Jian Xu

  • Associate Professor, Global Studies Comparative Literature Program)


  • PhD Comparative Literature, 2001, University of Iowa

Teaching Interests

Professor Xu's teaching interests, broadly speaking, are also in world literature and world cinema. He has integrated his research findings with his course contents. His teaching also helps him locate his latent research interests in other themes and topics. His interests in film genres and the body in cinema, for instance, and the issues of cultural identity and philosophical ethics readable through literature, have originated from the world cinema and world literature classes he teaches. His courses on Chinese literature and film are designed to be a window to the fast-developing contemporary Chinese culture and society besides being a study of literary and film form and history. His courses on literary theory and criticism (such as Allegory and Allegoresis, and The World that Literature Makes) undertake to combine theory with practice and emphasize the use of concepts in the interpretation and understanding of literature.

Research Interests

He is always interested in the transformative power of literature and of the other semiotic system that is film. In recent years he has been looking into world literature and particularly contemporary Chinese fiction to see how the generative force of poiesis is performing the task of aesthetic redemption. He undertakes to extract from it a future-oriented mode of literary worldmaking, a divergent plane of thought and action from a time-honored mimetic realism invested in historical truth. He is also working on two sub-topics related to poiesis. He calls them the truth of others in fiction and the world of others in cinema.