Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Baoli Yang

2021–22 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature
Project "The Literary Strata of Imperial Borders: Sinoscript Literature and its Encounters in the Tang Era"
Last updated August 9, 2022, based on June 2021 biographical sketch


Baoli Yang is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature, where she primarily focuses on medieval Sinoscript literature and its modern repercussions, manuscript culture, Chinese poetics, empire studies, and Silk Road studies. She incorporates state-of-art developments in digital humanities into her research, hoping to illuminate the effects of distant reading and discover larger patterns of medieval literary phenomena. A multilingual and interdisciplinary scholar, she has received fellowships from the Watson Institute’s China Initiative and the Harvard-Yenching Institute to support her research. She is currently working on her dissertation “Literary Strata of Imperial Borders: Sinoscript Culture and Its Encounters Around the 8th Century.” Incorporating various genres from poetry, historiographies, and prosimetric texts to travelogues found in manuscripts, steles, and transmitted texts, her project discusses the interdiscursivity of imaginary “borders” and “frontiers” in literary works mainly written in the middle Chinese in the context of Afro-Eurasian transcontinental connectivity. Her approach to this research challenges modernist assumptions in Sinophone studies and reveals cultural imperialism as well as its consequences in medieval Asia. She contends that cultural exchanges in medieval Eurasia enabled a Chinese cultural rejuvenation by redrawing geographical, gender, ethnic, and other boundaries of the cultural self and other.