Catherine Yeh

Professor of Chinese & Comparative Literature

  • Title Professor of Chinese & Comparative Literature
  • Office STH 638A
  • Phone 617-358-1770
  • Education BA, University of California, Santa Cruz
    MA, Harvard University
    PhD, Harvard University

Catherine Yeh is the Director for the Center for the Study of Asia.

Professor Yeh’s teaching and research interests include 19th and 20th century Chinese literary, media, and visual culture. Her work has focused on the social and political implications of Chinese entertainment culture and literature, and its impact on social change in late imperial and Republican era China. In particular, she has worked and published on the lifestyle of late Qing urban literati and Shanghai courtesans in an effort to explore the role of “marginal” figures in driving modernity; the role of city guides and city maps in the formation of the overall image of a metropolis linking China with the world; the Chinese political novel and its transnational literary context; the new Chinese entertainment press and its impact on the formation of metropolitan culture and the modern star culture in particular; the relationship between fiction and the city; the formation of modern urban sensibilities in fiction and illustration; and illustration and the evolving technologies of image taking and reproducing as factors in shaping urban perception and behavior as well as reshaping stage performance.

Her book publications include the forthcoming The Chinese Political Novel: Migration of a World Genre  (Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University Press, publication date 2014). The Chinese translation of Shanghai Love: Courtesans, Intellectuals and Entertainment Culture, 1850-1910 (2012). Performing the ‘Nation’: Gender Politics in Literature, Theatre and the Visual Arts of China and Japan, 1880-1940 (Co-edited with Doris Croissant and Joshua S. Mostow (2008); Shanghai Love: Courtesans, Intellectuals and Entertainment Culture, 1850-1910 (2006). Articles published during the last five years include: “Helping Our People ‘to Jointly Hurry Along the Path to Civilization.’ The Everyday Cyclopedia, Riyong baike quanshu日用百科全書;” “Guides to a Global Paradise: Shanghai Entertainment Park Newspapers and the Invention of Chinese Urban Leisure;” “Politics, Art and Eroticism: The Female Impersonator as the National Cultural Symbol of Republican China.” “Shanghai Leisure, Print Entertainment, and the Tabloids, Xiaobao.” “China, a Man in the Guise of an Upright Female: Photography, the Art of the Hands, and Mei Lanfang’s 1930 Visit to the United States;” “The Press and the Rise of Peking Opera Singer as National Star: The Case of Theater Illustrated (1912-17).” She is currently completing the project: The Rise of the Chinese Actor to National Stardom: The Female Impersonator and the Cultural Transformation of Modern China (1910s-1930s).

She is the recipient of a Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellow grant at the Boston University Center for the Humanities; German Research Foundation project grants, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation project grants, and a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship.

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