Department of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature
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​Beijing Normal University is an important center for the study of modern Chinese literature. During the period of the Republic of China, Lu Xun, Qian Xuantong and Li Changzhi taught literature here, ushering in the discipline of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature in BNU. At the beginning of 1949, Ye Dingyi participated in the takeover of Beijing Normal University as a military representative and served as a professor of Chinese language and literature. He set up Modern Literature course, which made Beijing Normal University become one of the earliest universities in New China to set up this course. Over the past century, a succession of famous scholars such as Li Helin, Yang Zhansheng, Guo Zhigang, Zhang Enhe, Huang Huilin, Liu Xiqing, Zhu Jinshun, Cai Qingfu, and Lan Dizhi have taught at BNU, and they have produced leading academic figures such as Wang Furen and Jin Hongda, who were among Chinas first class of doctoral students in modern literature. Their studenets, including Chen Fukang, Ai Xiaoming, Chen Xuechao, Yin Hong, Tan Guilin, Zhang Tongdao, Li Yi, and Yang Lianfen are still active in various academic fields.

At present, the Department of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature has developed a strong teaching and research team with Liu Yong and Zhang Qinghua as academic leaders. There are 15 in-service teachers: ten professors (including one distinguished professor and Changjiang scholar of the Ministry of Education, one chief expert in Marxist theoretical research and construction and one new century excellent talent of the Ministry of Education), three associate professors and two assistant professors. The Department actively cooperates with social organizations such as the China Writers Association to explore new paths for serving the society by making use of its advantages in the discipline of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature. Six in-service teachers have become members of the Chinese Writers Association. In addition to the International Writing Center established based on the discipline of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, the department has also established the Research Center on Cultural Influences, the Research Center on Chinese Contemporary Literature and Culture, the Research Center on Chinese Contemporary New Poetry, the Research Center on Chinese Picture Book Writing, among other research centers.

Through many years of industrious efforts, the research team has completed a series of prominent research achievements, and won the Chinese National Book Award, the Award of Outstanding Research Achievements of Chinese Higher Institutions in Humanities and Social Science of the Ministry of Education, the Award of Outstanding Achievements in Philosophy and Social Science of Beijing, the Five-One Project Award of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, the China TV Golden Eagle Award, the Tang Tao Award for Young Scholars in Literary Studies. At present, the research team is focusing on one major project of the National Social Science Fund of China, one key project of the National Social Science Fund of China, one major project of a key research base of the Ministry of Education, seven annual projects of the National Social Science Fund of China, and four annual projects of the Humanities and Social Science Fund of the Ministry of Education; co-founded foreign language magazines such as World Literature Today and Chinese Literature Today with the international academic circle, which contributes to promoting Chinese literature worldwide.

The main research interests of the Department are as follows:

I. Literary Works of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Writers

Since Li Helin founded the Modern Literature discipline, our predecessors and current members have paid special attention to the work of modern writers. Li Helin, Yang Zhansheng, and Wang Furen’s study on Lu Xun have exerted great impacts on modern literature and the development of Chinese contemporary culture; Guo Zhigang’s study on Sun Li, Zhu Jinshun’s study on Zhu Ziqing and historical materials regarding his works, Li Xiu and Qian Zhengang’s study on Mao Dun and Cai Qingfu’s study on the poetry of Mao Zedong produced prominent achievements. Under the influence of their predecessors, the teachers of the Department have made academic contributions, such as Liu Yong’s study on Guo Moruo and Li Jieren, Zou Hong’s study on Cao Yu, Huang Kaifa’s study on Zhou Zuoren, Zhang Qinghua's study on Mo Yan, Tan Wuchang’s study on contemporary poets, Zhang Ning’s study of contemporary literary criticism and popular culture, Chen Hui and Zhang Li’s in-depth study on female writers and female literature, Shen Qingli’s attention to Taiwanese and overseas Chinese writers, Liang Zhenhua's reviews of contemporary dramas, films and television series, Zhang Guolong’s study on initiation stories, Xiong Xiuyu’s study on writers of the new era and root-seeking literature, and Lin Fenfen’s study on the identity of the May Fourth writers.

II. History of Modern and Contemporary Literature and Ideological Trends of Culture

Research on literary history and ideological trends of literature is an important part of the construction of the discipline of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature. Ye DingyiShort History of Modern Chinese Literature, Li Helins On Chinese Literary Trends in the Last Two Decades and Study on the History of New Chinese Literature made groundbreaking contributions to the studies of modern Chinese literary movement and the history of modern Chinese literature. The History of Modern Chinese Literature jointly edited by BNU's Guo Zhigang and Sun Zhongtian of Northeast Normal University are listed as the national key textbooks of the “Ninth Five-Year Plan” for ordinary higher education; many other books also have exerted important influences, such as the History of Modern Chinese Literature edited by Liu Yong and Zou Hong, the Chronicle of Modern Chinese Literature edited by Liu Yong and Li Yi, the History of Modern Chinese Literature and the Chronicle of Contemporary Chinese Literature edited by Zhang Jian, Zhang Qinghua and Zhang Ning. In recent years, members of the Department have successively developed a series of research sub-branches, such as the study on the ideological trend of new literature enlightenment, the study on literature in the Republic of China, the study on the ideological trend of modern literature and religious culture, the ideological trend of urban literature and culture, the ideological trend of the academic history of modern literature and the evolution of novels, prose and other literary genres, and the study on contemporary literature and popular culture, which have promoted the development of this discipline.

III. Contemporary Literature and Cultural Criticism

Study on the Ideology of Modern Chinese Comedy and Humorous Travel and The Door to Satire by Zhang Jian, The Ideological Trend of Chinese Contemporary Avant-garde Literature, Historical Narrative in Chinese Contemporary Literature and The Elegy of Heaven by Zhang Qinghua, Literature of the Peoples Republic of China over the Past 60 Years (Volume I) and Literature of the Sentimental Age by Zhang Ning, among other books, have made unique contributions to the study on contemporary literature, the study on contemporary drama, the study on avant-garde literature and the study on the ideological trend of popular culture, and exerted widespread influence at home and abroad. In addition, members of the Department also attained outstanding achievements in the field of the study on the poetics of novels, the study on popular literature and popular culture, the study poetic aesthetics, the study on female literature, and the study on the literary works of contemporary new writers. Liu Yong and others have carried out the study on Beijings culture and published a number of Reports on the Cultural Development of Beijing each of in the past few years.

IVChildren’s Literature

One of the distinctive disciplines of the school of Chinese Language and Literature, Beijing Normal University, the research on children’s literature can be traced back to the Teaching and Research Office of Children's Literature of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature established in the early 1950s, in which Professor Mu Mutian served as the director. Later, with the meticulous efforts of Professors Pu Manting, Zhang Meini, Wang Quangen and others, BNU has always earned a top spot among other higher institutions in the country in terms of teaching and research on children's literature. It began to recruit postgraduate students in children's literature in 1984 and China’s first class of doctoral candidates in children's literature in 2001, and it also took the lead in recruiting China’s first class of postgraduate students in science fiction literature in 2003. BNU Research Center for Chinese Children’s Literature was established in 2003 and has become one of the university's new academic platforms. Professor Chen Hui’s application of children’s literature in education and theoretical research on picture book writing have become “emerging forces” in recent years, with teaching quality, research achievements and academic influences leading the country.

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