Xiaowen (Catherine) Xu

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Language, Literature, Film and Culture Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Xu is currently teaching Chinese language courses and courses on Chinese literature, film, and culture, at Syracuse University. She holds two Ph.D.’s: one in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto (2014); the other in English from the Beijing Foreign Studies University (1997). Her research interests include the intertextual relationship between historiography and prose fiction in Chinese literature, the concept of the “fantastic” in Chinese classical tales and vernacular stories, and modern Chinese fiction. At present, she is engaged in an intersectional research project on contemporary Chinese-Canadian literature, and she is planning a new edition of her work, Feeble Light Against Darkness, on Joseph Conrad’s war against moral isolation in his major novels. 

She is also a professional writer, translator, and language consultant, and has published many Chinese translations, among which are Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and several monographs by contemporary writers and critics such as Bruce Robbins’ The Cultural Left in Globalization: Critical Essays and Linda Hutcheon’s Irony’s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony.


CHI 101 Chinese I
CHI 202 Chinese IV
CHI 401 Advanced Chinese I
CHI 402 Advanced Chinese II
LIT 300 Chinese Literature and Film
LIT 300 Pre-modern Chinese Literature


Ph.D., East Asian Studies (Chinese Literature with emphasis in classical prose narrative, modern Chinese fiction, and intertextuality). Dissertation: Transgression in Texts: Literary Quality of Qi from Tang Tales of Marvels to Wang Xiaobo’s Tang Tales, University of Toronto (2014)

Ph.D., English (English Literature with emphasis in Modernist fiction and literary theory). Dissertation: Feeble Light Against Darkness: Joseph Conrad’s War Against Moral Isolation in His Major Novels, Beijing Foreign Studies University (1997)

M.A., English, Shandong University (1994)

B.A., English, Shandong University (1991)


2016-present: Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese, Syracuse University (see above for courses being taught).

1997-present: Professional Interpreter and Translator, by contract (for Sponsors, see sections below on Book Chapters and Articles, Chinese Translation, and English Translation).

2009-2016: Sessional Lecturer, University of Toronto. Courses taught: Chinese Literature (Pre-Qin to Tang and Song to Qing); Modern Chinese for Students with Prior Background; Chinese Fiction After Mao; Introduction to Applied Translation Theory (Mandarin); Mandarin Translation (Levels I, II, and III); and Modern Standard Chinese.
Also: Acting Chinese Language Coordinator, East Asian Studies (2014-2015).

2004-2014: Teaching Assistant, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. Courses taught: Modern Standard Chinese; Introduction to East Asian Civilizations; China and the Internet; Approaches to East Asia; Modern Chinese Literature; Chinese Fiction; Chinese Literature (Pre-Qin to Tang and Song to Qing); and Chinese Culture and Society.

2004-2006: Instructor, School of English and Liberal Studies, Seneca College, Toronto. Courses taught: English & Communication; and College English.

2001: Visiting Lecturer, The Business School of Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore. Cources taught: Business Communication; and Chinese/English Translation & Interpretation Certification.

2000-2002: Associate Professor, English, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China. Courses taught: A Survey of English Literature; Intensive Readings in English Language; English Writing; and English/Chinese Translation and Interpretation.

1997-2000: Lecturer, English, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China. Courses taught: Intensive Readings in English Language; and English Writing. 

Recent Publications


  • “Jingu qiguan: Bestselling Stories in the Ming Dynasty.” A Companion to World Literature, vol 3. Ed. Christopher Lupke. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming in December 2017.
  • “A Review of A Collection of Critical Essays on Modern British Literature by Zhang Zhongzai.” Foreign Literature Studies (Wuhan) 1998:3, 112.
  • "Thomas Carlyle: The Sage of Chelsea." Foreign Literatures 1998:3, 86-91, 94. Reprinted in Foreign Literatures Study (China Renda Social Sciences Information Center) 1998:10, 71-77.
  • "Essay on Tess of D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure." Foreign Literatures 1995:6, 63-70.
  • "Conrad and Lord Jim." Foreign Literatures 1994:2, 63-67,62.


