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Publications in VIVO

Alexander, Katherine L.

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Alexander's work focuses on narratives - historical, fictional, religious - and how in the midst of disaster some reformers of the late Qing wove stories about the world they hoped to rebuild for good, even as their faith in collective goodness, and its ability to be harnessed for moral (and socio-political) restoration, faltered. If society needed to be transformed, how could people be taught when ongoing disasters were signs that they had already failed to learn? Her forthcoming book (University of Michigan Press, 2025) addresses late Qing reformer Yu Zhi's collected writings, and the texts he inspired. Through his work, we encounter extraordinary efforts motivated by the fragile-seeming hope that words can save us as the world falls apart.


selected publications


courses taught

  • ASIA 4001 - Advanced Language Co-Seminar Arts and Humanities
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023
    Acts as a Co-Seminar for advanced Asian Studies students.
  • CHIN 1012 - Introduction to Chinese Civilization
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2024
    An interdisciplinary introduction from ancient to modern times. Arts, literature, politics, social relations, religion, and material culture are studied in terms of significant themes and ideas pertaining to the civilization of China. Taught in English.
  • CHIN 1051 - Masterpieces of Chinese Literature in Translation
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021
    Surveys Chinese thought and culture through close reading and discussion of selected masterworks of Chinese literature in translation. Texts include significant works of poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as philosophical and historical writings from various eras. Taught in English.
  • CHIN 3331 - Culture and Literature of Late Imperial China
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    The late imperial period was marked by growth of great metropolitan areas, expanded urban entertainments, and an extensive popular culture. Focuses on the literature and artifacts of this urban culture as well as the hegemonic culture of the state and of traditional social codes and their literary manifestations. Also considers growing contacts with the West and the transition to the modern period. All readings are in English. Taught in English. Recommended prerequisite: CHIN 1012 or CHIN 1051.
  • CHIN 3361 - Women and the Supernatural in Chinese Literature
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2023
    Explores the relationship between the worlds of women and the supernatural in Chinese literature, from ancient to modern times. Focuses on selected significant works of classical and vernacular fiction, religious texts, and poetry. Taught in English.
  • CHIN 4950 - Honors Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2021
  • CHIN 5070 - Graduate Academic Writing
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Considers the act of academic writing both in terms of mechanics and in terms of habits of effective writers themselves, so that students, building upon a base knowledge of the expectations of the academy, develop approaches to help themselves gain the confidence to excel at the writing required of them in graduate school and beyond.
  • CHIN 5130 - History of Chinese Literature from the Tenth to the Nineteenth Century
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2023
    Survey of Chinese literature from the tenth to the nineteenth century, with readings in primary and secondary sources. Focuses on the major literary works, genres, figures, and movements of the Song through the Qing dynasties.
  • CHIN 5630 - Early Modern Fiction
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2024
    Explores selected vernacular and classical fiction of the Ming and Qing periods. Normally focuses on long novels such as Xiyou ji, Sanguo yanyi, Shuihu zhuan, Jin Ping Mei, as well as short stories by Feng Menglong and Ling Mengchu. Texts and selections vary from year to year. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours. Knowledge of Classical Chinese at the level of CHIN 4220 is required.
  • CHIN 5680 - Topics in Early Modern Literature
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2023
    Examines a specific problem or issue in early modern literature (e.g., the relationships among religion, folklore, and early fiction; the issue of genre and traditional fiction); the role of elite versus popular cultures in the composition of fiction; or the relationship of the state and censorship and the southern philosophical schools to the publication of fiction. Topics vary from year to year. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours. Knowledge of Classical Chinese at the level of CHIN 4220 is required.


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