Hanbing Tong

Thesis title: The Alienation of Cultural Hybridity: Rewriting Postcolonial Mirror Images in Eileen Chang and Somerset Maugham


Hanbing Tong is currently a third-year PhD candidate in Chinese Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has a BA in English from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the University of Liverpool (2016), and a MSc in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh (2017).

Research summary

I am interested in the conceptual evolution of both post-colonialism and feminism, and in societal conflicts arising from the convention-revealing and convention–shattering understandings of hybridity. Specifically, I would like to explore how literature embodies and represents gender, how it creates what Judith Butler terms “gender trouble” by highlighting the fluidity, multiplicity and performativity of gender in ways which challenge hetero-patriarchal stereotypes. I have also taken an interest in the ways in which experimental and horror films explore the possibilities of a cinematic narrative that reevaluates various filmmaking and storytelling conventions. Films of this kind have the ability to imagine, through their nightmarish landscapes, elements of the repressed unconsciousness, dealing with issues of race, class, and sexuality.

Current research interests

My current PhD research aims to answer the questions of how two canonical authors, Eileen Chang and Somerset Maugham, represent the Orient and the Occident in a transnational and postcolonial context, and to what extent their representations problematize the conventional colonial narrative that has been perpetuated within the discourse of Orientalism. By juxtaposing the "mirror images" of the Occidental/colonists and the Oriental/natives portrayed in their works, this research will examine both writers’ interpretations of cultural hybridity in both spatial and psychological senses.

Conference details

  • ‘Traveler’s Cultural Re-imagination: “Monstrous Beauty” in The Painted Veil’, International Research Network on Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, National Tsing Hua University, 2018.