Allison Bernard is a scholar of Chinese literature and culture whose research focuses on Ming-Qing drama, print and theatrical cultures, and intersections between literature and history. She is working on a book manuscript that examines the uses of metatheatre in and around Kong Shangren’s historical drama, Taohua shan (The Peach Blossom Fan). This project reveals the significance of theatrical media and performance practices for framing the political and historical valences of 17th century dramas, and demonstrates how The Peach Blossom Fan’s uses of metatheatre serve as an innovative form of historiography. Kong’s desktop drama applies theatrical media and performance conventions to model the process of “making history,” using plays within plays and references to characters’ costumes and facial makeup to highlight links between political rhetoric and stage performance. In examining the interplay of theatrical media and historiography, this project also pays special attention to Ruan Dacheng—a blacklisted mid-17th century politician and playwright, who appears on stage in The Peach Blossom Fan as a dramatic character. Re-examining the work and historical figure of Ruan Dacheng—both as a “playwright on stage” in The Peach Blossom Fan and as a dramatist in his own right—exposes further links between stage and society, and shows how writerly legacy contributes to the work of “making history” through theater.
In addition to her work on theater and performance, Allison is interested in questions about how media shapes the reading and writing of early modern Chinese literature. Her next book project takes a media studies approach to analyzing a range of Ming-Qing literary forms, from vernacular fiction to song and essay anthologies, drawing on the concept of the feedback loop to examine the social processes of literary production and reception. She is also working on several smaller projects, including articles on early-mid Qing autobiographical playwrights Liao Yan and Xu Xi, the concept of portraiture in “portrait-poetry” by Kong Shangren, and the emperor’s role type in early modern Chinese dramas. Allison is also interested in comparisons with Japanese literature (especially drama, theater, and poetry), book history and print culture, material and visual cultures, and translation. Allison is an active translator who translates literary and scholarly materials from Chinese to English.
Allison received her PhD in Chinese Literature from Columbia University’s Department of East Asian Literature and Culture in 2019. She also holds an MA in Chinese Literature from Columbia University (2012) and BA from Middlebury College in Chinese and History (2010). Her research and writing have been supported by numerous fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship, several Columbia University fellowships, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS). Before coming to Yale, Allison taught in the College of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University.
In Spring 2022, Allison taught a course titled “Theater and Drama Traditions of China and Japan” at Yale: a comparative and interdisciplinary seminar that examines a dramatic texts and performance practices from a range of Chinese and Japanese theater traditions.
Philip Gant a historian of premodern East Asia; his research focuses on Korean legal and social life over the centuries. His dissertation “Taking Refuge in the Law,” explored the tortuous litigation in which Buddhist monasteries and monastics in Chosŏn Korea (1392-1910) grew increasingly enmeshed to arrive at views of an overlooked religious landscape(link is external). Gant received his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages(link is external) (HEAL) at Harvard University, and his bachelor’s degree in History and East Asian Studies at Yale College. From 2017 to 2019, he was a William R. Tyler fellow at Dumbarton Oaks(link is external) in Washington, D.C. In the field, he was a summer fellow at the Academy of Korean Studies, and a 2017-2018 visiting student at the Kyujanggak Institute at Seoul National University. A Richard U. Light fellow and a Blakemore Freeman fellow in Seoul, Korea, he was a Greenberg/Yale-China Initiative scholar in Beijing, China, and a Reischauer Institute summer language grantee in Kanazawa and Yokohama, Japan. Gant taught EAST 404/RLST 359: Faith in the Law in East Asia: Beginnings to 1800 in fall 2022.
Alex Finn Macartney is a historian of transnationalism, Modern Japan, and Modern Germany. His dissertation, “War in the Postwar: Japan and West Germany Protest the Vietnam War and the Global Strategy of Imperialism,” explored the radical politics of 1960s and 1970s West Germany and Japan, with a focus on the legacies of the fascist past, the transnational imagination of the 1960s, and use of political violence. While at Yale he will develop this project into a book manuscript focused on the history of networks of activists who hoped to support the Vietnamese people in their war against the United States and to bring down structures of global imperialism. Dr. Macartney received a B.A. in History from Lawrence University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University in 2019.