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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Harlan Chambers

B.A. (History) & B.F.A. (Theatre), University of Minnesota Honors College; B.A. (Chinese), Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales

Masters Student in Asian Cultures & Languages



In 2008, I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a dual degree in History and Theatre. A generous grant permitted me to pursue research on experimental theatre practices in France, where I ended up co-founding a theatre company, living and working for several years. During this time abroad, I also began a serious study of the Chinese language-- which quickly became an all-consuming activity. After spend several years working in the Parisian theatre scene, I returned to academia to pursue questions related to Chinese language and culture.



Given my background in performance, I have always been fascinated by the forces that form us. Language and culture hold particular interest as locations that generate meanings forming and informing our world. Yet I am drawn to moments of disruption in these sites of formative sense; indeed, my professional transition from theatre to the academy may be characterized as a shift in interest from performing to deforming.

My dissertation project seeks to formulate a fresh approach to biopolitical theory by reading European theoretical texts alongside cultural productions from China and the greater sinosphere. How can these works contribute new ways of thinking about biopolitics as a modern form of governance? How do these cultural productions address or contest the dilemma of the modern biopolitical subject? By tackling such questions, I seek to stage a productive engagement between (European) critical theory and (Chinese/Sinophone) cultural production, rather than privileging the former as an interpretive model for the latter.


Modern literature and cinema from China and Taiwan, political philosophy, psychoanalytic and postructuralist theory, comparative literary studies, gender studies
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