Invoking Blackness: Racial Comparison in “Afro-China” Encounters


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants


Comparative Literature


My dissertation explores the trope of “blackness” in modern Chinese cultural productions and argues that blackness, as a signifier of the non-Western racial other, plays a significant role in mediating the Chinese imagination of nation, revolution, and global modernity. Functioning as a lasting metaphor for colonial suffering and radical resistance, blackness triangulates and reconfigures “China” and the “West” at different historical junctures. Examining geography and scientific writing about Africa, social commentary on slavery, literature by and about Africans and the African Diaspora, performance art, and visual texts, I seek to provide a more nuanced critique of anti-black racism and recover cultural resources for re-imagining co-belonging in the globalized world.