Gregory B. Lee

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Gregory B. Lee
Lee in Malmo 2013
Native name
利大英 (Lì Dàyīng)
Known forBritish sinologist
AwardsFrench Order of Academic Palms; Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities
Academic background
EducationUniversity of London
Alma materPeking University
Academic work
DisciplineChinese cultural studies
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
University of Hong Kong
University of Lyon
Main interestsChinese and comparative literary and cultural studies

Gregory B. Lee (born 1955) is an academic, author, and broadcaster. Lee is Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 and Director of the French research Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies. Lee was previously Chair Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies at City University of Hong Kong where he established, and was the founding director of, the Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies (2010–2012).[1] He also served as Dean of City University's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.[2] From 2007 to 2010 Lee was First Vice-President of Jean Moulin University Lyon 3.[3] In 2010, Lee was made a Chevalier (Knight) in the French Order of Academic Palms. In 2011, he was elected Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities.

Academic career[edit]

Lee received his undergraduate degree in modern and classical Chinese at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1979, and his PhD in Chinese poetry from the same institution in 1985.[4] He also studied political economy and Chinese literature at Peking University (1979–1981, 1982–83) as a British Council Scholar, and took up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (1985–86) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences's Institute of Literature, whose then director was Liu Zaifu.

Lee formerly taught in the United Kingdom at the University of Cambridge (1983-1984) and later at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1987-1988), before occupying posts as an assistant professor in East Asian Languages and Civilization at the University of Chicago (1990–1994) and associate professor at the University of Hong Kong (1994–1998), where he taught comparative literature. A specialist in Chinese and comparative literary and cultural studies, his more recent work is in the realm of comparative cultural history, specifically in the fields of Chinese diaspora, transcultural studies, and intellectual decolonization.[2] He joined the University of Lyon in 1998.[3][5]


In tune with the 1980s academic tendency towards the single-author monography,[6] Lee's first book analysed the work and career of an important but, until then, neglected poet. Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist, published by the Chinese University Press (Hong Kong, 1985), was singled out for its "fastidious scholarship".[7] His second book, Troubadours, Trumpeters, Troubled Makers: Lyricism, Nationalism and Hybridity in China and Its Others (C. Hurst & Co. and Duke University Press, 1996), discusses the controversy surrounding the "Chineseness" of modern Chinese writers following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.[5] His third book was Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries of China and Chineseness (Routledge and Hawai'i UP, 2003).[8] His most recent book in English is China's Lost Decade: The Politics and Poetics of the 1980s (Tigre de Papier, 2009; 2011); an American, revised, edition of China's Lost Decade was published in 2012 by Zephyr Press. His Un Spectre hante la Chine : Les fondements de la contestation actuelle was published in April 2012 (Tigre de Papier, 2009; 2011). His China Dreaming: Exit 13 or China and the World in 2030 followed by China's Spectacular-oneiric Society (Tigre de Papier, 2015) and The Eighth Chinese Merchant and the Disappeared Chinese Seamen (Tigre de Papier, 2015) are both published in the iBooks platform.

Lee's China Imagined: From European Fantasy to Spectacular Power was published in 2018 by C. Hurst & Co. Craig Clunas has commented that this book "has something to say to all scholars of China, past and present. Its broad reach and moral grasp enable penetrating questions about exactly what it is we think we are studying when we study China".[9] Victor Mair has described Lee's book as "powerfully stimulating", and noted that the "chapters on language alone are worth their weight in gold".[9]

Other professional activities[edit]

Lee has also been a frequent radio broadcaster on China and the Chinese diaspora. His radio appearances include an hour-long interview on Take Five (Interviewer/Producer: Will Batchelor) City Talk Radio (UK) on 9 October 2009. He was also interviewed on the subject Should we be afraid of China ? on The Roy Basnett Show (Producer: Will Batchelor) City Talk (UK)[10][not in citation given] on 11 August 2009 and in 2008 (1 April) on the question of "China-Bashing and Tibet" on the Duncan Barkes Show.[11][not in citation given] In 2005 he wrote and presented BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature "Liver Birds and Laundrymen"[12](2005) in which he revisited the story of Europe's oldest Chinatown, in Liverpool (UK), and interrogated dominant British perceptions of the Chinese. He has also translated a variety of Chinese works, including those of contemporary poet Duo Duo (Looking Out From Death Bloomsbury, 1989; The Boy Who Catches Wasps Zephyr, 2002),[13] Dai Wangshu, and Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian ("Fugitives", a controversial 1989 play). Duo Duo was awarded the 2010 World Literature Today's Neustadt International Prize for Literature ("widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel Prize in Literature") and Lee's role recognised with an invitation to introduce the poet's work at the award ceremony in Oklahoma in October 2010.

Lee is editor-in-chief of the journal Transtext(s)s-Transcultures.[14] Lee also writes for the media on Hong Kong issues.[15]


  1. ^ "City University opens Hong Kong's first Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies". 12 January 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Gibb, Michael (30 November 2010). "Dean of CHASS outlines vision for cross-disciplinary education". City University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Gregory Lee". 18 December 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  4. ^ "SOAS Executive Board Agenda" (PDF). 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b Wai, Isabella (1998–1999). "Scholar debunks myth of monolithic China : An interview with Gregory Lee". Road to East Asia. 3. Retrieved 13 November 2018.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  6. ^ Wang, David Der-wei (2005). "A Report on Modern Chinese Literary Studies in the English-Speaking World". Harvard Asia Quarterly. IX (1 & 2).
  7. ^ Allen, Joseph R. (December 1991). "Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist by Gregory Lee". Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Review. Chinese Literature Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR). 13: 166–168. doi:10.2307/495071. JSTOR 495071.
  8. ^ "One Englishman's story of Chinese identity". Taipei Times. 7 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b "China Imagined : From European Fantasy to Spectacular Power, edited by Gregory B. Lee". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  10. ^ "City Talk 105.9 FM".
  11. ^ "Duncan Barkes: Portly, provocative and definitely primed". BAuer Radio and MediaSpan. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
  12. ^ "Liver Birds and Laundrymen. Europe's Earliest Chinatown". BBC. 13 March 2005.
  13. ^ Bien, Gloria (2012). Baudelaire in China: A Study in Literary Reception. University of Delaware. pp. 214–215, 220. ISBN 9781611493900.
  14. ^ "Editorial board". Transtext(e)s Transcultures. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Gregory B. Lee". Retrieved 13 November 2018.

External links[edit]