I serve as Associate Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at William & Mary. From 2020–2022 I was Associate Chair for Faculty Affairs in the department, and in June 2021 I wrapped up a three-and-a-half-year stint as director of Chinese Studies. From 2007–2016 I taught at the University of South Carolina—Columbia, where I directed both the program in Chinese and the Center for Asian Studies at the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies.
My research examines connections between China and the Middle East from the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, with a focus both on the history of translation between Chinese and Arabic literary and intellectual fields and comparative approaches to translation within these and other traditions. More broadly, my research and teaching have covered the cultural history of China from roughly the seventeenth century to the present, with a particular focus on East-West literary relations and the connections between literature, intellectual history, and print media. In 2012 I began the long journey to learn how to read Arabic and to incorporate Arabic-language sources in my research, and I’ve benefited from the generosity of many teachers, colleagues, and friends who have made this transition in my research possible.
I also contribute regularly as a translator. China from Empire to Nation-State (Harvard University Press, 2014), my translation of the introductory essay to Wang Hui’s four-volume Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015, and my translation of What Is China? by Ge Zhaoguang (Belknap/Harvard, 2018), received the same distinction in 2019. Earlier translations include Jin Tianhe’s The Women’s Bell, the first full-length tract on women’s rights in China, which appeared in The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (Columbia University Press, 2013). Currently I am working on three translation projects, mostly as editor: first, an abridged translation of Wang Hui’s Rise of Modern Chinese Thought; second, a collection of primary sources on Muslims in modern China (co-edited with Kristian Petersen); and third, a collection of writings by the cultural critic Li Tuo (co-edited with Anatoly Detwyler).
Over the years my research and teaching have been sponsored by fellowships, grants, and scholarships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for International Education, IIE-Fulbright, the Blakemore Foundation, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and other funders. Since I arrived at William & Mary in 2016, I have been the lead PI or sole PI on research and educational training grants totaling over $1.37 million. I’ve also served as a member of fellowships and grants panels for the ACLS/Luce China Studies Program, the Kluge Center at Library of Congress, and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, and in 2019–2020 I chaired the selection committee for the Patrick Hanan Book Prize for Translation for the Association for Asian Studies. In January 2022 I began a three-year term on the steering committee for the Luce/ACLS China Studies Program.
Courses I have offered at William & Mary include: “May Fourth at 100,” “Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature in Translation,” “Science Fiction and Scientism in Twentieth-Century China,” “The China Debates: Public Intellectuals and Contemporary Society,” and “What is China?,” a first-year writing-intensive seminar that incorporates the book by Ge Zhaoguang that I recently translated.
Because I started out as a first-generation college student at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, I am very interested in working with students from this group and thinking about how we can make critical languages and Chinese Studies a welcoming and supportive place for students of all backgrounds and career paths.
If you want to get in touch, you can email me at mghill /-/ at /-/ wm /-/ dot /-/ edu. I am also on Twitter at @hillmg1.