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William Schaefer

  • Assistant Professor of Chinese
  • Head for the Chinese Program

PhD, University of Chicago

407 Lattimore Hall
(585) 275-2235

Office Hours: By appointment only

Research Overview


Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • CHI 211  Introduction to Pre-Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (Fall 2015)
  • CHI 212  Cities and the Country in Modern Chinese Culture (Spring 2013)
  • CHI 214  "Dream of the Red Chamber" (Spring 2016)
  • CHI 215  Writing, Visuality, and the Powers of Images (Fall 2014)
  • CHI 220  Chinese Landscapes: Space, Place, and Travel (Fall 2014)
  • CHI 230  Contemporary Chinese Art (Fall 2016)
  • CHI 233  Chinese Visual Culture: Medium and Materiality (Spring 2011)
  • CHI 235  Photography in East Asia (Spring 2017)
  • CHI 237  Chinese Film (Spring 2016)
  • CLT 389  Major Seminar (Fall 2016/Spring 2017)

Selected Publications

  • Shadow Modernism: Photography, Writing, and Space in Shanghai, 1925-1937. Duke UP, 2017, forthcoming.
  • "Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral: Photograph Ecologies in Contemporary China and Beyond." October, accepted.
  • "The Lives of Form: From Zhang Jin to Aaron Siskind." ASAP/Journal, vol. 1, no. 3, Sep. 2016, pp. 461-486. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/asa.2016.0041.
  • Editor. Photography's Places. Spec. issue of positions: east asia cultures critique, vol. 18, no. 3, Winter 2010. Project MUSE,
  • "Poor and Blank: History's Marks and the Photographies of Displacement." Representations, vol. 109, no. 1, Winter 2010, pp. 1-34. U of California P Journalsdoi:10.1525/rep.2010.109.1.1.
  • "Shadow Photographs, Ruins, and Shanghai's Projected Past." Cities. Spec. issue of PMLA, vol. 122, no. 1, Jan. 2007, pp. 124-34. PMLA Journalsdoi:10.1632/pmla.2007.122.1.124.
  • "Shanghai Savage." The Afro-Asian Century. Spec. issue of positions: east asia cultures critique, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2003, pp. 91-133. Project MUSE,
  • "Lishi de henji, zonghe meijie: Zhang Xinmin de Liukeng, zai ciyu yu sheying zhijian" ["Historical Traces, Composite Media: Zhang Xinmin's Liukeng, Between Word and Photograph"]. Translated by Yang Xiaoyan. Shijie, vol. 8, 2002.

Work in Progress

  • Photograph Ecologies: Nature, Culture, and Contemporary Photography in China, Japan, and the West. Book manuscript.


Photography in East Asia; Chinese visual and material culture and literature; philosophies of nature and ecological aesthetics; image, medium, and art theories; Chinese and global modernisms; space, place, travel, and landscape; ethnographic, historical, and literary narrative

Honors and Activities

  • Townsend Center Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
  • Junior Faculty Research Grant, Academic Senate Committee on Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • McKnight Summer Fellowship for the Arts and Humanities, University of Minnesota
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Regional Worlds Dissertation Writing Fellowship, University of Chicago Globalization Project
  • Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago
  • Dissertation Research Fellowship, Committee for Scholarly Communication with China
  • Century Fellowship, University of Chicago