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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Faculty & Staff Directory

Michael Gibbs Hill

Associate Professor, Chinese and Comparative Literature
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
University of South Carolina

Office: HUO 705
Vitae: Download PDF

Director, Center for Asian Studies
Director, Program in Chinese


I teach courses in Chinese language, literature, and culture and in comparative literature. My research is guided by an interest in translation and how the flow of ideas across languages shapes the work of writers, artists, intellectuals, and their audiences. My first book on this subject, Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture (Oxford University Press), was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 by Choice magazine.

I also contribute regularly as a translator: my translation of China from Empire to Nation-State by Wang Hui appeared in 2014 from Harvard University Press, and I am preparing a translation of What Is China? by Ge Zhaoguang, also for Harvard University Press. My translation of Jin Tianhe’s The Women’s Bell (1903), the first full-length tract on women’s rights in China, appeared in  The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (Columbia University Press, 2013).

In 2012 I started learning Modern Standard Arabic and am now launching a new project that connects the intellectual “enlightenment” in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the “enlightenment” or “awakening” (Nahḍah) in Arabic-language cultural and intellectual history of the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century. I also remain interested in modern Chinese literature, especially the history of language reform (and reaction) in China in the first half of the twentieth century. 


Undergraduate Teaching
In fall 2015 I am teaching "Modern Misreadings," a course that examines translation, imitation, and adaptation between China and Western-language literatures. We will read works by writers such as Ezra Pound, Lu Xun, Bertolt Brecht, and Pearl Buck, along with more recent writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Liu Cixin. View a draft of the syllabus on Dropbox here.

In spring 2016 I will teach Modern Chinese Literature, a core course for the Major in Chinese Studies that also counts toward the Minor in Chinese Studies. My draft of the syllabus (subject to change) is here.


Graduate Study
The PhD program in Comparative Literature offers students rigorous professional training and the flexibility to pursue creative research projects. Recent graduates who specialized in Chinese studies have an excellent placement record, landing tenure-track positions at schools such as Temple University, University of Richmond, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and Butler University. I welcome inquiries from students who want to incorporate any aspect of late imperial or modern Chinese literature and culture into their study, as well as students working in subfields like translation studies and the history of publishing.


BA, Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, 1996
MA, Comparative Literature, Rutgers University, 2003
PhD, East Asian Studies, Columbia University, 2008


Areas of interest
Modern and Late Imperial Chinese Culture
China and the Middle East
History of Authorship and Publishing
Translation Studies and Technologies of Translation
Language and Script Reform
Comparative Literature


Imagining Modern China: History, Culture, Politics
The Business of Culture in Modern China
Modern Misreadings: Translation, Imitation, and Borrowing
Translation and Technologies of Languages (graduate)
Debates In Modern Chinese Studies (graduate, co-taught with Krista Van Fleit Hang)
Modern Chinese Literature
Introduction to Chinese Civilization
Introduction to World Literature
First-Year Mandarin Chinese
Second-Year Mandarin Chinese


Selected Research Publications (see CV for full list)
Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Paperback in press for 2015.

China From Empire to Nation-State, by Wang Hui 汪晖. A translation of the general introduction to The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought (Xiandai Zhongguo sixiangde xingqi), with an introduction by the translator. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.

“New Script and a New ‘Madman’s Diary.’” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 27, no. 1(Spring 2015): 75–104.

“No True Men in the State: Pseudo/translation and ‘Feminine’ Voice in the Late Qing.” Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese / Xiandai Zhongwen wenxue xuebao 10, no. 2 (Dec. 2011): 125–148.

“Between English and Guoyu: The English Student, English Weekly, and the Commercial Press’s Correspondence Schools.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 23, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 100–145.

“Pingyun de shoulie lüxing: zaoqi Zhou Zuoren jiqi xingbiehua de ‘ganshi youguo’ jingshen” (Duckweed Cloud’s safari: the early Zhou Zuoren and his gendered “obsession with China”). Trans. Zhu Yun. In Xiandai Zhongguo xiaoshuo de shi yu xue: xiang Xia Zhiqing xiansheng zhijing (The history and study of modern Chinese fiction: essays in honor of C. T. Hsia), ed. David Der-wei Wang (Taipei: Lianjing, 2010), 133–152.

“Guihua fanyi de jiexian: yi Lin Shu Yisuo yuyan yiben wei li” (The limits of domestication: a study of Lin Shu’s version of Aesop’s Fables). Dongya renwen (Humanities East Asia), ed. Dong Bingyue (Beijing: Sanlian), 1 (2008): 283–302.

“National Classicism: Lin Shu as Textbook Writer and Anthologist, 1908–1924.” Twentieth-Century China 33, no. 3 (November 2007): 27–52.


Selected publications can be found on my site.