Professor Emeritus of East Asian Languages and Literatures
Areas of Expertise
- Historical memory of Greater China
- Modern Chinese literature
- PhD University of Toronto
- MA University of Toronto
- BA Colby College
Kirk Denton specializes in the fiction and literary criticism of the Republican period (1911-1949). He regularly teaches undergraduate courses in modern Chinese literature in translation, Asian American film, and Chinese film, as well as graduate courses and seminars on modern Chinese fiction, the writer Lu Xun, popular culture, Taiwan literature, and Chinese film. He is especially interested in the inception and formation of a discourse of modernity in the May Fourth period and how that discourse was to some degree informed and shaped by traditional concerns. Denton's edited collection, Modern Chinese Literary Thought: Writings on Literature. 1893-1945, was published by Stanford University Press in 1996. Two years later, his The Problematic of Self in Modern Chinese Literature: Hu Feng and Lu Ling was also published by Stanford. He also edited: China: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Whereabouts, 2008); The Columbia Companion to Modern Chinese Literature (2016); and Betweeen Tradition and Modernity: Essays in Commemoration of Milena Doleželová-Velingerová (1932-2012) (Karolinum Press, 2016). He is coeditor of: China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future (Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 2002); Literary Societies in Republican China (Lexington, 2008), and Jottings under Lamplight (Harvard UP, 2017). He has published several articles on museum culture, including in The China Quarterly and Japan Focus, and a book on the politics of historical representation in museums and memorial sites, entitled Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China (University of Hawaii Press, 2014). His The Landscape of Historical Memory: The Politics of Museums and Memorial Culture in Post-Martial Law Taiwan was published by Hong Kong University Press in 2021. Denton is editor of the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture and manager of the online MCLC Resource Center, which hosts the MCLC LIST, a listserv devoted to scholarly discussion on the culture of modern and contemporary China. Denton has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and National Chung-hsing University.