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Michael Gibbs Hill
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA 23186-0002)
Reading Distance: Chinese and Arabic Literatures at the End of Empire, 1850–1950

Research and writing leading to a book on intellectual and literary exchanges between Egypt and China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

This project breaks new ground in comparative literary and cultural studies, connecting the intellectual “enlightenment” in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the “enlightenment” or “awakening” (Nahda) in Arabic-language cultural and intellectual history of the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century. Using materials in Chinese and Arabic—often in translation or dialogue with writings in English, French, and German—my project begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when these two intellectual and literary traditions were relatively isolated from one another, and extends to a moment in the 1940s that saw substantial exchanges among intellectuals from the Republic of China and Egypt. Through a historically and linguistically rigorous account of these developments, my project pushes the limits of the methods of global intellectual and cultural history and comparative literature.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; East Asian Literature; Near and Middle Eastern Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 7/31/2020