2008 - 2009 Postdoctoral Associates

Elif Akcetin is a historian of late imperial China. She received her Ph.D. in the summer of 2007 from the Department of History at the University of Washington. Her interests include the history of the frontier, corruption and material culture in the Qing dynasty, and comparative history of empires. She prepared her dissertation for publication, Corruption at the Frontier: The Gansu Fraud Scandal, and is worked on two articles, “The Frontier World in Wang Jingqi’s Dushutang xizheng suibi” and “The Qing and Ottoman Empires: The Search for an Early Modern.” She presented papers at the annual conferences organized by the Middle Eastern Studies Association and the Association for Asian Studies. She taught courses on Chinese civilization at the University of Washington and Bogazici University. In the spring of 2009, she taught a course at Yale entitled “History and Memory in East Asia.”

Ellie Choi is an intellectual historian of modern Korea during the Japanese empire. Her dissertation (Ph.D., Harvard, 2008), “Space and the Historical Imagination: Yi Kwangsu’s Vision of Choson during the Japanese Empire,” explored the intersection of space, travel, and nationalist discourse as they relate to issues of multiple temporalities and nationalist historical production. She is particularly interested in complicating “Korean uniqueness” within a larger multi-ethnic Japanese empire after 1939, and its transference to the colonial fascism debate. Her research and teaching interests include history writing, cultural nationalism, contested spatialities, collaboration, invented traditions, travel, and urban culture. At Yale, she taught a fall course, “History and Tradition in Modern Korea,” and worked towards a book manuscript on spatial practices, exilic nationalism, and post-WWI liberalist discourse during the period of the Korean Provisional Government’s residence in the Shanghai French Quarter.

George Clonos (Georgios Klonos) received his undergraduate degree in Japanese from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Oriental Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies in the United Kingdom. His Ph.D. dissertation (Stanford) was on Mount Omine and the Shugendo tradition of mountain asceticism in the Tokugawa period. A chapter related to this topic appeared in the book Japanese Religious Landscape (edited by Matsuoka Hideaki; Berghahn Press). Apart from Shugendo, his research interests include sacred landscapes, ascetic practice, Esoteric Buddhism, and Edo-period religion. While at Yale, he revised his dissertation for publication and worked on journal articles related to Edo-period religion. He taught a course entitled “Sacred Space in Japanese Religions” in the spring of 2009.

Helen (Huiwen) Zhang is a scholar of comparative literature, cultural hermeneutics, and the aesthetics of translation. She graduated from the first experimental Humanities Program in the Department of Philosophy at Peking University before continuing to pursue a Master of Arts in Modern Chinese Literature. From 2002 to 2008, she received three research grants from Germany, studied in Sinology and German Literature and Thought, and took part in various interdisciplinary programs such as “Exchanges of Knowledge between China and the West” and “Cultural Hermeneutics: Reflections of Difference and Trans-difference.” Her dissertation in German, “Kulturtransfer über Epochen und Kontinente: Feng Zhis Roman ‘Wu Zixu’ als Begegnung von Antike und Moderne, China und Europa,” (“Cultural Transfer across Epochs and Continents: Feng Zhi’s Novel ‘Wu Zixu’ as an Encounter between Ancient and Modern Times, China and Europe,”) examined one of the most distinctive phenomena in the history of modern Chinese literature: the ambivalence of 1940s intellectuals towards Chinese and European ‘traditions’ as well as the subtle process of mutual ‘molding’ of Eastern and Western thoughts and styles in cultural transfer. While at Yale, she will revise her dissertation for publication and work on another research project, “A Cycle of Supermen (Übermenschen): Linking Goethe, Nietzsche, Richard Wilhelm, Daoist Thinkers and Modern Chinese Intellectuals,” which intends to illuminate the ‘eternal return’ of the concept ‘Übermensch’ in intra- / trans-cultural dialogues and to emphasize the importance of such topics. In spring 2009, she taught a course on “Cross-Cultural Eccentricities: How Modern Chinese and European Intellectuals Read Each Others’ Works.”

People type: 
Postdoctoral Associate