Ph.D., Harvard University
M.A., Columbia University
B.A. (First Class Honours), National University of Singapore
As an interdisciplinary scholar of literature and religion, I am interested in the interconnection between Buddhism and modern Chinese literary and intellectual history, as well as in writing as an epistemological and spiritual quest. My current project, “Shadows of Karma: Buddhism, Literature, and the Modern Chinese Revolution,” examines the Buddhist contribution to an overlapping series of revolutions in late nineteenth-century to mid-twentieth-century China through the lens of literature and thought. Whereas the received narrative of China’s modern transformation remains largely a secular story, I argue otherwise. My study illuminates a shared horizon of meaning between Buddhism-inspired progressive intellectuals (such as Liang Qichao and Lu Xun) and reform-minded Buddhists (such as Taixu and Ouyang Jingwu) at a juncture of radical epistemic openness in the midst of escalating momentum for change. In tracing the Buddhist face of modern Chinese literature, my work unveils at the same time a different, and revolutionary, face of modern Chinese Buddhism.
I teach courses in Chinese literature and Buddhist literature. I offer introductory surveys that encompass the full span of Chinese literature, temporally from antiquity to the present as well as geographically from mainland China to the Sinophone world. My upper-level seminars, such as “Buddhist Stories from Modern East Asia” and “Lu Xun and Modern China,” are designed to help students gain critical sensitivity to the complexities of literary events and methodological awareness in the study of Asian cultures. In one way or another, my courses celebrate literature as a form of historical engagement, a vehicle for spiritual reflection, and an arena for intellectual exchange. Paying close attention to how ideas and ideals shape the choices of historical actors, I hope to enable students to learn about as well as to learn from the Asian thinkers and writers.
Selected Awards and Honors
Presidential Scholar, Harvard University, 2011-2018.
GSAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Harvard University, 2017-2018.
China Times Young Scholar Award, 2016.
Merit/Graduate Society Term-time Research Fellowship, Harvard University, 2016-2017.
Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Research Grant, Harvard University, 2015.
Tan Kah Kee Gold Medal, National University of Singapore, 2005.