William Schaefer

Assistant Professor of Chinese
Head of 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. Durham: 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 1.3 (2016): 461-486. doi:10.1353/asa.2016.0041.
  • Ed. Photography's Places. Spec. issue of positions: east asia cultures critique 18.3 (2010).
  • "Poor and Blank: History's Marks and the Photographies of Displacement." Representations 109 (2010): 1-34. doi:10.1525/rep.2010.109.1.1.
  • "Shadow Photographs, Ruins, and Shanghai's Projected Past." Cities. Spec. issue of PMLA 122.1 (2007): 124-34. doi:10.1632/pmla.2007.122.1.124.
  • "Shanghai Savage." The Afro-Asian Century. Spec. issue of positions: east asia cultures critique 11.1 (2003): 91-133. doi:10.1215/10679847-11-1-91.
  • "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"]. Trans. Yang Xiaoyan. Shijie [Beijing] 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