Graduate Students

Ph.D. Students

Taranee Yuning  Cao

Taranee Cao is a PhD candidate specializing in Japanese linguistics, and her dissertation investigates the factors influencing usages of honorifics and how honorifics should be taught. Topics of her previous projects include Japanese youth language (wakamonokotoba) and acquisition of Japanese mimetics. In general, she is interested in pragmatics, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, and language teaching. She is certified in ACTFL OPI testing and is currently serving as a Graduate Teaching Consultant.

Yan Chang’s current project centers on trans-linguality, trans-culture, and trans-nationality in post-Cold War Japanophone literature. His academic concerns also include visuality and modernity of modern Japanese literature in the Taisho period as well as Shanghai urbanization and the concomitant media representations in the 1990s.

I am a Ph.D. candidate in modern Chinese literature. My current research involves the image of the soldier in Chinese culture. In particular, I focus on how representations of moral injury operate within the interrelated discourses of revolution, nation, and gender in twentieth and twenty-first century war narratives.

In addition to my research, I have pursued extensive coursework in second language pedagogy and have taught Chinese as a second language at the university and high school levels.

Elise Huerta

My dissertation, Untouchable: On the Cultural Politics of Hands in Modern China, aims to produce new understandings of intimacy, alienation, labor, and violence in the modern era through the interdisciplinary study of tactile culture. The project explores the many powers invested in human hands through narrative, taking a particular interest in the discourses and social mechanisms that contribute to the construction of "untouchable" people and groups. My research is supported by a Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in 2021-2022 and an AAUW American Fellowship in 2022-2023.

My broader fields of interest are pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology. I investigate into mundane discourse which facilitate hegemonic power structures in a variety of spaces. My study aims at shedding light on such ideological phenomena in various social spaces and to re-think how each individual can empower those who are often marginalized from such hegemonic discourse. I'm looking forward to working with scholars from trans-disciplinary perspectives to eventually make my research accessible to audience from diverse socio-cultural background. In my free time, I do love cooking different types of world's cuisine following YouTube cooking videos. I also enjoy music and singing as well.

Qian Jia is a Ph.D. candidate of premodern Chinese studies, specializing in middle-period literature and culture, sensory studies, material culture, knowledge production, intellectual history, and regional studies. Her dissertation investigates the birth of incense culture in Song dynasty China, answering two questions: “How did it smell?” and “why did it matter?”  

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Akira (pronouns: she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in Japanese. Her dissertation project explores the intersection between queerness and disability in modern and contemporary Japanese literature.

Maciej Kurzynski
Maciej Kurzynski is a Ph.D. Candidate in modern Chinese literature. His dissertation, entitled “Words of Passion: Narrative Technologies of Modern China,” employs methods of cognitive and computational criticism to explore the relationship between human cognition and the formal side of narratives.

Background: B.A in Chemistry (2019), M.A. in Archaeometry (2022)

Research Interests: Origins of civilization; ancient alcohol beverages; ancient ceramics

Hobbies: Liquor; travel; ball games.

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Sijia Li is a Ph. D. student in medieval Chinese literature and literary culture, focusing on textual production, transmission, and reception. Also interested in premodern Japanese literature, she is curious about cultural exchange across East Asia.

Bingxiao Liu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research interests include premodern Chinese literature, cultural and intellectual history; gender and sexuality; emotions, literary and political culture. Her research examines how emotions are invoked or invented to constitute interpersonal ties in 3rd - 6th century China. Working with official histories, commentaries, inscriptions, and literary works, her project explores the reconceptualization of identity and community in emotive terms and the signification of emotion as the legitimizing basis for a new social order in medieval China.

Bingxiao received her MA in Chinese Language and Culture from Stanford University. She also holds a BA in Chinese Language and literature, and a BA in Journalism from Fudan University.

Tianlin Meng Walsh

My dissertation revolves around the genre of zuihitsu in Japan during the first half of the 20th century. I read the protean literary form in relation to subjectivity, coloniality, the act of travelling, and print capitalism.

Andrew Patrick Nelson

My research is motivated by two primary areas of inquiry: first, to what extent can methods in linguistic science be applied to historical documents to recover a speaker/writer intent and reader/listener interpretation? Second, in what ways are language changes perceived, categorized, and valorized; in what ways do those perceptions, categories, and values shape language ideology; and in what ways does language ideology in turn change language use? My work brings together methods in psycholinguistics, semantics, and pragmatics in analyzing texts on language written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with Japanese texts as a primary case study, but also leveraging sources in English, French, and German for a transnational perspective.

