Zhuming Yao

Chinese Literature
  • M.A. from and Columbia University
  • M.A. from the University of Colorado - Boulder
  • B.A. from East China Normal University

Zhuming Yao is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of East Asian Studies at Princeton. He works on premodern Chinese literature with a particular interest in the pre- and early imperial period. His dissertation, titled “Voice of Textuality: Speech, Genre, and Speech Genres in Early China,” examines the prevalence of speech across the first millennium of Chinese writings. He shows that during this period, a nascent genre system developed in response to the representation, conventionalization, and valorization of speech, the kind and variety of which made up in turn what we now anachronistically call poetry, philosophy, and historiography. Hence speech genres, and their constitutive significance to early Chinese texts and textuality. 

More broadly, Zhuming is interested in literary criticism, comparative antiquity, and manuscript studies. He is motivated by individual texts and works as he is by the larger literary and historical issues they might be evidence of.