Field: Chinese Literature
Advisor: Lydia Liu
Christopher graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Chinese & History and Chinese Literature, respectively. His research interests are focused on Tibetan literary writing – primarily Tibetan-language texts, but also Chinese-language literature about Tibet written by both ethnically Tibetan and ethnically Han authors. His dissertation aims to tackle some of the major questions that arise from considering Tibetan literature in the context of the modern Chinese literary and national spheres. Beginning with late-Qing and Republican-era conceptions of ethnicity, race, nation, and state, particularly the discourse of ‘national character’ and the work of Lu Xun, his project sets out to question assumptions about the meanings and implications of these key ideas in modern China. The bulk of the dissertation goes on to explore Tibetan literary and intellectual nationalism from the 1980s onward. It examines, among other issues, how Tibetan intellectuals have deconstructed and re-purposed Chinese nationalist discourses to create their own iterations of ethnicity and nation, and how in doing so they have complicated our understanding of these notions both in the present day and throughout modern Tibetan and Chinese (literary) history. In addition to his research, Christopher also works on translations of modern Tibetan literary texts.