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Roy Chan

Associate Professor, Chinese Literature
Director of Graduate Studies, East Asian Languages & Literatures
Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages, Russian East European and Eurasian Studies
Office: 426 Friendly Hall
Office Hours: Spring 2024: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 pm (email in advance appreciated)
Research Interests: Modern Chinese and Russian Literatures, Critical Theory, Formalism, Affect Studies, Sociolinguistic Literary Criticism


He received his Ph.D. (2009) in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and also holds a B.A. (2002) in Russian and Comparative Literature from the University of Washington. His parents were working-class immigrants from China and Hong Kong who cooked in restaurants and cleaned hospitals. As a first-generation student from a non-educated background, Prof. Chan is deeply concerned about access and equity to educational institutions for all students, as well as support for other underrepresented faculty.  


Roy Chan is a literary comparatist who specializes in modern Chinese and Russian literatures. His book, The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature (University of Washington Press, 2017), examines the rhetoric of dreams and reality and its relationship to issues of literature, modernity, and revolutionary utopianism in modern Chinese fiction. His second project explores modern Chinese literature's speculative relationship to Russia and the world. He is preparing a third monograph project on law and the perennial crisis of normativity in modern Chinese-speaking cultures. Research interests include modern literature, realism, narrative, the imperial imagination, and popular culture, among others. Theoretical concerns include Marxism, post-Hegelian philosophy, gender and sexuality, formalism, and sociolinguistics. 

Moreover, Prof. Chan enjoys working with students with interests and experience in literary theory, critical theory, and/or intellectual history. He has successfully advised completed doctoral theses on such topics as: revolutionary melodrama in modern Chinese culture; Manchukuo literature and film; Sino-French literary engagements in the late-Qing era; children and eugenics in Republican-era literature. He has also advised MA theses on topics such as: Sino-Ukrainian literary relations; representations of masculinity in queer Chinese cinema; gender and the discursive representation of interiority in May 4th confessional literature. 


Articles, Chapters in Edited Volumes, Monographs (selected):
"Formalism." Invited essay for The Afterlives of Chinese Communism, edited by Christian Sorace, Ivan Franceschini, and Nicholas Loubere (Australian National University Press and Verso, 2019), 77-80.
“The Revolutionary Metapragmatics of Laughter in Zhao Shuli’s Fiction," in Maoist Laughter, ed. Jason McGrath, Zhuoyi Wang, Ping Zhu (Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Press, 2019), 147-161.
"Homeless in the World: War, Narrative, and Historical Consciousness in Eileen Chang, Gyorgy Lukacs, and Lev Tolstoy," in Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese 14 no. 1 (Summer 2017): 45-69.
The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017).
“Broken Tongues: Race, Sacrifice and Geopolitics in the Far East in Vsevolod Ivanov’s ‘Armored Car No. 14-69’,” in Sibirica: Journal of Siberian Studies 10 no.3 (2011): 25-54.

Lu Xun. “Curiosities,” “Before the Appearance of Geniuses,” and “A Brief Glimpse of Shanghai’s Literature” (co-translated with Yu Chih Chou). In Jottings Under Lamplight, edited by Eileen Cheng and Kirk Denton (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017).

Reviews (selected):
Book review of Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution, by Elizabeth McGuire. The China Journal no. 82 (2019).
Review of Little Reunions, by Eileen Chang and translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz. Published in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture Resource Center. (2018).
Review of Chinese Avant-Garde Fiction: Quest for Historicity and Transcendent Truth,by Zhansui Yu. The China Quarterly 232 (December 2017).
Review of Perfect Worlds: Utopian Fiction in China and the West,by Douwe Fokkema. Comparative Literature Studies 51.4 (2014).

Other Writing:
​“現實主義與無國界文學” (Realism and Borderless Literature). Translated by Wayne Yeung. In 字花/Fleurs des Lettres 79 (2019).


He teaches a wide array of courses spanning modern Chinese literature, popular Chinese culture, modern Russian literature, and Comparative Literature. 

Graduate seminars previously taught:
COLT 610: Memorial, Mourning, and Mortality: Death and the Time of Writing
RUSS 434/534 Comparative Realisms in Russia and China
EALL 607 Workshop in Theory in East Asia
CHN 607 Lu Xun
CHN 607 Mind and Spirit in Modern Chinese Literature
CHN 607 The Cultural Revolution and the Question of Culture
CHN 607 Late-Qing Literature
CHN 410/510 Reading Socialist Texts
CHN 407/507 "Class" in Modern Chinese Literature

Undergraduate courses previously taught:
CHN 152 Introduction to Chinese Popular Culture
CHN 307 History of Modern Chinese Literature
CHN 351 Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese Literature