Margaret Hillenbrand



Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture; Fellow of Wadham College 

Faculty / College Address:

China Centre / Wadham College


Research Interests:

My research and publications to date have focused on literary and visual culture in twentieth-century China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, and I recently finished a book on the relationship between historic photographs and public secrecy in China during the post-Mao period. I am now working on a new project about the aesthetics of precarity in twenty-first-century China.

Recent Publications:


  • Literature, Modernity, and the Practice of Resistance: Japanese and Taiwanese Fiction, 1960-1990, Leiden: Brill, 2007. 362 pp. ISBN 9004154787. [Partly translated into Chinese as “Chongshen Meiguo baquan”, trans. Chang Yu-min, Tu Hsin-hsin, and Cheng Hui-wen, in Li Sher-shiueh (ed.), Yidi fanhua: haiwai Taiwan wenxue wenlun xuanyi, vol. 2, Taibei: National Taiwan University Press, 2012, 229-320].
  • Documenting China: An Interpretive Reader in Seminal Twentieth-Century Texts (with Chloë Starr), Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. 240 pp. ISBN 0295991275.

Edited special issues

Journal articles

  • "Remaking Tank Man, in China", Journal of Visual Culture 16/2 (2017): 127-166.
  • "Letters of Penance: Writing America in Chinese and the Location of Chinese American Literature”, MELUS 38/3 (2013): 44-66.
    [Recipient of the Katherine Newman best essay award from the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the US. Link to feature on Oxford University Press blog:]
  • Hero, Kurosawa, and a Cinema of Synaesthesia”, Screen 54/2 (2013): 127-151.
    [Chinese translation: “Yingxiong, Heize Ming he ganguan dianying”, trans. Chen Ziru, Dongwu xueshu (Soochow Academic) 6 (2017): 91-108].
  • “Chromatic Expressionism in Contemporary Chinese Cinemas”, Journal of Chinese Cinemas 6/3 (2012): 211-231.
  • “Communitarianism, or, How to Build East Asian Theory”, Postcolonial Studies 13/4 (2010): 317-334.
  • “Nostalgia, Place, and Making Peace with Modernity in East Asia”, Postcolonial Studies 13/4 (2010): 383-402.
    [Reprinted in Jeroen de Kloet and Lena Scheen (eds.), Spectacle and the City: Urbanity in Popular Culture and Art in East Asia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013].
  • “Murakami Haruki in Greater China: Creative Responses and the Quest for Cosmopolitanism”, Journal of Asian Studies 68/3 (2009): 715-747.
  • “Of Myths and Men: Better Luck Tomorrow and the Mainstreaming of Asian America Cinema”, Cinema Journal 47/4 (2008): 50-75.
    [Reprinted in Kathryn Karrh Cashin and Stacy Lynn Tanner (eds.), Multicultural Film: An Anthology, Boston: Pearson Publishing, 2011].
  • “Doppelgängers, Misogyny, and the San Francisco System: the Occupation Narratives of Ôe Kenzaburô”, Journal of Japanese Studies 33/2 (2007): 383-414.
  • “The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan”, positions: east asia cultures critique 14/3 (2006): 633-662.
    [Chinese translation: “Guojia yuyan zaitan: dangdai Taiwan de gongzhong yu simi shuxie”, trans. Chang Hsueh-mei, in Chiu Tzu-hsiu (ed.), Kua wenhua de xiangxiang zhutixing: Taiwan houzhimin/nüxing yanjiu lunshu, Taibei: National Taiwan University Press, 2012, 295-332].
  • “Trauma and the Politics of Identity: Form and Function in Narratives of the February 28th Incident”, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 17/2 (2005): 49-89.

Book chapters

  • “Voices of Empire in Dubliners and Taibeiren” in Shu-mei Shih and Ping-hui Liao (eds.), Comparatizing Taiwan, New York and London: Routledge, 2014, 175-201.
  • The Personals: Backward Glances, Knowing Looks, and the Voyeur Film” in Chris Berry (ed.), Chinese Films in Focus 2, London, British Film Institute, 2008, 175-81.



  • “Kubi to karada” (Head and Body) by Wu Yongfu, tr. M. Hillenbrand, Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 19: Special Issue on Taiwan Literature During the Period of Japanese Rule (2006): 39-49.


  • “Gu’er de yanjing. Wu Zhuoliu youjizhong de ziwo ningshi yu tazhe xiangxiang” (The Eyes of an Orphan: Gazing at the Self and Imagining the Other in the Travel Diaries of Wu Zhuoliu) by Jian Yiming, tr. M. Hillenbrand, Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 15: Special Issue on Wu Zhuoliu (2004): 199-240.

Further Info:

Editorial and advisory boards

Seminar series

  • Convenor of the Oxford Seminar on Visual Culture in Modern and Contemporary China

Current D.Phil. students

  • Kate Costello: “Writing Between Languages: Rethinking Bilingualism in Contemporary Chinese Literature”
  • Annabella Massey: “Cities of the Mind: New Urban Imaginaries in Contemporary Chinese Literary and Visual Culture”
  • Flair Donglai Shi: “The Yellow Peril Discourse in Anglophone and Sinophone Literatures, 1895 to the Present: Mutations, Reactions, and Reincarnations” (co-supervisor)
  • Di Wang: “Aesthetic Search for Meaning: Body Language in Modern Chinese Art and Visual Culture (1900-1937)”
  • Xiaochu Wu: “Aesthetic Turns in Contemporary Feature Films from Mainland China”.
  • Min Hui Yeo:  "Working with the Other: Connections between the Malay- and Chinese-language Cinemas and Film Industries (1950s-1980s)"



Photograph of Margaret Hillenbrand
List of site pages