Xiaoli Yang's Dissertation Defense

Glass Ornament
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My dissertation delves into the intricate web of the bodily/material interactions and exchanges between humans and their nonhuman counterparts, as depicted in Chinese ecological literature, film, and art of the twenty-first century. The portrayal of the body emerges as a pivotal element in contemporary Chinese ecological visions, unveiling both its vulnerability and resilience in the face of ecological devastation. Each chapter delves into animals, waste, landscape, and air, respectively, highlighting the diverse materialities of the nonhuman and their entangled interplays with human bodies across various historical, political, and ecological contexts. My investigation reveals that the concept of the body should encompass both humans and nonhumans, acknowledging its dynamic nature and constant exchange with the environment. Ultimately, my dissertation argues for the socio-political, historical, and ecological agency of nonhuman beings and entities. At the same time, I assert that understanding the bodily/material interconnectedness between humans and the more-than-human world is vital to cultivating ecological sensibility amidst the unfolding climate crisis. 

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