My second book project studies how Qing-dynasty Chinese literature portrays oceans and exotic islands in the Malay Archipelago and beyond, and how inter-literary exchange happened in the maritime terrains. It aims to tell a new story of literary history on the move, from the perspective of the sea, the unknown, and the uncertainty.

My first book Writing Pirates: Vernacular Fiction and Oceans in Late Ming China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, June 2021) connects Chinese literary production to emerging discourses of pirates and the sea. In the late Ming dynasty, so-called “Japanese pirates” raided southeast coastal China, Hideyoshi invaded Korea, Europeans sailed for overseas territories, and Chinese maritime merchants and emigrants founded diaspora communities in Southeast Asia. Travel writings, histories, and fiction of the period jointly narrated pirates and China’s Orient in maritime Asia. I show that the late Ming discourses of pirates and the sea were fluid, ambivalent, and dialogical: they simultaneously entailed imperialistic and personal narratives of the “other:” foreigners, renegades, migrants, and marginalized authors. At the center of the discourses, early modern concepts of empire, race, and authenticity were intensively negotiated. Connecting late Ming literature to the global maritime world, Writing pirates expands current discussions of Chinese diaspora and debates on Sinophone language and identity. 

Grants, Honors, and Awards have supported the book Writing Pirates along the way, from the very beginning of its conceptualization in graduate school to its final completion and publication: AAS Dissertation Workshop (2011), Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre Junior Research Fellowship (2011), SSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship for Transregional Research (2013-2014), Harvard-Yenching Library Travel Grant (2017), UGA Faculty Research Grant (2018), UGA Willson Center Research Fellowship (2019), Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation For International Scholarly Exchange Scholar Grant (2019), UGA First book subvention Award (2019), the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation Publication Subvention Award (2020).