A tight-knit community with a global reach
The graduate programs in Chinese at Washington University are now in their fifth decade of growth. In addition to the MA in Chinese and the PhD in Chinese and comparative literature, in 2010 we initiated the doctoral program in Chinese language and literature wholly housed in this Department. After thirty-five years of successful programs combining the advanced study of Chinese literature with courses offered through the university’s doctoral program in comparative literature, we now offer the option of a doctoral program that emphasizes deep training in Chinese literature with a second field in another East Asian literature or in Chinese studies in another discipline.
Among our internationally-recognized Chinese literature faculty, our research strengths are in premodern poetry, religious and women’s writings, narrative and dramatic literature of the late imperial period, and modern and contemporary literature from all parts of greater China. Our research areas include book culture, gender questions, popular culture, translation theory and practice, and globalization and cosmopolitanism. Our East Asian Library has substantial collections in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and European languages, along with the major online resources for research in these areas. As one national literature program among many at WashU, our students are regularly treated to lectures by noted writers and literary scholars from around the world. Recent visitors have included Salman Rushdie, Homi Bhabha, Helen Vendler, Orhan Pamuk, and Slavoj Žižek. Among our 2010 Chinese visitors were Ma Dazheng from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, and Jiang Jin, East China Normal University, Shanghai.
Studying Chinese at WashU
Students in our programs will take a combination of advanced courses and seminars in Chinese literature, in literary theory and analysis to enhance their investigative skills, and in Chinese history and other fields to strengthen their grasp of the contexts in which literature was historically written and read. Most students will also gain teaching experience during their years of study; some may wish to take a graduate certificate as well. Our faculty are few, but all work closely with students through courses and research as well. Consequently our program has had outstanding success in placing our graduates in doctoral study (after the MA) or in academic positions (after the PhD).
As WashU’s institutional affiliations with Chinese universities grow and develop, our students have ever more chances to meet and to work with top faculty in East Asia. Recent visiting scholars include Professors Wang Ning of Tsinghua University and Guo Yingde of Beijing Normal University. Our doctoral candidates have regularly carried out research in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Taipei with financial aid from the university.