Ming Dong Gu

Ming Dong Gu

Katherine R. Cecil Professor in Foreign Languages
Professor — Literature
Associate Director, Center for Asian Studies

Ming Dong Gu, Ph. D. (University of Chicago), is a scholar of comparative literature, poetics, critical theory, comparative thought, and cultural studies.


Currently accepting undergraduate and graduate students


Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Chinese and Comparative Literature
University of Chicago - 1999
M.A. - Chinese Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison - 1996
M.A. - English Literature
University of Kent at Canterbury, England - 1987

Research Areas

Comparative literature
Comparative poetics
Literary theory
Comparative thought
Postcolonial studies
Psychanalytic criticism
Chinese literature
English literature
cross-cultural studies


The Nature and Rationale of Zen/Chan and Enlightenment: The Mind of a Pre-Natal Baby (London and New York: Routledge, 2024), pp. 224. - Monograph
“Mysticism of Chan/Zen Enlightenment: A Rational Understanding through Practices,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, (2017), no. 2, pp. 235-251.  - Journal Article
 “Theory of Literary Pneuma (Wenqi): Philosophical Re-conception of a Chinese Aesthetic,” in Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy(Issue 3, 2020): 443-460. - Journal Article
Lu Xun and Modernisnr/Postmodernism. forthcoming in Modern Language Quarterly, 68.4 (2007). - Journal Article
 Divination and Correlative Thinking: Origins of An Aesthetic in the Book of Changes and Book of Songs,Philosophy and Literature, Vol 45, No 1 (2022): 137-153. - Journal article
“Lu Xun and Modern Chinese Literature in the Context of World Literature,” Journal of Modern Literature 44.2 (2021): 76-92. - Journal article
Translating China for Western Readers: Reflective, Critical, Practical Essays (with Rainer Schulte) (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014), pp. 329. - Edited volume
Fusion of Critical Horizons in Chinese and Western Language, Poetics, Aesthetics(New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan,  2021). pp.  369.  2021 - Monograph

Additional Information

           Ming Dong Gu is currently Katherine R. Cecil Professor in foreign languages and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a scholar of comparative literature, poetics, critical theory, comparative thought, and cultural studies. He is an author of six monographs:       I. Fusion of Critical Horizons in Chinese and Western Language, Poetics, Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021);      II. Sinologism: An Alternative to Orientalism and Post-colonialism (Routledge, 2013);     III. Chinese Theories of Reading and Writing (SUNY Press 2005);     IV. Chinese Theories of Fiction (SUNY Press 2006);      V. The Nature and Rationale of Zen/Chan and Enlightenment (Routledge 2004);     VI. Anxiety of Originality: Multiple Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies (In Chinese; Nanjing University Press, 2009);            He is also an editor of three English volumes: Translating China for Western Readers (SUNY Press, 2014), Why Traditional Chinese Philosophy Still Matters (Routledge 2018), and Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature (2019); and a co-editor of three volumes: Nobel Prize Winners on Literary Creation (Peking University Press, 1987), Collected Essays on the Critical Inquiry of Sinologism (China Social Science Press, 2017), and New Sinology: Discussions and Debates on China-West Studies (Special Issue for Contemporary Chinese Thought 2018)         In addition, he has published 170 articles in English and Chinese. His English articles appear in journals of the following areas.(I)   Literary and aesthetic theory: New Literary History, Poetics Today, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism, Journal of Aesthetic Education (2 articles), Narrative, Journal of Narrative Theory.(II)  Literary studies:  D. H. Lawrence Review (two articles), Modern Language Quarterly, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory; Literature and Psychology, Tamkang Review (2 articles), Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature, Translation Review, Journal of Modern Literature. (III)  Comparative Literature: Comparative Literature, Comparative Literature Studies (two articles), Canadian Review of Comparative Literature (two articles), Yearbook of Comparative Literature. (IV)   Comparative Thought: Philosophy East & West (7 articles), Journal of Chinese Philosophy (4 articles), Asian Philosophy, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy (3 articles), Philosophy and Literature (2 articles). (V)    Asian Studies: Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Oriental Studies, Monumenta Serica, International Communications of Chinese Culture (2 articles), Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, and Contemporary Chinese Thought. (VI)   Cultural Studies: Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Postcolonial Studies, Culture as Text, and European Review.           His Chinese articles appear in China’s major academic journals and some of them are reprinted in full or in excerpts in China’s major digests for 43 times. He has also published 25 reviews and short articles in Chinese and English.
Professional Experience
  •  Professional Services
                Special Consultant to Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism; Editorial Member of Journal of Chinese Philosophy (2011-16), Member of the Editorial Board of Translation Review and Chinese Literature and Thought Today, and a guest editor for Contemporary Chinese Thought.

    Evaluator of Manuscripts for 17 journals in English:
                Critical Inquiry, Poetics Today; Comparative Literature Studies, Comparatists, Philosophy East and West, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews; Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Psychological Reports, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Translation Review, Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture, Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies, and Caribbean Quarterly.

