Dr Xiaofan Amy Li

Dr Xiaofan Amy Li

Lecturer in Comparative Cultural Studies


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2019

Research summary

My research spans comparisons and exchanges between France, China, and East Asia more broadly speaking. Comparison - as a relation, concept, and method - is central to my work and I’m particularly interested in cross-cultural, cross-period, and transnational comparisons. These comparisons are treated in my first book Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi (Oxford: Legenda, 2015), which re-reads two sinophilic French writers and the imaginative classical Chinese text Zhuangzi through their intertextual, poetic, and conceptual dialogues. After my first book I continue to write about theories and methods of Comparative and World Literature, and have been exploring literary and intellectual exchanges between France and East Asia since the early twentieth century, in particular via issues such as literary translation and modern receptions and reinventions of pre-modern Chinese literature and culture. In 2019 I published a book, co-authored with my colleagues Jieun Kiaer and Jennifer Guest, entitled Translation and Literature in East Asia: Between Visibility and Invisibility (Routledge), which reconsiders the notion of translational (in)visibility when translating between and from East Asian languages and literatures. Currently I am working on a project that examines playfulness and games in literature and cultural phenomena, and what the idea of play means for comparative criticism. I also have a keen interest in poetics, race and ethnicity, cultural representations, and intersections between anthropology and literature.

I am commissioning co-editor of the books series 'Routledge Studies in East Asian Translation'. Previously (from 2014-2015), I edited the Oxford Comparative Criticism & Translation Review (OCCTR).

Teaching summary

I teach a range of courses and topics covering World Literature, French literature, 20C China, and Translation Studies.


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2014
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 2010
University of Edinburgh
Other higher degree, Master of Arts (Hons) | 2009


After completing undergraduate studies in French and Art History at the University of Edinburgh and l'Ecole du Louvre, Paris, my interests turned to Comparative Literature and I earned my MPhil and PhD at Queens' College, Cambridge. From 2013-2016 I did post-doctoral research as Junior Research Fellow in Comparative Literature & Translation at St Anne's College, Oxford. Prior to joining UCL, I was Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. I have also taught in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures at SOAS, and in 2019 I was Visiting Scholar in French & Comparative Studies at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.