Field: Chinese Literature
Advisor: Shang Wei
Allison is a Ph.D. candidate in premodern Chinese literature, focusing on the Ming and Qing periods. Her research interests include the intersections of literary and historical writing, book history and print culture, and the world of Chinese theater. Her dissertation engages the literary world of Kong Shangren’s seminal historical drama The Peach Blossom Fan, using the play and its network of related texts to examine ideological resonances among stage, society, and writerly legacy. The dissertation begins by assessing connections between theater and politics in Kong’s work, framed through its engagement with the notorious politician and playwright Ruan Dacheng, and Ruan’s infamous romantic comedy, The Swallow Letter. The project then considers some of the diverse discursive contexts in which Kong situated his play: its connections and responses to Tang Xianzu and the Linchuan drama school; how issues of history writing and historical legacy are figured in chuanqi drama; and Kong’s own expertise in ritual and music, which is closely tied to his family background as a member of the Confucian Kong lineage. Before joining Columbia’s PhD program in the fall of 2012, Allison received her BA from Middlebury College in Chinese and History (2010), and an MA from Columbia’s EALAC department in Chinese Literature (2012). She also has research interests in Japanese literature and theater, poetry, art history, translation, and media studies.