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Renren Yang


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20th and 21st century Chinese literature and culture
world literature
theories of authorship
narrative theory
hybrid genres
literature and performance

Renren Yang

Ph.D. in Comparative Literature
Lecturer in Program in Writing and Rhetoric (2018-19 Fall, Spring), "From Hero to Celebrity: the Rhetoric of Fame"
Lecturer in Thinking Matters (2018-19 Winter), "Understanding China through Film"
1st-yr Mandarin Instructor (2012-2013)
Sophomore College Assistant (SCA) for "The Cult of Happiness: Pursuing the Good Life in America and China" (2015 Summer)
Teaching assistant for "Literature as Performance: The Potentials of Theater" (2014-15 Winter), "Imagining the Oceans" (2014-15 Spring), "Love, Passion, and Politics in Chinese Film" (2015-16 Winter), "China in the World: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Literature" a seminar in the Stanford Center at Peking University (2017 Summer)

Renren Yang's teaching and research span 20th-and 21st-century Chinese literature, film, and popular culture with a focus on literary and media analysis. His dissertation, A Media Genealogy of Literary Fame in Modern China: Paper, Stage, Screen, and Sphere, is a study on the changing concepts, practices, and politics of celebrity authorship in modern China with the ongoing shift from the print to the digital regime of letters. Among the notable authors this project analyzed are the self-proclaimed genius Eileen Chang, the Communist “model” writer Zhao Shuli, the cynical celebrity author Han Han, and the industrious serial storyteller Tangjia sanshao. This study has implications for not only the field of modern Chinese literature and culture, but also for sociological and anthropological studies of literary celebrity and social media. His other research interests include time-travel imagination in East Asia, surveillance narrative and cinema, and the materialities of communication in the age of digital culture.



Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Taiwanese, Spanish, Japanese



“Discreet Camera-Eye, Spectacle, and Stranger Sociality: On the Shift to Prosumer Digital Surveillance in China.” Included in Surveillance in Asian Cinema: Under Eastern Eyes edited by Karen Fang, London & New York: Routledge (Routledge Advances in Film Studies Series), 2017: 245-68. 

“Buried Alive in History: Poetics, Politics and Ethics of Time in Startling by Each Step (Bubu jingxin) and Other Chinese Time-Travel Historical Romances.” Frontier of Literary Studies in China, 2016 10(4): 699-742.

(Co-author) “Between Languages, Hither or Thither? A Study of the Use of English and Academic Identities of Chinese Scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences,” in Linguistic Research (Issue 7), Institute of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics of Peking University, ed. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2009: 181-90. 


Selected Awards and Fellowships

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow, the Stanford Humanities Center (2017-18) 
Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Stanford Humanities Center (2016-17) 
China Times Cultural Foundation Scholarship for Dissertation Research (2017)
Stanford Asian American Award in Research/Teaching (2017)
SC-PKU (Stanford Center at Peking University) Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2016)
Stanford Graduate Research Opportunity Grant (2015)
Stanford CEAS (Center for East Asian Studies) Summer Grant (2014, 2016)
Leo Koguan Scholarship, Peking University (2010)
Committee of 100 Leadership Scholarship Program Award (2008-09)
The 2nd Prize in James Joyce Essay Competition, Embassy of Ireland and the Institute of Comparative Literature and World Literature, Peking University (2007)


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Stanford University
Dissertation: "A Media Genealogy of Literary Fame in Modern China: Paper, Stage, Screen, and Sphere"
M.A., English, Peking University
Master Thesis: “The Complicated Ethics of Sincerity in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent
B.A., English; B.L., Sociology, Peking University
Senior Thesis: “Focalization and Confinement: Reading Katherine Mansfield’s Three Stories about Characters’ Psychology”