William Fleming specializes in the literature and cultural history of early modern Japan. His dissertation, titled “The World Beyond the Walls: Morishima Chūryō (1756-1810) and the Development of Late Edo Fiction” (Harvard, 2011), explores the rich interrelationship between early modern Japanese fiction and contemporary intellectual movements, including nativist studies and inquiry into Dutch, vernacular Chinese, and Russian materials. The dissertation challenges the view of Edo fiction as largely isolated from outside influence and offers a new way of thinking about the transformation of gesaku, the period’s so-called “playful literature,” from a pastime of the intellectual elite into a form of true popular fiction. As a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale, William reformulated his dissertation into a book and completed research projects on the representation of disease and the body in premodern Japanese literature and on the reception of Chinese fiction in the late Edo period, with a particular focus on the case of Pu Songling’s celebrated collection of “strange” tales, Liaozhai zhiyi. He taught an undergraduate seminar titled “Pop Culture in Early Modern Japan” in the 2012 spring semester.
Fumiko Joo specializes in Chinese and East Asian comparative literature. Her research field is Ming-Qing fiction and its expansion in early modern Japan with particular interests in fantastic stories and gender. Her dissertation “The Peony Lantern and Fantastic Tales in Late Imperial China and Tokugawa Japan: Local History, Religion, and Gender” (University of Chicago, 2011) examines the transnational and micro-regional circulation and interpretation of Qu You’s (1347-1433) Jiandeng xinhua in China and Japan. During her time at Yale, she developed her dissertation into a book manuscript and began a new project on serpent women within popular culture of early modern East Asia. She also taught a course entitled “Fantastic Tales in China and Japan, 14th-19th Centuries.”
Jin Woong Kang is a sociologist of North Korea. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Yonsei University, South Korea and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He studies and teaches the areas of North Korean state formation and the political sociology of divided Korea. His dissertation “Understanding the Dynamics of State Power in North Korea: Militant Nationalism and People’s Everyday Lives” explores how North Korea’s anti-American state power has been reproduced in people’s everyday practices. He conducted research on both North Korean refugees’ lives in South Korea and the experiences of Korean immigrants in the United States, particularly with respect to domestic violence and encounters with the American criminal system. At Yale, he taught the seminar “Understanding North Korea.”
Yuhang Li is an art historian of late imperial China. Her primary research interest is gender and material practice in relation to Buddhism in Ming and Qing China. Her dissertation (University of Chicago, 2011) “Gendered Materialization: An Investigation of Women’s Artistic and Literary Reproductions of Guanyin in Late Imperial China” examines how lay Buddhist women participated in the cult of the most prevalent Chinese female deity, Guanyin, by reproducing images of her through painting, embroidery, and even using their own body to dress up as Guanyin and being captured in painting and photographs to reach religious salvation. Her broader research projects and research interests concern gender and Chinese art history, which cover women as a subject of representation and women as producers and patrons of the arts, as well as woman’s life cycle and its relation to material practice. During her residence at Yale, she expanded her dissertation into a book manuscript and taught a course entitled “Gender in East Asian Art History.”