Chinese Literature and the Global South: May 22-25, 2023

Participating Artists, Writers and Scholars

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Bei Dao, Poet, Beijing, China

Bei Dao

Bei Dao (pen name for Zhao Zhenkai), is a world renowned poet and writer. He co-founded the underground literary magazine Jintian (‘Today’) in 1978 and is one of the key poets in meng long shi (obscurist poetry). Bei Dao has  received numerous honors and awards for his distinguished achievements, including the Tucholsky Prize from Swedish PEN, International Poetry Argana Award from the House of Poetry in Morocco, the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, and the Golden Wreath Award of the Struga Poetry Evenings for 2015. His poetry has been translated into over thirty languages.

HAN Shaogong, Writer, Hainan, China

Han Shaogong: I till the fields when the weather is fine, and otherwise devote myself to study on rainy days. In doing so, I combine knowledge and practice. I seek to intervene in the affairs of our human world, by means of separating my heart-mind from the mundane affairs of secular life. (trans. Benjamin Kindler)

[Original text: 晴耕雨读,知行合一,以出世之心做入世之事。]

LI Tuo, Critic, New York and Beijing

Li Tuo is a New York-based writer and critic from mainland China. He has written fiction and scripts for films and authored numerous essays on Chinese literature, cinema and art. He is the editor of several major Chinese literature anthologies, especially of experimental literature. His editorial responsibilities include influential literary journals Beijing Literature in the 1980s, Shijie (Horizons) in the 1990s-2000s, and currently Jintian (Today).

Kabir Mohanty, Visual Artist, Mumbai, India

Kabir Mohanty’s most recent works are a 4-hour long video, Song for an ancient land, traveling along the intersection of soil and self. It has been shown at the Kochi Biennale and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. He also works with the installation form. In Memory, a sound installation was recently acquired by Guggenheim Abu Dhabi for its permanent collection. He lives in Bombay.

Sharmistha Mohanty, Poet, Mumbai, India

Sharmistha Mohanty is a poet and prose writer and her books include Five Movements in Praise, The Gods Came Afterwards and the most recent Extinctions, among others. She is the founder editor of the online literature journal Almost Island, now in its 15th year.

Allan Sealy, novelist, Delhi, India

Allan Sealy is the author of The Trotter-Nama, The Everest Hotel, The Brainfever Bird, and other novels. He has a cycle of Fatehpur Sikri poems, and his travel writing includes From Yukon to Yucatan and A China Sketchbook. A memoir, The Small Wild Goose Pagoda, considers his home in the foothills of the Himalayas.

XU Bing, Artist, Beijing, China

Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China in 1955, and grew up in Beijing. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981 and subsequently joined the faculty there. He currently resides in Beijing and New York, where he continues to produce art.

Xu Bing’s art has been exhibited in numerous institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C., the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Museo Reina Sofia, and Joan Miró Foundation. In addition, Xu has participated in several international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, Sydney Biennale, and São Paulo Biennale.

Xu Bing has received many accolades throughout his career. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999 for his significant contribution to printmaking and calligraphy, followed by the first Artes Mundi Prize in Wales in 2004. In 2006, the Southern Graphics Council honored Xu Bing with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his impact on the dialogue between text, language, and books in the art world. In 2010, Columbia University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, while in 2015, he received the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large from Cornell University and the Medal of Arts from the U.S. Department of State.

ZHAI Yongming, Poet, Chengdu, China

Zhai Yongming is a poet and essayist based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Her first poetry collection, Women, was published in 1986 and she has since published numerous collections of poetry and essays. Her work has been translated into English, French, Dutch, Italian, and German.


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Anatoly Detwyler, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Anatoly Detwyler is an Assistant Professor of Modern China Studies in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

Chloe Estep, University of Pennsylvania

Chloe Estep is an Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese and Sinophone Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.


Michael Gibbs Hill, William and Mary

Michael Gibbs Hill is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the author of Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture (Oxford, 2013), the translator of China from Empire to Nation-State by Wang Hui (Harvard, 2014) and What is China? Territory, Ethnicity, Culture, and History by Ge Zhaoguang (Harvard/Belknap, 2018), and the editor of the English version of The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought by Wang Hui (Harvard, forthcoming in 2023). His current research examines parallels and points of intersection between Chinese and Arabic literatures from the mid-nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.

Gal Gvili, McGill University

Gal Gvili studies and teaches modern and contemporary Chinese literature and McGill University’s Department of East Asian Studies, where she is an Assistant Professor.

Jennifer D. Lee, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Jennifer D. Lee is an Associate Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Adhira Mangalagiri, Queen Mary University of London

Adhira Mangalagiri is Lecturer (U.S. Assistant Professor) in the Department of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Her book, States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century (Columbia UP, 2023), explores possibilities for transnational relation in Chinese and Hindi literatures beyond the hyper-connective paradigms of globalization and against the insularity of narrow nationalisms. Her research has recently appeared in the Journal of World Literature, Comparative Literature Studies, Yearbook of Comparative Literature, and the International Journal of Asian Studies, among others, and she serves as a General Editor of Comparative Critical Studies.

Benjamin Kindler, Lingnan University

Benjamin Kindler is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His research interests center around Chinese socialist culture and the intellectual history of Marxism in China and across East Asia. He is in the process of preparing his book manuscript, under the title Writing to the Rhythm of Labour: The Politics of Cultural Labour in the Chinese Revolution, 1942-1976, which focuses on the figure of the culture worker and the transformation of writing in revolutionary China.


Lydia Liu, Columbia University

Lydia Liu is the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities and former Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Her research centers on modern China, cross-cultural exchange, and global transformation in modern history, with a focus on the movement of words, theories, and artifacts across national boundaries and on the evolution of writing, textuality, and media technology. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1997–1998), among other honors. In 2021, she was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences under the auspices of UNESCO.


Yurou Zhong, University of Toronto

Yurou Zhong is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies. She is interested in Modern Chinese literature and culture, writing systems and literacy, and sound studies. She is the author of Chinese Grammatology: Script Revolution and Literary Modernity, 1916–1958 (Columbia University Press, 2019).


The Summer Institute is made possible by funding from the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, in partnership with the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

Support provided by the Center for East Asian Studies, UW-Madison Libraries, and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Press Release: “Literary Conference to bring major figures from Asia to Madison