Liang Luo

  • Associate Professor, Chinese Studies
  • Faculty Director, International Village Living and Learning Program
  • Chinese Studies
  • Folklore & Mythology
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • International Film Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Social Theory
1453 Patterson Office Tower (physical address), 1055 Patterson Office Tower (mailing address)
859-257-9139, 859-257-3743 (fax)
Other Affiliations:
  • International Village LLP
Research Interests:

Spring 2017 Office Hours:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm and by email appointment

Patterson Office Tower Room 1453


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

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

B. A. Chinse 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 ten 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. 


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 fifteen 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 and web project, The Legend of the White Snake: From Folk Tales to Popular Culture, 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, Joris Ivens, 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 and Fellowships

  • 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


          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)           

Selected Articles

  • "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 (accepted)  
  • "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

  • 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). 
  • 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
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