University of California, Riverside

Comparative Literature & Foreign Languages

Yenna Wu (吳燕娜)

Yenna Wu

Office: HMNSS 2413

Yenna Wu (吳燕娜)

Distinguished Teaching Professor, Chinese/Civilizations/Comparative Literature
Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 1986

Dr. Yenna Wu’s area of specialization is Chinese literature, culture, and language. Her research covers thematic, narrative, gender, human rights, and prison studies, as well as literature and Chinese language pedagogy. She has published many articles, books, book chapters, translations, and reviews in both English and Chinese. Her numerous publications include The Chinese Virago: A Literary Theme (1995), The Lioness Roars: Shrew Stories from Late Imperial China (1995), Ameliorative Satire and the Seventeenth-Century Chinese Novel, Xingshi yinyuan zhuan—Marriage as Retribution, Awakening the World (1999), The Great Wall of Confinement: The Chinese Prison Camp Through Contemporary Fiction and Reportage (co-authored, 2004), Remolding and Resistance among Writers of the Chinese Prison Camp: Disciplined and Published (co-edited, 2006), Me and China (co-authored, 2008), Mandarin Chinese the Easy Way with Audio CD(co-authored, 2008), Human Rights, Suffering, and Aesthetics in Political Prison Literature(co-edited, 2011), The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State (by Hu Ping; co-translated, 2012), and Li Ang's Visionary Challenges to Gender, Sex, and Politics (edited, 2014).

Professor Wu’s research on Chinese women and the representation of gender dynamics has broadened to include analyses of the differences between Western feminism and Chinese women’s studies in the framework of transnational feminism and globalization. She continues her research on literary portrayals of cannibalism, engaging postcolonial discourse on this topic. Exploring the issues of psychological trauma and human rights through prison camp fiction and memoirs, she is interested in examining the intersections of politics and aesthetics in prison literature in an interliterary and intercultural context. She also studies works by selected contemporary authors from Taiwan and China, and has edited a volume of critical essays (in English) on Li Ang, a famous female writer from Taiwan.

Selected Recent Publications:
  • The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State. Original Chinese version人的馴化,躲避與反叛by Hu Ping胡平. Translated and edited by Philip F. Williams and Yenna Wu. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012. 
  • Wu, Yenna. "China Through Yu Hua's Prism." American Journal of Chinese Studies 19.1 (April 2012): 55-62.
  • Wu, Yenna. "Ming-Qing Fiction". In Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. Ed. Tim Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 22 Apr. 2013. <>.
  • Wu, Yenna, ed. Li Ang's Visionary Challenges to Gender, Sex, and Politics. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2014. This is the first collection of critical essays in English on the Taiwanese feminist author Li Ang 李昂 (pseudonym of Shih Shu-tuan; Shi Shuduan 施淑端, 1952- ) and her works.
  • Wu, Yenna. “Li Ang’s Gendered Dissent in ‘The Devil in a Chastity Belt.’”  Frontiers of Literary Studies in China 8.2 (June 2014): 253-276.
  • Wu, Yenna.  “Female Literary Talent and Gender-related Trauma in Li Ang’s ‘No-sky Ghost.’” American Journal of Chinese Studies 22.1 (April 2015): 59-76.
  • "In Defense of Bodily Self-sacrifice and Asceticism: The Making of a Virgin Saint in Xingshiyan型世言." In Jesse Glass and Philip F. Williams, eds., Salutations; a Festschrift for Burton Watson. Tokyo: Ahadada/Ekleksographia, 2015. Pp. 78-103.


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