Yuhang Li

Yuhang Li

Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and East Asian Religions 2015–16
WSRP Research Associate 2015–16
Yuhang Li

Home institution

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Research project

Gendered Materialization: An Investigation of Women’s Artistic and Literary Reproductions of Guanyin in Late Imperial China

This project is primarily concerned with women’s material practices in relation to the cult of Guanyin, the most popular Chinese female deity in late imperial China. Yuhang Li examines how secular Buddhist women pursued religious salvation through creative depictions of Guanyin in different media such as painting and embroidery, and through bodily portrayals of the deity incorporating jewelry and dance to express a worldview that provided an alternative to the Confucian patriarchal system.


Yuhang Li received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2011. Before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University from 2011 to 2012 and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Grinnell College between 2012 and 2013. Her primary research interests cover a wide range subjects and mediums related to gender, material and visual practice in late imperial China (such as the cult of Guanyin and gendered image making), mimesis and devotional practice, textile and costume, Qing court art, and opera and Chinese visual culture. Her articles on hair embroidery, Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) dressing up as Guanyin, and other essays have been published recently.

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