In addition to my regular identity as a professor of medieval Chinese literature at UCLA, I'm also the proud parent of a child attending what I shall thinly disguise as "Guangdao Elementary School," which is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District and houses a pilot program in Mandarin Chinese.


I'd like to first thank Joshua Landy for his post on Stanley Fish's provocative blog/column in the NYTimes.  I'd like to comment just on one passage from his piece.


The narrative structure of literary history compels us into particular assumptions, in particular, with the assumption of an originary moment.  Such concerns are to be found throughout traditional Chinese discourses on literature, as well as in their modern, literary historical heirs.  For example, I've just finished teaching the section on Han, Wei, and Western Jin poetry in my literary hist


This just in from the Chronicle of Higher Education's Ticker:

"The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin has dropped a plan to reduce foreign-language requirements in the face of faculty outrage."


I am teaching a graduate course this quarter on premodern Chinese literary history that begins with the so-called "Confucian Classics" (10th to 6th centuries BC) and ends sometime around the early eleventh century AD, with the emergence of the genre of ci  ("song-lyric").


Not too long ago, I received a quotation via email from a colleague at one of the other UC schools that read: “Nothing we have said about the teacher's primary responsibility for defining the intellectual purpose of the university should obscure the fact that American teachers in the recent past have shamelessly abdicated this responsibility.


This piece, "The Real Reasons to Support Language Study," published July 27, 2009 in The Chronicle of Higher Education, is particularly relevant given the recent announcement by UCLA to issue lay-off letters to its state-funded, "post-six" lecturers.


Lately, I've been trying to educate myself on the way that public higher education works, particularly at the University of California where I teach.

Jack Chen's picture
Jack Chen
Jack Chen is Associate Professor of Chinese Poetry and Thought at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has studied at Yale, University of Michigan, and Harvard.  His research interests focus primarily on medieval Chinese literature, with an emphasis in poetry (though he is finding himself reading a lot of anecdotal literature lately).  His first book, The Poetics of Sovereignty: On Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty was published by Harvard University Asia Center in 2010, and he has published essays on imperial poetry, gossip and historiography, and the representation of reading in medieval China.  is at work on a second book on the Shishuo xinyu 世說新語 (Recent Anecdotes and the Talk of the Age) and an edited volume on gossip in traditional China.