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Liang Luo

Ph.D. East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

M. A. Comparative Literature and World Literature, Beijing Normal University

B. A. Chinese Language and Literature, Beijing Normal University

After receiving my BA in Chinese language and literature and MA in comparative literature from Beijing Normal University, I completed a Ph.D. program at Harvard University with the support of a Harvard-Yenching Doctoral Fellowship. I studied Japanese at Harvard and went to Tokyo with the support of a Reischauer Institute Fellowship, where I participated in research seminars led by the late Professor Maruyama Noboru and Professor Fujii Shozo at Tokyo University. A leave from the University of Kentucky allowed me to conduct research at Stockholm University, visit archives in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and deliver lectures at Heidelberg University. A National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend enabled me to exchange ideas with Professors Russell A. Berman, Ban Wang, and participants at the NEH summer seminar on interwar modernisms in Shanghai and Berlin at Stanford University.

I have been teaching modern and classical Chinese language, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, comparative East Asian literature, gender politics in Chinese literature and culture, and Chinese film and popular culture since 1997 in China and since 2002 in the United States. I received a “Certificate of Distinction in Teaching” at Harvard University for my contribution to undergraduate teaching, working with Professor Leo Ou-fan Lee in “Cultural China in Contemporary Perspectives,” a course on Chinese cultures from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia and throughout the world. I was also honored with a Presidential Instructional Technology Fellowship at Harvard, and worked closely with other instructors to bring technology into classroom teaching. Over the past twenty years, I have supervised students and advised theses in East Asian Studies, Social Studies, modern Chinese literature, media representation of the Chinese Diaspora, cultures of the Second Sino-Japanese War, among other subjects and fields. 

Research Interests:
Theater and Performance studies
Sino-Japanese cultural relations
Film Studies
Chinese language and culture
Korean language and culture
Gender Politics
Popular Culture
20th Century Music and Literature
the international avant-garde

Spring 2024 office hours: Tuesdays 1-2 pm in POT 1453 and on Zoom, and by email appointment at your convenience


My research is centered on three interrelated threads: the intersections of performance, politics, and popularity in modern China, modern Japan, and the international avant-garde; the interactions among folk, urban, and popular cultures and political propaganda; and gender and class representations in literary, performing, cinematic, and visual arts. For the past twenty years, I have conducted interdisciplinary, multilingual and multi-site research in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Furukawa, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Stockholm, Nijmegen, Leipzig, Heidelberg, Leiden, Taiwan, and Seoul in the broadly-defined fields of modern Chinese literature and culture, modern Japanese studies, performance studies, modernist studies, comparative literature, and cultural studies. 

My first book, The Avant-garde and the Popular in Modern China: Tian Han and the Intersection of Performance and Politics (Michigan 2014), reveals avant-garde performance as an important political force shaped by, and in turn shaping, popular culture in modern China. The insights gained from writing my first book informed two ongoing projects. In my second book, The Global White Snake (Michigan, 2021), I set out to further explore the intersections of feminine performance, gender politics, and popular culture through the multimedia metamorphoses of the White Snake tale in the context of the Cold War and contemporary culture. In my third book and documentary film project, Profound Propaganda: The International Avant-Garde and Modern China, I attempt to harvest the rich findings regarding the relationship between the international avant-garde and modern China in my first book and extend its critical engagement both historically and globally.

Selected Honors, Fellowships, and Service

  • 2019 - 2024      Executive Committee Member, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Forum, The Modern Language Association 
  • 2021-2022        Program Committee, Annual Conferences, China and Inner Asia Sub-committee, Association for Asian Studies 
  • Spring 2018      Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Kentucky
  • Spring 2018      Office of the Vice President for Research, Research and Creative Activities Grant, University of Kentucky
  • Spring 2018      Student Government Association Student Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion, Inclusivity Award, University of Kentucky
  • February 2018  Awarded Institutional Faculty/Staff of the Month by the Wildcat Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary     
  • Summer 2017   Visiting fellowship at the Humanities Research Center, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Summer 2017   Research grant for foreign scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies, Taipei, Taiwan, alternate recipient 
  • 2017                  Women’s Executive Leadership Development Program, University of Kentucky  
  • Spring 2017       Nominated for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award College of Arts and Sciences, University of Kentucky
  • 2016-2017         Teacher Who Made a Difference Award, College of Education, University of Kentucky   
  • Summer 2016    Research fellowship at the International Center for the Studies of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University, Shanghai, China 
  • 2014-15             Research Professorship at the Ewha Institute for the Humanities funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea
  • 2012-2013         University of Kentucky Arts and Sciences Research Activity Award
  • 2012-present     Board Member, European Foundation Joris Ivens, The Netherlands
  • 2012                  University of Kentucky Office of the Vice President for Research Summer Faculty Research Fellowship
  • 2010                  National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar Stipend
  • 2008-2009         University of Kentucky Arts and Sciences Research Activity Award
  • 2005-2006         Harvard University Presidential Instructional Technology Fellowship
  • 2004-2005         Satoh Artcraft and Tsuchiya Foundation Merit Scholarship
  • 2003-2004         Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2002-2003         Harvard College Certificate of Distinction in Teaching
  • 1999-2003         Harvard-Yenching Doctoral Fellowship
Graduate Training

Ph.D. East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University; M. A. Comparative Literature and World Literature, Beijing Normal University

Selected Publications:

Fall 2008 to present


The Global White Snake, University of Michigan Press, 2021.

