School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Maciej Kurzynski

    Maciej Kurzynski

    Ph.D. Student in Chinese, admitted Autumn 2017
    Ph.D. Minor, Slavic Languages and Literatures

    BioI am a Ph.D. Candidate majoring in Modern Chinese Literature. Before coming to Stanford, I received a Bachelor’s degree in History of Art from the University of Warsaw, Poland, and a Master’s degree in Literary Theory (文艺学) from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

    In my research, I combine the fields of distributional semantics, cognitive literary studies, aesthetics, and intellectual history to understand the ways in which Chinese writers appeal to human emotionality and engage with PRC nationalism. Whereas the bulk of current digital scholarship in the humanities is concerned with amassing huge amounts of data (geographical, historical, infrastructural) and making it publicly available, I conceive of my work as an interpretive endeavor—I believe it is possible to “distant read” a single novel. I am particularly interested in formal devices (Shklovsky) that writers need to constantly invent and reinvent in order to evoke strong emotions in readers: how is emotional vocabulary distributed diachronically in modern Chinese texts? What narrative technologies are employed to situate the same plot in various contexts in such a way as to provoke diametrically different emotions and interpretations? What cognitive affordances and ethical frameworks are made available through formal rearrangements of the exact same plot in different narratives? I use computational methods and metaphors to answer these and similar questions.

    Besides, I am a proud member and co-organizer of the Save Cantonese campaign, aiming to restore the Cantonese language program at Stanford, and a recipient of the 2020 Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF).