GRADUATION: March 2018
Wen YU was a Ph.D. candidate in History Department. Born and raised in China, she studied history at Fudan University before coming to Harvard. Her research focuses on modern Chinese intellectual history, particularly the history of social and political thought, ideologies, and intellectual culture in China from the seventeenth century to the present.
Her dissertation, entitled “The Search for the Chinese Way in a Modern World: from the Rise of Evidential Scholarship to the Birth of Chinese Identity,” explains how the definition of a Chinese cultural identity became central to the intellectual debates over the political system and moral values in the twentieth century. Challenging the mainstream view that China’s transition from an imperial order to a modern nation state was purely a Westernizing process, the dissertation situates the making of modern Chinese nationalism in a long history of intellectual change beginning in the seventeenth century, showing how debates rooted in the Confucian learning traditions shaped the ideological foundation of modern China.