Xiaoyu Xia is a scholar of modern Chinese literature. She draws on methods from book history and media studies to probe interactions among visual, material, and literary cultures. Her work traces the heterogeneous composition of modern Chinese books and printing to offer a new lens for considering the fraught transnational condition of Chinese literary modernity and its lasting reverberations in China’s cultural politics.
Her current book project, “Revolution Between the Lines: Typography and Chinese Literary Modernity (1895-1937),” concerns a period that saw China’s conversion to mechanized printing under the influence of Japan and the West. It shows how typography lent material expression to varied imaginations and interpretations of modernity in Chinese literature of the early twentieth century. The aim of the project is to offer new methods of reading an expanded corpus of modern Chinese literature, encompassing not only major authors such as Liang Qichao and Lu Xun, but also a wide array of minor and marginalized writers, commentators, graphic designers, and print workers.
Building on her previous publications on poetry, she has embarked on a second book project. The project brings free verse movements in early twentieth-century China into dialectic conversation with the current moment for algorithmically generated poetry, focusing on the role of the “poetic line” as a verbal, visual, material, and programmatic unit in the making of individuals and collectives.
Xia earned her B.A. and M.A. in Chinese Literature from Fudan University and a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also received a designated emphasis in Film and Media Studies. This fall, she is teaching "Modern Chinese Poetry: Seeing Modern China through the Poetry Cloud." This course explores the work and life of poets across the Chinese-speaking world from the tumultuous twentieth century to the present.