Panpan Yang

Research Interests: Asian cinemas, animation; new media; cinema in relation to other art forms; cultural flows; cinematic space and time; digital archive; digital humanities; Chinese cinema, literature, and visual culture.


Panpan Yang graduated in Summer 2020 with a joint-degree from the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and East Asian Languages and Civilizations. She works on transnational cinema and media, with a special focus on China. She is particularly interested in how cinema foregrounds the meetings or missed encounters between Chinese and Western aesthetics.

- Dissertation: “Animating Space: Towards a Poetics of Chinese Animation”

- Committee: Tom Gunning, Judith Zeitlin, Wu Hung, W. J. T. Mitchell, Dana Polan (NYU)

- Current Position: Lecturer (equiv. Assistant Professor) in Arts and Visual Cultures of Modern China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London


Her first book project reanimates the history of Chinese animation from the 1920s to the present, focusing on animation’s encounters with other art forms, including photography, painting, and calligraphy. It asks how animation thinks—not “thinks about” or “thinks through”—time and space to a degree unimaginable in live-action cinema. What emerges in her investigation is a distinct understanding of space that is neither completely geographical nor entirely graphic, and of time as heterogeneous, disruptive, and surprising.

Concurrently, she is pursuing a second book project on the calligraphic imagination in contemporary film and new media. 

Her research has been supported by the Getty Foundation and the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. She is also a recipient of the Domitor Essay Award, UChicago’s Arts Summer Fellowship, and China's National Young Screenwriter Award.


Introduction to Film (CMST 10100, Spring 2021)

When True Love Cane to China (CMST 24616, Winter 2021)

Media Aesthetics: Image (HUMA 16000, Autumn 2020)

East Asian Cinema (CMST 24605, Autumn 2019)

Selected Publications

“Repositioning Excess: Romantic Melodrama’s Journey from Hollywood to China.” In Melodrama Unbound, edited by Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams, 219–236. NY: Columbia University Press, 2018.

“Fan Xuepeng.” In Women Film Pioneers Project, edited by Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta. NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2017.

“Review of China in the Mix: Cinema, Sound, and Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization.” China Review International, 24(1) (2019): 71–74.