Candidate Statement for Ming and Qing Forum Executive Committee Member Election

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    Li Guo

    Dear Members of the Executive Committee of MLA Ming and Qing LLC Forum,

    My name is Li Guo. I am an associate professor of Chinese at Utah State University and a candidate running for the MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Studies Executive Committee. Below I offer a brief review of my research interests, my previous and ongoing organizational work for MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Studies Forum, and my goals for enhancing the impact and visibility of the Ming and Qing Chinese Forum at MLA.

    I. Research background

    My research specialization is in late imperial to early twentieth century Chinese women’s narratives. I investigate how women’s late imperial and modern folk narratives provide repositories of feminine consciousness and project universal aesthetic values for a global audience. I specialize in women’s tanci fiction 彈詞小說, or chantefable novels, that sprouted from southern Chinese oral traditions and was utilized by late imperial women as a female-oriented genre of self-expression. A representative research outcome is a reviewed monograph, Women’s Tanci Fiction in Late Imperial and Early Twentieth-Century China, which was published by Purdue University Press in 2015. Currently I am preparing a second book tentatively titled Women and War Narratives from Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Century China. This new project explores how late imperial and early republican women authors depict war and warfare as a feminine experience through writing. I analyze how these women-oriented and often utopian narratives introduce readers to a rich and understudied aspect of late imperial women’s fiction. These narratives, through a gendered point of view, enrich late imperial literati discourses about nation and self-representation, and project diverse ideals of the nation-state.

    II. Organizational experience at MLA

    I have served as a member of the initial executive committee of the MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Forum in 2015, and have participated along with current executive committee members with preparing the petition for a Ming Qing forum, collecting colleagues’ signatures and endorsements, and advocating the importance of Ming and Qing studies on a platform of language and literature studies broader than region-specific organizations. The petition was successfully completed and approved by the MLA. This positive outcome of the committee members’ collective work led to the visible growth of Ming and Qing studies panels at MLA in 2016, with multiple panels selected and accepted for the 2017 convention.

    My most recent organizational work at MLA includes preparation of two accepted special sessions in 2017: 1) Transforming the Canon: Ming Qing Women in Literary Discourses, which has been selected for inclusion for the presidential theme for MLA 2017, 2) Gender Dynamics and Discourses of the Nation-State in Late Imperial Trans-Asian Contexts, in which I will present a paper titled “Gendering the Nation-State: Revisiting Nineteenth-Century Chinese Women’s Tanci.” These two panels are organized closely on the theme of gender and women’s studies in pre-1900 East Asia, and will be conducted as intensive workshops for preparation of publication in edited special issues.

    III. Goals and objectives

    My dedicated research interest in this field as well as my rich organizational experiences have given me the scholarly practice, communication skills, and leadership qualities necessary for serving as a member of the Executive Committee for the Ming and Qing Chinese Forum at MLA. I envision the MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Forum as an instrumental and influential vehicle in enriching dialogues with existent scholarship defined by traditional area studies, as well as advocating for theoretically rigorous and innovative research works in connection with but beyond the sphere of Asian studies. If selected as an Executive Committee Member of the MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Forum, I shall continuously recruit contributors ranging from senior scholars, mid-career colleagues, to junior faculty and, importantly, a good proportion of selected advanced graduate students whose research focuses on Ming and Qing Chinese literature, history, and culture studies. I have organized conference seminars and panels on pre-1900 Chinese literature for research conferences at the international, national, and regional levels, such as the Association for Asian Studies, Rocky Mountain MLA, and West Central AAS, and I have invited doctoral candidates related to Ming Qing studies from Arizona State, the University of Oregon, the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto for presentations and found opportunities for them as chairs or organizers for such scholarly events. I have also actively engaged advanced doctoral candidates in publication endeavors by inviting them to be contributors to special issues for peer-reviewed journals. I consider the MLA Ming and Qing Chinese Forum an ideal and vigorous platform for advocating new scholarship, offering mentorship for junior scholars, and bridging the gap of communication between comparatist studies and Sinologist approaches to the studies of the rich repertoires of Ming and Qing literature and culture. The growth of Ming and Qing studies at MLA provides exciting opportunities for us to cultivate new theoretical reflections and critiques on the approaches, methodologies, and shifting discursive constructions of studies in this field, and to explore the relevance of Ming Qing studies within a broader spectrum of research for a transnational and multidisciplinary audience.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Li Guo.
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