  • Chinese translation of Crags and Ravines Make a Marvellous View: A Study of Wu Bin’s Unique 17th Century Scroll Painting “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock.” Marcus Flacks.  London, Sylph Editions, forthcoming in spring 2017. 
  • Heju tang鹤聚堂 [The Crane Collections (Snuff Bottle Website)], 2006-Present. http://www.thecranecollection.com/introduction/
  • Yige qingnian yishujia de xiaoxiang一个青年艺术家的肖像 [A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man].  By James Joyce.  Nanjing: Yilin Press, 2014. 
  • Fanfeng zhi fengmang: fanfeng de lilun yu zhengjian反讽之锋芒:反讽的理论与政见[Irony’s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony].  By Linda Hutcheon.  Kaifeng: Henan U Press, 2010. 
  • Tielu 铁路[Iron Road: The Film Script]. By Anne Tait. Toronto: Anne Tait Production, 2003.
  • Dubolin ren/ Yige qingnian yishujia de xiaoxiang 都柏林人/一个青年艺术家的肖像 [Dubliners & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]. By James Joyce, Nanjing: Yilin Press, 2003.
  • Andong 暗冬[Dark Winter]. By William Dietrich. Nanjing: Yilin Press, 2002.
  • Quanqiuhua zhong de zhishi zuopai 全球化中的知识左派 [The Cultural Left in Globalisation: Critical Essays]. By Bruce Robbins. Beijing: China Social Science Press, 2000.
  • Hou geming fenwei 后革命氛 [The Post-Revolutionary Age: Critical Essays]. By Arlif Dirlik. Beijing: China Social Science Press, 1999.
  • Diqiu shiming 地球使命 [Mission Earth]. By L. Ron Hubbard. Haikou: Hainan Press, 1999.
  • Baitou haidiao 头海雕 [Bald Eagles]. By Karen Dudley. Shijiazhuang: Hebei Education Press, 1999.
  • Xiang [Elephants]. By Karen Dudley. Shijiazhuang: Hebei Education Press, 1999.
  • Ku’ai [Olive Latham]. By Voynich. Guilin: Lijiang Press, 1998.
  • Huxiao shanzhuang 山庄 [Wuthering Heights]. By Emily Bronte. Guilin: Lijiang Press, 1998.
  • Aimili Bolangte de huxiao shanzhuang 艾米莉勃朗特的呼啸山庄 [Emily' Bronte's Wuthering Heights]. By E. L. Gilbert. Beijing: Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press, 1996.
  • “Gelunbiya yu Yishabeier” 伦比亚与伊萨贝尔 [Columbus and Isabel]. By Salman Rushdie. Foreign Literatures 1996:2, 12-15.
  • “Chuanyue shikong” 穿越时空 [Through Time and Space]. By Nadine Gordimer. Foreign Literatures 1997:6, 33-37, 47.


  • English Subtitles in Manufactured Landscape. By Jennifer Baichwal. Toronto: Zeitgeist Films, 2006.

Conference Presentations

  • "Talents or Calculations: Two Courtesans under Late Ming Literati’s Male Gaze." MLA Annual Conference at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 8 January 2017.
  • “Familiarity in Other Places: Travel in Late Ming Vernacular Short Stories.” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention (RMMLA). To be delivered at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. 7 October 2016.
  • “Classical Transgression: On the Fantastic Element in Su Tong and Yu Hua’s Avant-Garde Experiments with Fiction Writing.” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2016 Annual Meeting at Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts, USA. 17-20 March 2016.
  • “Yingying's Story by Yuan Zhen or Wang Shifu.” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention (RMMLA). Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. 8-10 October 2015.
  • “Fantasizing History: The Literary Quality of Qi 奇 in Red Sorghum and My Life as Emperor.” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention (RMMLA). Grove Hotel, Boise, ID, USA. 9-11 October 2014.
  • “Revival: When a Tang Lady Lives in Wang Xiaobo’s Contemporary Fiction.” Annual Conference of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC). Portland State U, Portland, OR, USA. 18 June 2010.
  • “The Marvellous Trip of Texts: A Comparative Study of Wang Xiaobo’s Novella and Its Tang Hypotext.” New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS). Cornell U, Ithaca, NY, USA. 9-10 October 2009.
  • “When Poetry Meets Prose: On Domestication of the Marvelous in Xiangzhongyuan jie.” 6th East Asian Studies Graduate Conference. U of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 11 March 2006.
  • “To the Lighthouse II: Novel to Film.” The FOOT (Festival of Original Theatre) 2006. U of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 17 February 2006.
  • “Escape vs. Resignation: A Comparative Study of Yu Hua and Joseph Conrad.” 5th East Asian Studies Graduate Conference. U of Toronto, 5 March 2005.

Books and Publications by Xiaowen Xu

Chinese Translation of Dubliners by James Joyce.

Chinese Translation of Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce. 

Chinese Translation of The Cultural Left In Globalization by Bruce Robbins.

Chinese Translaiton of Irony's Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony by Linda Hutcheon.