Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
As a scholar of literary, film, and cultural studies, Jie Li’s research interests center on the mediation of memories in modern China. Her first book, Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (Columbia, 2014), excavates a century of memories embedded in two alleyway neighborhoods destined for demolition. Her current book project, Utopian Ruins: A Memory Museum of the Mao Era, explores contemporary cultural memories of the 1950s to the 1970s through textual, audiovisual, and material artifacts, including police files, photographs, documentary films, and museums. Li has co-edited a volume entitled Red Legacies: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Harvard Asia Center, 2016). Two ongoing research projects deal with the transnational cinematic history of Manchuria and mobile movie projection units from the 1930s to the 1990s. Li’s recent publications in journals and edited volumes include: “Discolored Vestiges of History: Black-and-White in the Age of Color Cinema” (Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 2012), “A National Cinema for a Puppet State: The Manchurian Motion Picture Association (Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, 2013), “Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940” (positions: east asia cultures critique, 2014), and “From Landlord Manor to Red Memorabilia: Reincarnations of a Chinese Museum Town” (Modern China, forthcoming).
Li earned an A.B. in East Asian Studies at Harvard, and studied English literature at the University of Cambridge and German literature at the University of Heidelberg before returning to Harvard for a Ph.D., earned in 2010 in modern Chinese literature and film studies. In 2012-2013 she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Li teaches courses on East Asian Cinema and on Chinese media cultures.