On Leave Fall 2014
After earning a B.A. in East Asian studies at Harvard, Jie Li studied English literature at the University of Cambridge and German literature at the University of Heidelberg. She made documentary films in China and Cameroon before returning to Harvard for a Ph.D. in modern Chinese literature and film studies. In 2012-2013 she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts.
As a scholar of literary, film, and cultural studies, her research interests center on the mediation of memories in modern China. Based on her undergraduate thesis, her forthcoming book Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (Columbia University Press) excavates a century of memories embedded in two alleyway neighborhoods destined for demolition. Her current book project, Utopian Ruins: A Memory Museum of the Mao Era, explores contemporary cultural memories of the 1950s to the 1970s through textual, audiovisual, and material artifacts, including police files, photographs, documentary films, and museums. She is also co-editing a volume entitled Red Legacies: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution. Two further research projects deal with the transnational cinematic history of Manchuria and mobile movie projection units from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Her recent publications in journals and edited volumes include: “Discolored Vestiges of History: Black-and-White in the Age of Color Cinema” (Journal of Chinese Cinemas), “A National Cinema for a Puppet State: The Manchurian Motion Picture Association (Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas), “Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940” (forthcoming in positions: east asia cultures critique), and “Filming Power and the Powerless” (China Perspectives). Her ethnographic film The Al-Hadji and His Wives is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.