Skip to:

Renren Yang


Focal Groups:

User is not a member of any group.

Research Groups:

User is not a member of any group.

Affinity links:

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

Renren Yang

Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature
1st-yr Mandarin Instructor (2012-2013)
Teaching assistant for "
COMPLIT 122: Literature as Performance: The Potentials of Theater" (2014-15 Winter), "COMPLIT/ENGLISH/FRENCH 168: Imagining the Oceans" (2014-15 Spring), "CHINGEN138/238 COMPLIT 104: Love, Passion, and Politics in Chinese Film" (2015-16 Winter), "China in the World: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Literature" A Graduate Seminar in the Stanford Center at Peking University (2017 Summer)
Sophomore College Assistant (SCA) for "CHINGEN/COMPLIT 10SC: The Cult of Happiness: Pursuing the Good Life in America and China" (2015 Summer)

Born and raised in China, Renren Yang received his M.A. and B.A. in English and a B.L. (double degree) in Sociology at Peking University before he joined the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. He specializes in 20th and 21st century Chinese literature, film, and popular culture with an emphasis on literary and media analysis. Currently he is working on a dissertation entitled A Media Genealogy of Literary Fame in Modern China: Paper, Stage, Screen, and Sphere, a study on the changing notions of celebrity authorship in modern China with the ongoing shift from the print to digital regime of letters. Other research interests include hero and heroism in world literature, time-travel imagination, surveillance 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. (link:

“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. (link:

(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. (link:


Conference Presentations

“Dungeon, Panopticon, Corporation/Mass Media: Modes of Surveillance.” Media Studies Workshop in the Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture at Peking University hosted by Prof. Dai Jinhua, November 22, 2016.

“What does it mean to be Chinese?” Invited talk, Speaker Series at the Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford (FACES), May 13, 2016.

“Time and Temporalities in Time-travel Historical Romances in Contemporary China.” A talk at the Center for the study of the Novel and the Working Group on the Novel, Stanford, April 12, 2016.

Dissertation Proposal, “Dynamics of Authorship in Digital China,” 2016 AAS (Association for Asian Studies) Dissertation Workshop on “Social and Political Implications of New Media in Asia,” Seattle, 2016 March 28-31.

“Secrecy and Spectacle: Dystopian Narratives of Surveillance in Contemporary China.” in the panel: New Security State: Surveillance, Counter-Surveillance and Strategies of Resistance; 2016 ACLA Annual Conference, Boston, March 17-20.

“The Lure of the Tarim River: A Disappeared Internet Novel and its Performative Authorship” in AACS (American Association of Chinese Studies) 57th Annual Conference, Houston, October 9-11, 2015.

“ ‘Buried Alive in History’: Poetics and Ethics of Time-travel Historical Narrative in Contemporary China” in ACLA 2015 Annual Conference, Seattle, March 26-29, 2015.

“The ‘Misappropriation’ of the Knight-errant Imagery in Ding Ling’s and Yu Dafu’s narrative of Sexualized Hero(ine).” The Third Annual East Asian Studies Symposium, Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford, June 5, 2014.

“Probing a Unified Consciousness through Impressionistic Text,” the panel “Impression of Beauty on the Self” in Impression & Object-A Conference on Critical Theory. Department of Comparative Literature, Graduate Center, City University of New York, March 28, 2014.

“Legacy Hunting: Superstition as Indigenous Articulation and Performance,” the panel “The Constellation of Capitals and Capital in Chinese Literature” in ACLA 2014 Conference. New York University, March 20-23, 2014.

“Shen Congwen’s ‘Border Town’: an Aestheticized Jungle,” Ignite Talks, Urban/Jungle DLCL Graduate Student Conference, Stanford, October 26, 2012.

“To Seek and To be Sought: Transcripts Intersection in Zhao Zhenkai’s ‘13 Happiness Street’,” the First Annual East Asian Studies Symposium, the Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford, June 2012.

“Literary Depiction and Film Adaptations of the Balcony Scene in Romeo and Juliet,” The Twelfth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, June 2010.

“The Philosophy of ‘Unity of Being’ in Yeats’s Poems,” Conference on “Sino-Irish Relations: 1979-2009,” the Embassy of Ireland and Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, December 2009.

“Between Languages, Hither or Thither?—A Study of the Use of English and Academic Identities of Chinese Scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences,” The 2nd International Conference on Language Learning, Griffith University and Peking University, Beijing, April 2009; a paper awarded the 2nd Prize in the 16th “PKU Challenge Cup” Academic Competition.

“‘The Dead’: A Comparative Study of the Ambivalent Images in the Story and the Film,” Symposium on James Joyce, The Institute of Comparative Literature and World Literature at Peking University, Beijing, November 2007; an essay awarded the 2nd prize in “James Joyce Essay Competition” sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland in 2007.


Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Comparative Literature, Stanford University
M.A., English, Peking University
Master Thesis: “The Complicated Ethics of Sincerity in Conrad’s The Secret Agent” (Adviser: Prof. Dan Shen)
B.A., English; B.L., Sociology, Peking University
Senior Thesis: “Focalization and Confinement: Reading Mansfield’s Three Stories about Characters’ Psychology” (Adviser: Prof. Dan Shen)