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A Queer Ecocritical Reading of the Dragons of the Tàipíng Guǎngjì OR Why Dragons are Cool

March 28, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

A textile featuring a golden Chinese dragon on a navy-blue field. The dragon is surrounded by auspicious clouds and is looking at a flaming pearl.
Mandarin Robe (back) w/ The Rising Celestial Dragon 1796-1820 (Chia-ch’ing Period). 1644-1912. Artstor.

Josiah J. Stork

Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2021-2022)

Asian Languages and Cultures, UW–Madison

The dragons of the Tàipíng Guǎngjì太平廣記 (TPGJ) are queer, environmental entities. They are queer in that they do not fit cleanly into pre-determined categories of divinity, humanity, animality, and objecthood. Chinese dragons are environmental in that they are spirits of water: living in lakes, rivers, and seas and controlling weather. These dragon stories demand to be read through a queer ecocritical lens that considers the questions of how humans interact with dragons as environmental representatives, how humans are or are not different from other life forms, and how these questions reflect on a definition of humanity.

Josiah Stork is pursuing a Ph.D. in Chinese literature at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. They attended Middlebury College in Vermont and received their B.A. in Chinese literature in 2015. They attained their first M.A.—focusing on teaching Chinese as a foreign language—through Middlebury College’s Chinese Language School and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in 2017. They earned their second M.A from UW Madison in Chinese literature in 2019. Their main academic interests include early to mid-Imperial tale literature, the Tàipíng Guǎngjì, dragons, and critical theory. Aside from academics, Josiah enjoys baking, feeding people too many baked goods, growing houseplants, and gardening.


March 28, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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