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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. 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)
Sophomore College Assistant (SCA) for "CHINGEN/COMPLIT 10SC: The Cult of Happiness: Pursuing the Good Life in America and China" (2015 Summer)

Renren Yang began his doctoral studies in the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford in the fall of 2011. He was born and raised in Xiangtan, China and received his M.A. and B.A. in English Literature and a B.L. (Double Degree) in Sociology from Peking University. He has been interested in hero and heroism in world literature, theories of authorship, literary genres (especially the novel and the drama), and literature in the age of digital culture. With a concentration on modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, his studies also attend to the late 19th and early 20th century British, American and French prose fictions. Currently he is working on a dissertation on the transformation of authorship in contemporary China with the rise of digital and social media.


Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, French, Spanish, Japanese


(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.


Conference Presentations

“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.


2011, Sep.-Present        PhD Candidate, Department of Comparative Literature, Stanford
2008, Sep.-2011, Jul.     M.A. in English, Department of English, Peking University
Master Thesis: “The Complicated Ethics of Sincerity in Conrad’s The Secret Agent” (Adviser: Prof. Dan Shen)
2004, Sep.-2008, Jul.     B.A. in English, Department of English, Peking University
Senior Thesis: “Focalization and Confinement: Reading Mansfield’s Three Stories about Characters’ Psychology” (Adviser: Prof. Dan Shen)
2004, Sep.-2008, Jul.     B.L. in Sociology (Double Degree), Department of Sociology, PKU