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Zhiyi Yang

Professor of Sinology, University of Frankfurt


Zhiyi Yang




I specialize in the research on classical and modern classicist Chinese poetry, through which I investigate questions about aesthetics, history, intellectual history, cultural memory, as well as media and culture. A graduate of Peking University, I received a PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 2012. My first monograph is about the 11th century poet Su Shi (Dongpo), and my second book explores the complicated modern poet and politician Wang Zhaoming (Jingwei). My current work focuses on exploring a phenomenon that I term as “Sinophone classicism,” especially lyric classicism in modern and contemporary China. I love books, music, dancing, yoga, hiking, and traveling. I consider myself Chinese, European, and world citizen. It is the call of the distance–what the Germans beautifully describe as das Fernweh–which has brought me across oceans, from China to the US and eventually to Germany.




Curriculum Vitae


University of Frankfurt

University Professor

Department of Sinology

since 2015

University of Frankfurt

Junior Professor

Department of Sinology

2012 – 2015


Princeton University

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of East Asian Studies

2006 – 2012

Peking University

Master of Arts

Institute of Comparative Literature

2002 – 2005

Peking University

Bachelor of Arts

Department of Chinese Literature
Experimental Class of Liberal Arts

1998 – 2002


Researching and teaching Chinese poetry in foreign contexts compels me to constantly go outside my own linguistic house of being.

One becomes a messenger bird, flying between citadels of established truths, under a grey sky of history where ashes of traditions are falling.

The intercultural poetic Dasein is that of terrifying beauty.

Fellowships and Grants


Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, Bad Homburg Goethe Fellow 04/2021 – 03/2025
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Fellow, “Russian-language Poetry in Transition”
(Trier University, 2017-2021)
10/2020 – 02/2021
Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin Residential Fellow 09/2019 – 06/2020
Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology Guest professor, National Taiwan Normal University 11/2018 – 01/2019
Fudan University Residential Fellow at  the International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization 09-10/2012
Princeton University Dissertation Writing Grant Fall 2011
Whiting Foundation Whiting Fellowship 2010 – 2011
Princeton University Full Graduate Fellowship 2006 – 2011
Peking University Guanghua Scholarship 2000, 2001, 2002



DFG Conference Grant for the international workshop “Global Sinophone Classicisms” 05/2024
Hanban Conference funding, International Symposium, “Back into Modernity” 07/2014
PIIRS Grant Summer Funding for Language Studies and Research 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Peking University Guanghua Scholarship 2000, 2001, 2002
Peking University Honor for Outstanding Students 2001
Peking University Chuying Scholarship 1998, 1999

Academic Services

Frankfurt Humanities Research Center Board Member since 11/2020
Confucius Institute Frankfurt President of the Board since 03/2016
Frankfurt East Asia Center (IZO) Deputy Executive Director 06/2017 – 07/2019
Frontiers of Literary Studies in China (FLSC) Editorial Committee Member 01/2017 – 07/2019

Organized Conferences

10-11 May 2024, Bad Homburg Co-organizer (with David Der-wei Wang), “Global Sinophone Classicisms: Hybridity, Agency, and Critical Challenges”
26-27 January, 2023, Bad Homburg Co-organizer (with Nathan Taylor and Rebecca Kosick), “Multiverses: Contemporary Poetry beyond the Lyric”
11 June, 2022, online Co-organizer (with David Der-wei Wang), Harvard-Frankfurt-Lingnan Symposium “Classicism in Digital Times: Textual Production as Cultural Remembrance in the Sinophone Cyberspace”
16 September 2019, London Co-organizer (with Jeremy Taylor), “Cultural and Intellectual Histories of Japanese-occupied China”
4-5 July 2014, Frankfurt Organizer, “Back into Modernity: Classical Poetry and Intellectual Transition in China, Late 19th through 20th Century,”
28-29 September 2012, Shanghai Organizer, “Forgotten Renaissances,” ICSCC, Fudan University
23-25 August 2004, Beijing Academic Secretary of the international panel on Chinese Literature, 1st “Beijing Forum”­

My Publications

The victors of history do not interest me. 歷史不是高速公路,而是佈滿無數人深深淺淺腳印的荒萊。許多歷史學家的任務便是在這些凌亂的腳印中辨出主流、旁流、支流和末流來。但回溯的危險是陷入目的論的幻象。至於文字學者,不妨聆聽倒在草萊間的白骨的細語。歷史的勝利者們從來是不需要側耳聆聽的:他們住在十三陵、水晶棺,他們的事功言語勒石立碑,有留聲機廣播,有課本教誨,早就不朽了。不過,那些註定失敗的男女,是否依然有權利用有朽的文字、抒發一瞬間的私憤和不敬、在歷史的滾滾車輪之外保留一點點個人的聲音?讀詩讀史的諸君,又有幾人能保證永遠做歷史的勝利者、或者只為城頭變幻的勝利者們歡歌呢?

You can reach me:


Email: z.yang[at]


Phone: +49(0)69/798-23288



Sinologie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Senckenberganlage 31

D-60325 Frankfurt am Main Germany

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