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Yu Zhang

Dr. Yu Zhang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese Culture at PolyU, Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, the cultural politics of representing work in contemporary China, the literary and cultural interactions within the Sinosphere, Chinese revolutionary and socialist culture as well as the intersection of technology and modern Chinese culture. Her first book, Going to the Countryside: The Rural in Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination (1915-1965) (forthcoming 2020), examines the cultural practices and representations of “going to the countryside” in modern China. This modern experience of spatial crossing was intertwined with the larger discourses of enlightenment, revolution and socialist industrialization. It demonstrates how cultural representations of the countryside in modern China have constructed the rural as a distinct modern experiential and aesthetic realm characterized by revolutionary changes in human conceptions and sentiments.

She is currently working on two new projects: the first one focuses on the cultural politics of representing work (gongzuo) in contemporary China when the notions of service and labor underwent dramatic redefinitions and when the rise of artificial intelligence anticipates the coming of the post-work age; and the second one examines the flow of literary and cultural products from Hong Kong and Taiwan into mainland China as part of the cultural reorientation in post-Mao China. (

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