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Aaron Gilkison

Aaron Gilkison

In my dissertation, “Wen and Wu: The Figure of the Soldier and the Limits of Violence in PRC Culture,” I aim to challenge current understandings of PRC political culture, provide an immanent critique of PRC state violence from within the PRC's own premodern and socialist traditions, and reveal potential critical resources for addressing global environmental injustice from a non-western, ecocritical standpoint. To do so, I explore the reception in PRC culture of premodern warrior depictions, including those from frontier poetry, historical accounts, and novels. By putting theories of political theology into conversation with ecocriticism and Neo-Confucianist ideas on the continuity of being in Chinese culture, I contend that the incorporation of such depictions into the figure of the modern soldier reflects a particular PRC mode of modern state violence.

In addition to my dissertation research, I have pursued extensive coursework in second language pedagogy, have taught Mandarin Chinese as a second language at the university and high school levels, and am currently teaching Mandarin Chinese as an Assistant Professor at the United States Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. 


Research Interests

Research Area(s)
Field of Interest
Chinese, Premodern Chinese