This semester, my first on the other side of the table when it comes to graduate students, I've found myself returning to comfortable old favorites in the Early Modern [Chinese] Fiction course I've been assigned to teach. Lacking any restrictions other than the loose ones posed by the title of the course, I've elected to…Read more Salty olives and sweet wine
One of the components of job application materials for academics is the teaching statement. Given the amount of introspection needed, it is not an easy piece to write, although it is the perfect piece for stewing over indefinitely. Over all these years of learning how to make myself write (with varying degrees of success depending…Read more Novel learning
In my non-academic reading recently, I've been enjoying the essays collected in A Narrative Compass: Stories that Guide Women's Lives. Though it may sound like a self help book, it's actually nineteen essays written by women academics - professors and students of literature, folklore or history; or librarians - about how some narrative affected them…Read more Narrative Compass
After two weeks in Beijing in 2012, I finally realized why I felt the city seemed so lifeless, even as it teemed with millions of people and their very real, full lives. Where were the temples? Where were the markers of a neighborhood like Tudi Gong shrines? Where were the folding tables full of offerings…Read more The end of Chinese religion?
Sixty-three years ago, David Tod Roy was, as the New York Times puts it, "a 16-year-old American missionary kid looking for a dirty book" at a used book store in Nanjing, China. The book? The Chin P'ing Mei (金瓶梅), a 100-chapter vernacular novel from 16th century China. It relates the intricate details of daily life…Read more Pray consult the story related in the following chapter