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Faculty Fellow

Haun Saussy

University Professor with appointments in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and Committee on Social Thought University of Chicago


Photo by Erielle Bakkum

Professor Saussy's primary teaching and research interests include classical Chinese poetry and commentary, literary theory, comparative study of oral traditions, problems of translation, pre-twentieth-century media history, and ethnography and ethics of medical care.

His 2022 book, Making of Barbarians: China in Multilingual Asia reminds us that, far from being on the margins of “world literature,” China has been a center in its own right for thousands of years and has long appropriated the speech and artistry of its alien neighbors, changing their forms and meanings in the process. His current project is the editing of a multi-author international literary history of Asia from the Bronze Age to the present.

For more on Saussy's publications, research, and interests, please visit his faculty page.

Featured Project

A Comparative History of East Asian Literatures

Project Team:

Project Topics:

2017 – 2018


History, Philology, and the Nation in the Chinese Humanities

History, Philology, and the Nation in the Chinese Humanities

Four Visiting Fellows joined University scholars to explore the writing of Chinese history from the perspective of “New National Studies.” Discussions centered on how history writing helps shape our understanding of the present.

History-writing in China often strikes U.S. readers as nationalistic and therefore “out of step” with Euro-American common practice. Our assumption was rather that the historiographic conventions differ, and require a reading that engages, as do Chinese humanists, with philosophical questions...

Motion and Meaning: Sign and Body Gesture in Dance Narratives Across Cultures

Motion and Meaning: Sign and Body Gesture in Dance Narratives Across Cultures

This project investigated how meaning is produced by the body, particularly in the context of classical Indian dance.

This project brings together faculty from the humanities, performing arts, and social sciences to investigate the relationships between meaning and motion, particularly in the context of classical Indian dance. Training in classical Indian dance is intensive and requires mastery of dozens of...



This interdisciplinary collaboration examined the forms and intersecting histories of South Asian practices of knowledge, with a focus on the geographical and historical spread of cultural norms and technologies.

The Sanskrit word śāstra, from a verb meaning “to discipline, to govern,” supplies a blanket term for a vast and heterogeneous spectrum of Southern Asian texts and the social forms in which these have been propagated. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the very basis of South...

Textual Optics

Textual Optics

An interdisciplinary group of scholars collaborated in a lab-like environment to formulate a unique, data-driven approach to the reading and interpretation of textual archives, from single words up to millions of volumes.

With the rise of the digital humanities has come the promise of new methods of exploring literary texts on an unprecedented scale. How does our approach to literature and literary history change when the canon expands to include millions of texts—all of them immediately analyzable by...