Faculty Spotlight: Haosheng Yang

photo of Haosheng Yang

  • associate professor of Chinese
  • teaches Third Year Chinese (CHI 301/302)
  • teaches Modern Chinese Literature in English Translation (CHI 252)
  • PhD from Harvard University in Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies
  • writing second book: Chinese culture and literature during the second Sino-Japanese War


"I developed my interest in Chinese literature because both of my parents taught it when I was a child. This family tradition of loving literature continued as I attended Beijing University for my undergraduate study, where I majored in Chinese Literature.

"After completing my undergraduate and master degrees in Chinese literature at Beijing University, I then went to Harvard University, where I graduated in 2008 with a PhD in Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies, and then began teaching at Miami University."


"I currently teach Third Year Chinese (CHI 301/302) and Chinese Modern Literature in English Translation (CHI 252), and I enjoy teaching a lot — especially the intellectual communication I have with my students, who call me Yang-laoshi ('teacher' in Chinese).

"I feel passionate about sharing my literary knowledge with my students. It's very rewarding to see by the end of the semester that they have gained a solid background knowledge on either Chinese language or culture.

"In today's globalized world, China is a power that cannot be ignored, and I believe that my students will be more competitive if they have some knowledge in this area. For me, it's most enjoyable to watch them continue to improve and know that what I teach can help them gain understanding about the development of China and its history."


"I published my first book, A Modernity Set to a Pre-Modern Tune: Classical-Style Poetry of Modern Chinese Writers, in 2016. After its publication and my tenure promotion at Miami, I took an academic leave for the 2016-2017 year.

"This period allowed me to take the chance to do research for my new book project, but it also gave me an opportunity to relax a little bit. During my leave I spent several months in Shanghai doing research.

"My new book will be focused on wartime Chinese culture and literature. It's about popular culture and literature created by Chinese writers and artists in Japanese-occupied Manchuria from 1931-1945. I was born in that area, so it's about my hometown and its not fully-revealed colonial history.

"Literature and culture were different in the places that were occupied by the Japanese, compared to the mainstream anti-Japanese works during wartime. My grandparents lived under the Japanese and even had to learn Japanese at school. My hope is to explore the cultural production and literary creativity in that very particular circumstance.

"The book is not only about resistance and how Chinese people became victims, it's more about the ambiguity in identity construction among Chinese people trying to survive wartime in the 'gray zone' under Japanese dominance, where patriotic ideals often yield to stern reality, and weakness and compromise were mixed with human dignity and moral courage. The occupied culture also has a cosmopolitan feature. This really fascinates me!

"The book is still in the beginning stage, since I'm still collecting basic material and doing archive research. Hopefully I can have it done in four or five years. I might write a book chapter and publish it as a journal article first, but for the book to be finished we still must wait a while."

Outside the Classroom

"I enjoy watching movies, reading, listening to music, and spending time with my two children."

See also:

  • Haosheng Yang (Department of German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures)

[May 2018]