Yuqian Yan received her Ph.D. in the joint program of Cinema and Media Studies and East Asian Studies from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses primarily on the issue of historical representation and the dissemination of cultural memory in China. She examines Chinese modernity and the modern medium of cinema through the persistence of tradition.
She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled The Past Re-envisioned: The Enchanting Power of Ancient Costume Films in Republican China. Stemming from the inquiry “how cinema changed the way the historical past was imagined and remembered,” this project investigates the birth of ancient costume films in 1920s China and the revival of the genre during the war. It situates the cinematic representation of the ancient in a broad context of scientific research on ancient material culture, theater reformations, and political turmoil and war, emphasizing both the specificity of cinema in creating worlds of the ancient and the genre’s close connection with mixed attitudes towards China’s past in modern time.
Her research and teaching interests also include Chinese performance culture, contemporary Chinese documentary, espionage film, media and technology, and spectatorship.