          Interviewed by Huiying Chen for the New Books Network: 

      , Sept. 17, 2021.

          Reviewed by Noah Arthur Weber for Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, February 8, 2022,


          Reviewed by Ping Zhu for The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 81, issue 1 (February 2022), 172-173.

          Reviewed by Shuming Lu for American Review of China Studies, vol. 23, no. 1 (Spring 22), 80-3.

          Reviewed by An-Ru Chu for Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 39, no. 2 (Fall 2022), 414-417.

The Avant-Garde and the Popular in Modern China: Tian Han and the Intersection of Performance and PoliticsUniversity of Michigan Press, 2014. 

          Reviewed by Man He for Chinese Literature Today, vol. 6, no. 1 (2017), 136.

          Reviewed by John B. Weinstein for Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews,

                 no. 38 (2016), 202-205.

          Reviewed by Whit Emerson for TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 60, no. 3 (fall 2016), 190-191.

          Reviewed by Geraldine Fiss for The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 75, no. 3 (fall 2016), 814-5.  

          Reviewed by Siyuan Liu for Modern Drama (Vol. 59, No. 1, Spring 2016, 120-122)

          Reviewed by Emily E. Wilcox for Theatre Journal (Vol. 67, No. 3, October 2015, 584-586) 

          Reviewed by Man He for Frontiers of Literary Studies in China (2015, Vol. 9, No. 2: 337-344)

          Reviewed by Rossella Ferrari for Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (February 2015)

          Reviewed by Wolfgang Kubin for Orientierungen: Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens (2014, Nr. 2)

                  (in German), translated into English by Joseph D. O’Neil and published in

                  Comparative Literature & World Literature, vol. 2, no. 1 (2017), 70-71.           

Selected Articles

  • “The Global White Snake as Digital Activist Project,” in Journal of Foreign Languages and Cultures, vol. 5, no. 1 (June 2021), 127-142.
  • “The Experimental and the Popular in Chinese Socialist Theatre of the 1950s,” in Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform: Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era, edited by Xiaomei Chen, Siyuan Liu, and Tarryn Chun, University of Michigan Press, 2021, 135-161.
  • “Performance Review: The White Snake, Constellation Theatre Company, Washington, D.C., April 25-May 26, 2019,” in CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature, vol. 39, no. 2 (December 2020), 182-197.
  • 《‘真知’與‘迷思’、‘先鋒’與 ‘流行’的交織與共振二十世紀早期的白蛇傳說重述與白蛇表演新變》 (“New Practices in Retelling and Performing the White Snake in the Early-Twentieth-Century,” translated by Prof. Wang Guimei 王桂妹), in《東岳論叢》(Dongyue Tribune), vol. 41, no. 12 (December 2020), 5-26.
  • 《舞蹈之軀與雌雄之體:表達與對抗之途》(“The Dancing Body and the Androgenous Figure: Articulation and Rebellion,” with Prof. Wang Guimei,), in 《澳門理工學報(人文社科版)》(Journal of Macao Polytechnic Institute, Humanities and Social Sciences Edition), no. 4, 2020, 158-169.                                                                                      
  • 《白蛇傳說跨界研究綱要》 (“An Introduction to the Global White Snake,” translated by Prof. Wang Guimei), in《現代中國文化與文學》(Modern Chinese Culture and Literature), vol. 32, 2020, 17-35.
  • “Falling in Love with the White Snake: on Woodbridge’s Rewriting of the Legend,” in Literature & Modern China, vol. 1, no. 1, 2019, 19-37.
  • “Plays of Late Modern Period,” in Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature, edited by Ming Dong Gu, Routledge, 2018, 502-514.
  • 民族主义与革命冲动的呈现 (The Reemergence of Nationalism and Revolutionary Impulse: Rereading Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution), 电影研究 (Film Studies), 2018, no. 5, 3-18.
  • “The White Snake in Hong Kong Horror Cinema,” in Hong Kong Horror Cinema, edited by Daniel Martin and Garry Bettinson, Edinburgh University Press, 2018, 34-51.
  • "Writing Green Snake, Dancing White Snake, and the Cultural Revolution as History and Memory--Centered on Yan Geling's Baishe​," in Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, special issue on “Women, Writing, and Visuality in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Film” edited by Geraldine A. Fiss and Li Guo, Vol. 11, No. 1 (March 2017), 7-37.  
  • "Reading Hong Shen Intermedially," in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, special issue on Hong Shen, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Fall 2015), 208-248.
  • "Performing the Political in Lust, Caution," in Trans-Humanities, Vol. 8, No. 3 (2015), 85-109.
  • “Problems of Translation and Transnational Feminisms,” in Susan Bordo, M. Cristina Alcalde, and Ellen Rosenman eds., Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought, University of California Press, 2015, 169-82.
  • “The White Snake as the New Woman of Modern China,” in Ya-chen Chen ed., New Modern Chinese Women and Gender Politics, Routledge, 2014, 86-102.
  • "Annual Review of Cultural Studies in the United States," in The 2012 Annual Review of Cultural Studies, edited by Tao Dongfeng, Beijing: Social Science Literature Press, 2013, 295-305.
  • "The Avant-garde and the National Anthem," in Cultural Studies, Beijing: Social Science Literature Press, 2013, no. 14, 209-237.
  • “International Avant-garde and the Chinese National Anthem: Tian Han, Joris Ivens, and Paul Robeson,” The Ivens Magazine (European Foundation Joris Ivens, the Netherlands), no. 16, October 2010, 6-13.
  • "From Tian Han to Wu Wenguang: 'Going to the People' as Self-Writing in Independent Filmmaking," in World Literature and China in a Global Age, Beijing: Chinese Social Science Press, 2010, 426-431
  • "Bohemia: Everyday Heroes", in Liyun Scholarly Journal, literature volume, 2009, no. 1: 167-175.

