As a scholar of literary, film, and cultural studies, Jie Li’s research interests center on the mediation of memories in modern China. Her first book, Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (Columbia, 2014), excavates a century of memories embedded in two alleyway neighborhoods destined for demolition. Her second monograph, Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era (under contract with Duke University Press), explores contemporary cultural memories of the 1950s to the 1970s through textual, audiovisual, and material artifacts, including police files, photographs, documentary films, and museums. Li has co-edited a volume entitled Red Legacies: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Harvard Asia Center, 2016). Her next book project studies the exhibition and reception of cinema in socialist China, including movie theatres and open-air screenings, projectionists and audiences, as well as memories of revolutionary and foreign films. Her other research projects include a transnational film history of Manchuria and a cultural history of radios and loudspeakers.
Li’s recent publications in journals and edited volumes include: “Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940” (positions: east asia cultures critique, 2014); “From Landlord Manor to Red Memorabilia: Reincarnations of a Chinese Museum Town” (Modern China, 2015); “Filming Power and the Powerless” (DV-Made China, 2015); “Are Our Drawers Empty? Nie Gannu’s Dossier Literature” (Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures, 2016), “Discolored Vestiges of History: Black-and-White in the Age of Color Cinema” (Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 2012).
Li earned an A.B. in East Asian Studies at Harvard, and studied English literature at the University of Cambridge and German literature at the University of Heidelberg before returning to Harvard for a Ph.D., earned in 2010 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. Li teaches courses on East Asian Cinema and on Chinese media cultures.