I am currently a Digital Humanities Graduate Fellow with the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis. My research employs methods from natural language processing to examine the occurrence and context of political neologisms in Japanese metropolitan and diaspora newspapers to expose the early instability of those terms and their subsequent shifts in meaning over time and space. 

Prior to joining the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford, I completed a Master’s degree in East Asian Regional Studies at Columbia University. My thesis contextualized representations of foreigners and foreign places in Japanese junior high school textbooks within the broader history of internationalization in the public school system.

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I research the intersection of Japanese literary modernism and Natsume Soseki. Other interests include Meiji and Taisho Era literatures, the history of literary criticism in Japan, 20th century literary theory and the theory of the novel.
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Research interests: pragmatics, semantics, sociolinguistics, 役割語 (role language)

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from University of Nigeria and my Master’s degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from Sichuan University China. I am particularly interested in Chinese literatures and look forward to an increased knowledge and appreciation of the Chinese literatures and culture during the course of this program. Additionally, I am interested in second language acquisition. I speak both English and Chinese language fluently. During my years in China, I have taught both Chinese and English as second languages at the elementary and intermediate levels. Outside school and work, I enjoy cooking, dancing and traveling.

Matthew Palmer

Hello! I'm Matthew Palmer (he/him/his), a Ph.D. candidate in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a Ph.D. minor in Linguistics. I am fluent in English, Modern Standard Chinese (Mandarin), and Japanese. My research focuses on the intersection between corpus linguistics and computer-assisted language learning. Outside of the office, I enjoy exercise, meditation, and moviegoing.

Jie Shen works in Chinese archaeology and osteoarchaeology, especially focusing on exploring the technology of bone artefacts with experimental archaeology methods. Jie’s master’s thesis worked on the decorative techniques of Basket pattern (篮纹) in the Qijia Culture and did a series of replicate experiments.

Ya-Ting Tsai’s primary research interests lie at Chinese linguistics and culture. She is particularly interested in how socio-political separation between China and Taiwan leads to cultural change, and how this difference is manifested in her mother tongues, Taiwanese and Taiwan Mandarin.

Katherine Whatley
My research focuses on how gender informs music and literature in premodern Japan. Through studying the koto—Japanese transverse harp—and Japanese pre-modern music more generally, I examine the intersection of gender and music in the Heian period, and the transcultural interactions between Japan and East Asia during the pre-modern era. My methodology is necessarily transdisciplinary: combining literary analysis, musicology, and the study of material culture in order to understand the function of music in the premodern era. It is also feminist in nature; I study musical motifs and gender roles in Heian-era literary works, combined with feminist analysis to understand how women expressed their emotions and related to the world around them through music and writing. Through focusing on music and gender, I seek the voices the voices of those who have long been forgotten. I hope to amplify the connections between cultures and peoples, relationships that are not always heard.

My research focuses on portrayals of masculinity in literature and other representational media in transhistorical and cross-cultural contexts as well as on fandom formations and viewership’s engagement with media-mix. Prior to joining the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford, I received BA in Japanese from University of Oxford. In my undergraduate dissertation, I explored how the auditory mode and the intervals of kamishibai art contribute to the creation of a diegetic process. During my year abroad at Kobe University, I studied the concept of ma in Japanese politics, the use of negative space in rock gardens, and the role of silence in soundscapes. My methodology combines approaches from media, film, and reader-response theory.

Yanping Lu

Medieval Chinese literature and history, Chinese shi poetry, gender studies in medieval China

Lingjia Xu

Lingjia Xu is a Ph.D. student in modern Chinese literature, film, and media studies. She also holds a Ph.D. minor in Art History from Stanford. Before starting her Ph.D., Lingjia obtained her B.A. in Chinese Language from Fudan University and her M.A. in Chinese from Stanford. She is currently working on craftsmanship, labor, and technology in East Asia. In addition, Lingjia has side interests in science fiction studies, design history, ecological studies, and popular culture. 

Shuwen Yang received her B.A. in Comparative Literature and German from the University of Hong Kong and M.A. in East Asian Studies from UCLA. Her master's thesis focuses on Chinese Science Fiction and participatory culture. She is also interested in Film Studies, Trauma and Memory Studies and Post-Colonial Studies, and hopes to explore more about her future research at Stanford.

MA Students

Hi, my name is Cynthia and ostrich is my nickname~ I am interested in film and media studies, especially in the context of contemporary China. I want to explore the role of feelings and emotions in Chinese cinema, and ethnographic research will always be my prior choice! And don't forget feminism, as I'd love to discuss the topic in different realms such as mass media and popular culture.

Before coming to Stanford, Yihan earned her Bachelor of Art in Sociology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Yihan’s family business is one of the biggest French fries suppliers to McDonald’s and Burger King in greater Asia. Coming from the potato-farming industry, having grown up in China, then completed her studies in the US, she has developed a renewed curiosity about her mother tongue’s linguistic roots and morphologies. She wishes to rediscover a vital part of her identity, not just merely through her own perspective as a Chinese national, but also via a rigorous academic and research lens that pushes her to dive deeper into the social and cultural contexts that have transformed the language over the thousands of years of its evolution. Her future research assesses the cultural reasons behind the use of different linguistic status symbols by generation Z in mainland China.

I am a MA in Chinese student and my research interests lie at the intersection between traditional Chinese cultural and social history(especially late imperial period), modern and post-modern social and cultural theories, and gender studies. Currently I focus on the genealogy of traditional Chinese masculinity and femininity in different historical periods. Before coming to Stanford, my first major in Tsinghua University is Sociology, and I also get a second major degree in Economics, and a minor degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics).

I am a Chinese international student majoring in Japanese. I have been studying overseas since 2014, lived in Sydney for two years, and finished my high school life there. After I came to the U.S, I studied at San Jose State University. I have majored in Japanese, minored in Computer Science, and received an undergraduate TESOL certificate. In my undergraduate years, I was the volunteer TA of Tae Kwon Do courses from 2019 to 2020, and also the volunteer TA of Japanese elementary courses from 2020 to 2021. As for community activities, I was the president of the Chinese Student Association at SJSU from 2018 to 2019. I am interested in Japanese sociolinguistics, East Asian language teaching, and second language acquisition. I have experience in researching Japanese internet slang, Japanese business manner & social communication, and Japanese learning through media. In the future, I am looking forward to studying Japanese linguistics from different angles as well as other East Asian languages. Regarding my career goal, I want to become a language instructor and make contributions to East Asian language teaching in the U.S. As far as my hobbies, I like Japanese ACG cultures and I have volunteer experience in Japanese and Chinese translation such as making subtitles and article translation for 2 years. I also like playing the guitar and trying to write my own songs as well.

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Kaia Johnson grew up in the Bay Area and studied Chinese Language and Psychology at UC Berkeley. She is excited to continue her studies at Stanford. Her research interests focus on gender and sexuality in late imperial literature. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, and writing and playing music.

Avivi Wang completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Cornell University in May 2022. At Stanford, she hopes to continue exploring Chinese ritual bronzes as well as porcelain, she also hopes to deep dive into the idea of using AI tech to showcase the intricacy of Chinese archaeology. Some of Avivi’s hobbies include traveling, Soulcycle, and photography.

I received my B.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. I am interested in modern Japanese literature and modern Chinese literature, and I am looking forward to conducting comparative projects at Stanford. My current and prospective research interests include: rhetorics of negation in modern East Asian literature; de-aestheticization of tragedy and parody-writing; writing in the mentality of gendered others; translingual readership.

Weiting (“Crystal”) Yu is a master’s student of modern and contemporary Chinese literature with an interest in comparative literature. Before coming to Stanford, she completed her B.A. in Chinese language and literature at Fudan University in June 2021. Currently learning French, she wishes to study the influence of Francophone and Anglophone literatures on Chinese literature during the modern period. Specific topics she wishes to explore include Romanticism and its influence, global modernisms, and ecocriticism. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and watercolor painting. 

My research interests lie at the intersection between mass media, visual culture and gender studies, particularly focusing on how mass media shapes the reality of modern women in China and the imagination towards them. Other interests include technological fetishism, ecocriticism and feminism.  

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My study focuses on premodern Chinese history and literature. Currently, I am interested in representations of space in texts and images in the making of religion, aesthetics, and knowledge in premodern China.