Bio


I received my Ph.D. in Chinese Literature and Culture from Stanford University in 2018. Prior to that, I obtained my BA in English and French (summa cum laude) from St. Catherine University in Minnesota. An interdisciplinary and multicultural scholar and teacher, I research about modern Chinese literature and culture, particularly their intersections with historical questions and anthropological methodologies. My dissertation is titled "Beyond Minority: Ethnicity, Modernity, and the Invention of the Qiang Identity in China." As a winner of two prestigious awards, my dissertation looks into how ethnic minority literatures and cultures help diversify our understanding of China and "Chinese-ness" in various literary, historiographical, and ethnographical forms. My research broadly addresses how the Chinese minority experience enhances the scholarly understanding of global indigenous cultures: minority and indigenous groups are eagerly re-making their identities and claiming their cultural rights against the trends of homogenization and industrialization plaguing global modernity.

My teaching interests are in line with my research passions: I design and teach courses with a cross-cultural emphasis and comparative components, such as the PWR seminar "Rhetoric of Beauty Across Cultures." It is my goal to help educate a new generation of students who are truly global citizens capable of embracing different cultures and articulating racial, ethnic, and personal diversities for a more just society. I aspire to help bring forth a better global world with my research, teaching, and creative work, which fuel me intellectually and personally.

In addition to scholarship and teaching, I am a twice-published creative writer with two collections of short stories, poetry, and essays published. I have also founded Stanford Youth Cultural Exchange Initiative, which is a volunteer student organization at Stanford. As the founding president of this organization, I led many events and programs to serve the multicultural youth and multiracial families in California and beyond. My public service endeavors have been awarded a Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community and the Asian American Women's Leadership Award.

Two of my Autumn 2018 students, two freshmen at Stanford, will be publishing their research papers from my class at a prestigious national journal called Undergraduate Journal of Contemporary Issues and Media. Another student from my Autumn 2018 seminar "Rhetoric of Beauty Across Cultures" had her research paper selected as a finalist at Stanford's Boothe Prize for Excellence in First-year Writing.

Academic Appointments


  • Lecturer, Stanford Introductory Studies - Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Honors & Awards


  • Outstanding Students Abroad, China Scholarship Council
  • Dissertation Award, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation of International Scholarly Exchange (2017-18)
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) (2015-16)
  • Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Public, U.S. Congressional Special Recognition (2012)
  • Asian American Women's Alliance Leadership Award, Asian American Women's Alliance (2012)
  • China Times Young Scholar Award, China Times Culture Fund (2015)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, American Comparative Literature Association (2013 - Present)
  • Member, Association of Asian Studies (2014 - Present)

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, East Asian Languages and Cultures (2018)
  • Certificate, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Ignite: Powering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2014)
  • Bachelor of Arts, St. Catherine University (Minnesota), English and French Literature (2010)

All Publications


  • Rethinking the Values of a Humanist Education Zhang, Y. The Stanford Daily . 2016