Elizabeth Weber's research has focused on the nineteenth-century trade in Chinese labor to the Americas (the so-called "coolie trade") and the numerous layers of meaning that the violences concomitant to that trade created in popular discourse in late Qing China. She has studied the nascent "coolie trade vocabularies" and shifting worldviews that emerged in Sinitic-script news and official reportage in immediate response to the trade (and more generally to Qing China's changing geopolitical position), as well as analyzed the later redeployment of fictionalized "coolie" suffering in nationalist writings of the early twentieth century.
She holds an MA in East Asian Studies from Yale University (2008) and completed a PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA (2015) with research support from a Fulbright-IIE fellowship (2012-2013). Prior to starting her position at the University of Rochester, she taught courses in Mandarin Chinese and modern Chinese literature at Pepperdine University in California.
Courses Offered (subject to change)
- CHI 113: Introduction to Classical Chinese I (Fall 2017)
- CHI 116: Introduction to Classical Chinese II (Spring 2018)
- CHI 214: Dream of the Red Chamber (co-taught with Ting Huang) (Fall 2018)
- CHI 217: Writing Volatility and Processing Change: A Survey of the Literatures of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in the Turbulent Twentieth Century (Spring 2018)
- CHI 219: Monsters, Ghosts, Fairies, & Gods: Encountering the Strange in Classical Literature (readings in translation) (Fall 2018)
- CHI 221: Laborers, Sojourners, Immigrants: Chinese Journeys to the Americas in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Fall 2017)
- "Reimagining Coolie Trajectories: The Triumphant Return as Political Statement in Late Qing 'Coolie Fiction.'" Labor Travels, Art Forms. Spec. issue of Literature Compass, vol. 13. no. 5, May 2016, pp. 300-310. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/lic3.12308.
- "Contract Laborers (Credit-Ticket Laborers)" and "Coolie Trade." Chinese Americans: The History and Culture of a People, edited by Jonathan H. X. Lee, ABC-CLIO, 2016.