Hanruo Zhang

Chinese Literature
  • M.A. from Renmin University of China.
  • B.A. from Peking University

Hanruo Zhang is a doctoral student of pre-modern Chinese literature, with a special focus on the interdisciplinary project of Chinese Buddhism and cultural history. Her dissertation, “Imagine the Ideal Realm: Pure Land Buddhism and the Literati Culture in Song Dynasty China (960–1276 C.E.)”, examines the close interaction between the Pure Land belief in Buddhism and the rising literati culture from the 10th to the 13th centuries, a transitional period from the middle era to modern time in China. By investigating a specific religious belief and its implantation to the Chinese soil, this project will shed light on large academic questions like the intercultural exchange, the secularization of religion, and the Tang-Song transition framework. This research project will discuss the role of literature in Pure Land communities, the function of printing in the spread of popular Buddhist belief, and the religious book projects initiated by educated lay Buddhists. Eventually this dissertation will creatively foreground the initiative and collective efforts of the literati class in the transformation and adaptation of the Pure Land belief, challenging the conventional argument that the Pure Land belief only popularized in the grassroots.