Field: Japanese Literature
Advisor: Haruo Shirane
Yiwen is a Ph.D. candidate in premodern Japanese literature. Her research interests include Japanese and Chinese literature, with particular focus on the literary and visual analyses of the netherworld and influential death-related icons. Her dissertation examines the literary representations of women in hell in late medieval Japanese popular narratives. The project engages a group of otogizōshi texts and hell paintings, looking into a constellation of new hells emerged in the late Muromachi period that had serious ramifications for women to examine how representations of female body, borders, and motherhood evolved during the transition from the late medieval to the early modern period. The dissertation also considers the differences between China and Japan in terms of the understandings of marginality, purification, and how this world relates with other world. Before joining Columbia’s PhD program in the fall of 2013, Yiwen received her B.A. in Chinese Literature from Fudan University, Shanghai (2008), M.A. in Japanese Literature from Columbia (2011), and M.A. in Chinese Literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012).