Nan Z. Da 笪章难

Assistant professor of English, University of Notre Dame.   University of Michigan- Ann Arbor (PhD 2014) University of Chicago (BA 2006)

I study literary modernity, focusing on American and Chinese literature and contemporary literary theory with side interests in the history of Chinese and Western philosophy and social theory. I am interested in the kinds of social, global, and human phenomena that can only be captured through literary interpretation.. 

My first book, Intransitive Encounter (forthcoming from Columbia University Press) uses Sino-US “exchanges” from an earlier era to name a cross-culturalism that is self-contained, that uses itself up in the moment and that, out of no ill will or bad faith, has no mappable afterlife or program of exchange attached. It extracts this intransitivity in various forms and guises from the writings of an unusual cast of characters including Washington Irving, Dong Xun, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Yung Wing, Prince Gong, Qiu Jin, and Edith Maude Eaton.

I am working on a second book project called “Untracking Devices” which uses world literary theory and literary criticism to develop alternative, antipositivist sociology of literature for a modern world governed by communicative distanciation and non-verifiability. The book will offer readings from a wide range of primary literature including texts from the English and American canon, the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, and selections from Chinese poetics and philosophy.