Selected Reviews

  • Emily Wilcox, Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and Socialist Legacy. University of California Press, 2018. Twentieth-Century China, forthcoming in vol 46, no. 3 (October 2021).
  • Maggie Greene, Resisting Spirits: Drama Reform and Cultural Transformation in the People’s Republic of China. China Understandings Today Series. University of Michigan Press, 2019. Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 80, no. 3 (August 2021), in print.
  • Nanxiu Qian, Richard J. Smith, and Bowei Zhang eds. Reexamining the Sinosphere: Cultural Transmissions and Transformations in East Asia and Rethinking the Sinosphere: Poetics, Aesthetics, and Identity Formation. Cambria Sinophone World Series. Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2020. China Review International, vol. 26, no. 3 (2019, published in 2021), in print.
  • Carlos Rojas ed., Method as Method, special issue of Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, vol. 16, no. 2 (October 2019). “Theories, Methods, Objects, and Localities: A Review of Method as Method,” Cha Review of Books and Films, in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, issue 46, January 15, 2021.
  • Review of Brian James DeMare, Mao’s Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China’s Rural Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2015), with a response from the author, in The PRC History Review Book Review Series, No. 7, July 2019, published by The PRC History Group (online).
  • Review of Amp Wong 黃家康and Zhao Ji 趙霽dirs.,《白蛇: 緣起》(White Snake: Origins) (Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros., 2019), “Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins,” published by the Association for Chinese Animation Studies (Hong Kong), June 24, 2019 (online).
  • Review of Xiaomei Chen, Staging Chinese Revolution: Theater, Film, and the Afterlives of Propaganda (Columbia University Press, 2016), in Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, No. 40 (December 2018), 249-252.  
  • Review of Haiyan Lee, The Stranger and the Chinese Moral Imagination (Stanford University Press, 2014), The Journal of Asian Studies, published by the Association for Asian Studies, Vol. 77, No. 4 (November 2018), 1074-1076.
  • Review of LI Wei李偉, Ershi shiji xiqu gaige de sanda fanshi 20世紀戲曲改革的三大範式 (Three Paradigms of Reforming Traditional Theater in the 20th Century) (Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 2014), forthcoming in CHINOPERL: Chinese Oral and Performing Literature, published by Maney Publishing.
  • Review of Liana Chen, Literati and Actors at Work: The Transformations of Peony Pavilion on Page and on Stage in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (National Taiwan University Press, 2013), Chinese Literature Today, vol. 6, no. 1 (2017), 141-142. 
  • Review of Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko eds., The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational History (Columbia University Press, 2013),

    Comparative Literature and World Literature, vol. 2, no. 1 (2017), 76-79.

  • Review of Mary Mazzilli, Gao Xinjian’s Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2015), Modern Drama, vol. 59, no. 4 (Winter 2016), 512-515. 
  • Review of Shengqing Wu, Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the Chinese Lyric Tradition, 1900-1937 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2013), The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 75, No. 1 (February 2016), 227-229. 
  • Review of Zhiguang Yin, Politics of Art: The Creation Society and the Politics of Theoretical Struggle in Revolutionary China (Brill, 2014), Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC) Resource Center Publication (December 2015), online.
  • Review of Andrea S. Goldman, Opera and the City: The Politics of Culture in Beijing, 1770-1900 (Stanford University Press, 2012), The China Review (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring 2014), 239-242.
  • Review essay of A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature (HONG Zicheng, Brill, 2007), China Review International (vol. 16, no. 4, 2011): 517-521.
  • Review essay of Women Playing Men: Yue Opera and Social Change in Twentieth Century Shanghai (Jin Jiang, University of Washington Press, 2009), China Review International (vol. 16, no. 1, 2009): 117-125.

Selected Translations from English to Chinese

  •  Liuxing de boximiya: shijiu shiji Bali de xiandai zhuyi yu dushi wenhua (Chinese translation of Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Mary Gluck, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005). Hefei: Anhui jiaoyu chubanshe, 2009, 237 pp