    Evaluator of Manuscripts for Academic Presses:
                Routledge Press, University of Toronto Press, Northwestern University Press, Baylor University Press, State University of New York Press, Palgrave MacMillan Press, Oxford University Press, Lexington Books, and Bloombury Academic.
    Invited Evaluator for Fellowship Foundations or Academic Institutions:
    (1)    Annual Evaluator for the Academic Reputation Survey of the Times Higher Education’s “World University Rankings” since 2013.
    (2)    Evaluator for QS Global Academic Survey for the World University Rankings since 2017.
    (3)    Invited nominator for the MacArthur Fellows Program, 2019.
    (4)    Evaluator for Research Grant Council, Hong Kong.
    (5)    Assessor for Confucius China Studies Program (CCSP) Ph.D. Fellowships.
    (6)    Nominator for Tang Prize in Sinology(唐奖)
Academic Leadership
1)      Conference and Panel Organizer, Chair, and Discussant            July 27, 2019 – Chair of “Six International Journal Editors Forum,” 2019 International Comparative Literature Association – Shenzhen Forum.            November 19-22, 2015 – Organizer of the International Symposium on “Why Classical Chinese Thought Matters in the Global Age,” University of Texas at Dallas.            May 18, 2012 – Chaired a session at the International Conference of ”Chinese Culture and the World,” Nanjing University, China.June 2, 2011-- Chaired an International Summit Forum “Theory and The Disappearing Future: On De Man and Benjamin,” in Yangzhou University, with distinguished speakers Prof. J. Hillis Miller from the University of California-Ervine and Prof. Tom Cohen from the State University of New York at Albany. I was also the discussant.            October 19-21, 2010 – Co-organizer for the International Symposium on “Sinologism: Theoretical Explorations,” Nanjing University, China.            May 27-30, 2010 -- One of the organizers for an International Conference on “Arts in the Age of Post-technology,” jointly sponsored by Southeast University, Shanghai University, and University of Texas at Dallas, Nanjing, China.            April 6-8, 2009 – Co-organizer of the International Symposium on “Translating China into the West,” Dallas, USA.            November 9, 2007 – Chair for the panel “Contemporary Chinese Literature and Translation,” 30th American Literary Translators Association Annual Conference, Dallas.            March 22-25, 2007 - Organizer and chair of Panel 224, “Across Invisible Divides in Chinese Fiction Studies,” the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Boston.            April 6-9, 2006 - Organizer of Panel 174, “Chinese Fiction and Other Forms of Writing: Some Critical and Theoretical Considerations,” the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, San Francisco.            June 25, 2005 –Discussant for a panel on fiction at the International Conference on “Chinese Literature: Dialogues Between Tradition and Modernity,” Nanjing, China.                    April 3, 2005 – Discussant for Panel 176, “Socialist Feminist in East Asia,” the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Chicago.            June 11-14, 2004 –Discussant to a plenary session for the International Conference on “Critical Inquiry: End of Theory?” in Beijing, jointly held by Tsinghua University and University of Chicago.            August 15-18, 2002 – Discussant for a panel “Cross-Cultural Dialogue: Conflict and Confusion” at the international conference, “Beginning of the New Century: Comparative Literature in a Cross-cultural Context,” Nanjing, China.            April 4-7, 2002 - Organizer of Panel 138, “Perspectives and Problematics in the Chinese Theories of Reading,” for the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington D.C.             March 22-25, 2001- Organizer of Panel 36, "Canonical Texts and Contemporary Theories: A Chinese Connection," for the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Chicago.             July 28- Aug. 1 2000 - Chair of two parallel sessions at the International Conference on the "Future of Literary Theory," held in Beijing, China, jointly organized by Beijing Language and Culture University and the University of California-Ervine.            March 2000 - Organizer of Panel 162, “Bridging the Gap between Traditional Scholarship and Contemporary Theories in Chinese Literary Studies” for the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, San Diego.             March 1999 - Organizer of Panel 6, “Redology beyond the Fin-de-Siècle” at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Boston.             March 1998 - Organizer of Panel 169, “Wen and Its Impact on the Development of Chinese Literary Thought” at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington D.C.            Oct. 1992 - Chair of the panel, "Chinese Reform and Economics" at the 10th International Conference of Third World Studies, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.

News Articles

Prof Breaks New Ground in Literary Criticism Book
Dr. Ming Dong Gu, professor of Chinese and comparative literature and director of the Confucius Institute at UT Dallas, was asked by the general editor of Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism to choose the first Chinese theorist to be included in the publication.

The comprehensive anthology expanded in the newly published second edition to include theorists from Chinese, Indian and Arabic traditions.  That change represents a stark difference from the typical anthologies of literary theory that cover Western theorists exclusively.
Confucian Wisdom and Literary Evolution: Dr. Ming Dong Gu’s Insights Echo Worldwide
Dr. Gu, who teaches literature at the Bass School, served as keynote speaker at two recent international conferences: the Conference of the International Confucian Association on Sept. 8 in Singapore, and The Ninth Convention of the Chinese-American Association for Poetry and Poetics (CAAP) on Oct. 20 in Wuhan, China. 

The Singapore conference was held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the International Confucian Association and the centenary of the birth of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore and Honorary Chairman of the Association. The event was attended by a lineup of dignitaries and renowned scholars including Fukuda Yasuo, Chairman of the International Confucian Association and former Prime Minister of Japan and Roger T. Ames, Humanities Chair Professor of Peking University and former editor of Philosophy East and West.

At the CAAP Conference, Dr. Gu gave a virtual keynote presentation on how the conception of literature has evolved in history and across cultures and how to cope with the shifting landscape of literary studies. His talk focused on the work of ancient Chinese thinker Liu Xie and French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault and located a concentric logic for the development of the humanities in general.