visual or narrative texts do have the capacity to narrate a traumatic history and to investigate how far trauma as a concept is inscribed in those texts. The main focus is on finding out whether or not literature can help in creating a cultural/collective memory evoking a trauma-ridden past.