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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Professor of Chinese Literature, Harvard University

Coca-Cola - Class of Spring 2007

Wai-yee Li is professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. She has taught at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her expertise spans nearly two thousand years of literary endeavor, from antiquity to the late-imperial period in China. Li has written more than twenty articles and completed multiple translations. Her book Enchantment and Disenchantment: Love and Illusion in Chinese Literature (Princeton, 1993) traces formations of desire in the Chinese literary tradition, focusing on late-imperial literature of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. In The Readability of the Past in Early Chinese Historiography (Harvard, 2006), Li engages issues of narrative and rhetoric, and the ordering aspect of Chinese culture in interpreting ancient Chinese texts from 100 to 400 BC. She has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study and Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and a research grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.


Li received a PhD from Princeton University and a BA from the University of Hong Kong, where she received the Chan Kai-ming Prize.

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