Dr. Carlos Yu-Kai Lin

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Lecturer, Chinese Literature
Contact Information
Office Address: 
853 Williams Hall
Email Address: 



PhD, University of Southern California, 2015

MS, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2007 

Research and Teaching Interests: 

Modern Chinese literature and film, modern Chinese thought, history of Chinese fiction, Sinophone discourses, and theories and methods of world literary studies

Recent Courses: 

Modern Chinese Literature (Spring 2018)

Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Film (Fall 2016)

Seminar in Modern Chinese Literature: New Literature Movement, 1917-2017 (Spring 2017; Fall 2017)

Chinese Film (Spring 2017; Fall 2017)

Chinese Popular Culture (Fall 2017)

Chinese Fiction and Drama: Romance of Three Kingdoms (Spring 2017; Spring 2018)

Brief Biography: 

I completed my Ph.D from the University of Southern California. My work addresses the historical and discursive condition in which “Chinese literature” emerges as a concept indicating a world literary system. Contrary to existing scholarship that emphasizes “the modern” in exploring Chinese literary modernity but sees “Chinese literature” as a given and ahistorical concept, my work explores this compound itself, revealing how it became an independent knowledge category that implies a global literary world. By understanding “Chinese literature” as an overdetermined concept that develops out of a complex network, I demonstrate that Chinese intellectuals had assimilated and negotiated with various social, ideological, and scientific concepts, from ancient China, modern Western countries, and Japan, to imagine and articulate a universal idea of literature in Chinese terms. I am currently working on a manuscript titled Imagined Universality: A Conceptual History of Chinese Literature, which provides a historical account of the rise of “literature” as well as its related concepts into modern knowledge categories that bear universal implications. I had taught in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley and Davis before I came to teach in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Penn.


Selected Publications: 

"Chinese Genres, Western Works-The Formation of the Idea of Foreign Literature in Late Qing China" in Modern China Studies. (2018) Volume 25, Issue 2: 178-195.

"Baihua as an Element: Reconsidering Hu Shi's Theory of Vernacular Literature" (Baihua zuowei yizhong xingzhi: Chongtan Hu Shi de baihua wenxue lilun) (forthcoming in Issue 8 of Intellectual History)

"Introduction to 'Fiction as a Modern Literary Genre' Project" in Newsletter for Research in Chinese Studies. (2017) Volume 36, Issue 3: 32-36.

Review of The Chinese Political Novel: Migration of a World Genre, by Catherine Vance Yeh. Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, (2016), 227-229.

"Double Inscription and the Concept of Origin in Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan" in Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art. (2016) Volume 36, Issue 6: 169-183.

Review of Zhuangzi and Modern Chinese Literature, by Liu Jianmei. MCLC Resource Center: Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. URL: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/carlos-lin/ (2016).

“The Universality of the Concept of Modern Literature: Wang Guowei, Zhou Zuoren, and Other May Fourth Writers’ Conception of Wenxue.” Journal of the History of Ideas in East Asia. (2015) Volume 8: 343-400.

“The Rise of Xiaoshuo as a Literary Concept: Lu Xun and the Question of ‘Fiction’ in Chinese Literature.” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. (2014) Volume 8, Issue 4: 631-651.

“A Radical Interpretation of Fromm’s Concept of Man.” (Fuluomu guanyu ren de gainian—yige jijinxing de quanshi) Con-temporary (Dangdai). Volume 210 (2005): 132-143.

“The Historical Position of Louis Althusser: the Epistemological Break of Marx.” (Atusai de lishi dingwei—makesi renshilun shang de duanlie) Con-temporary (Dangdai). Volume 203 (2004): 112-121.

“Four Phases of Alienation—A Study of the Temporality of Marx’s Concept of Alienation.” (Yihua de sige jieduan—makesi yihua sixiang de shijianxing kaocha) Hsiuping Journal of Humanities and Social Science. (Peer-reviewed journal) Volume 4 (2004): 1-26.