| Language




PhD (Stanford)

Assistant Professor

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Tel : (852) 3400 8952

Fax : (852) 2334 3747

Office :

Room HJ603, Stanley Ho Building,

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,

Hung Hom, Hong Kong


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Yu Zhang received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, the cultural politics of representing work in contemporary China, the literary and cultural interactions within the Sinosphere, Chinese revolutionary and socialist culture as well as the intersection of technology and modern Chinese culture. Her first book, Going to the Countryside: The Rural in Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination (1915-1965) (2020), examines the cultural practices and representations of “going to the countryside” in modern China. This modern experience of spatial crossing was intertwined with the larger discourses of enlightenment, revolution and socialist industrialization. It demonstrates how cultural representations of the countryside in modern China have constructed the rural as a distinct modern experiential and aesthetic realm characterized by revolutionary changes in human conceptions and sentiments.
She is currently working on two new projects: the first one focuses on the cultural politics of representing work (gongzuo) in contemporary China when the notions of service and labor underwent dramatic redefinitions and when the rise of artificial intelligence anticipates the coming of the post-work age; and the second one examines the flow of literary and cultural products from Hong Kong and Taiwan into mainland China as part of the cultural reorientation in post-Mao China.


Academic Qualifications

  • Ph.D. (2014) in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University
  • M.A. (2006) in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, The University of California, Santa Barbara
  • M.A. (2004) in Comparative Literature, Jilin University
  • B.A. (2001) in Journalism, Jilin University


Present Position

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chinese Culture, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (November 2018 –)


Positions Held

  • September 2017 – August 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, The University of Hong Kong
  • September 2014 – May 2017 Assistant Professor, Randolph-Macon College, USA


Specialization and Research Interests

  • Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture
  • The Rural and the Chinese Cultural Imaginary
  • The Cultural Politics of Representing Work in Contemporary China
  • Chinese Revolutionary and Socialist Culture
  • The Cultural Interactions within the Sinosphere
  • Technology and Modern Chinese Culture
  • Literary and Cultural Theory


Fellowships and Grants

  • 2019-2021 University’s Start-up Fund for New Recruits, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • 2016—2017 Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation Junior Scholar Grant
  • 2013—2014 Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2012—2013 Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fund for Grants in Aid of Scholarly Work




  • 2020 Going to the Countryside: The Rural in Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination, 1915-1965
    (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press)
    drzhangyu book

Journal Articles

  • 2020 “The Discourse of ‘Patience’ and the Rural Revolutionary Narrative of Yan’an: Rereading Ding Ling’s In the Hospital,” (“耐心”的話語与延安的鄉土革命敘事——重讀丁玲的《在醫院中》), Journal of Modern Chinese Literature (現代中文學刊), Issue 4.
  • 2018 “Enchanting a World of Crafts: Handmade and Homemade Things, Affective Labor, and Orality in The Road Home (1999),” Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2018 (on-line first, September 2016), 1-19
  • 2017 “Socialist Builders on the Rails and Road: Industrialization, Mobility, and National Imagination in Chinese Socialist Films, 1949-1965,” Twentieth-Century China 42, No. 3, October 2017, 255–273.
  • 2013 “Visual and Theatrical Constructs of a Modern Life in the Countryside: James Yen, Xiong Foxi, and the Rural Reconstruction Movement in Ding County (1920s-1930s).” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, 25, 1 (spring): 47-95
  • 2010 “Garden: Remembrance and Revolutionary Gesture in Ba Jin’s Family” (花园:往事追忆与革命姿态—重读巴金的《家》), Modern Chinese Literary Studies (中国现代文学研究丛刊). 3, 119-131 (in Chinese)

Book Chapters

  • 2021 “Journeys to the Revolutionary Site of Yan’an: The Construct of Red China, Time Consciousness, and Patience, 1936–45” (“去延安”的鄉土敘事:“記錄性表述”、時間意識以及“耐心”的話語), Luo Gang and Sun Xiaozhong eds. Going Back to The People’s Literature and Art (II), Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe. (Forthcoming)

Book Reviews and Other Publications

  • 2019 Review of Revolutionary Waves: The Crowd in Modern China by Tie Xiao Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2017. Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature (no. 1), 2019. 208-210.
  • 2018 “Postsocialism and Its Narratives: An Interview with Cai Xiang” (co-interviewed and co-translated with Calvin Hui), MCLC Resource Center Publication (on-line)
  • 2017 Review of Visions of Dystopia in China’s New Historical Novels by Jeffrey C. Kinkley. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Chinese Literature Today 6:1, 138-139.