Elise Huerta is a PhD candidate in East Asian Languages & Cultures (EALC) with a concentration in modern Chinese literature. Her dissertation, Haptic Horizons: On the Cultural Politics of Hands in Modern China, aims to produce new understandings of intimacy, alienation, labor, and violence in the modern era through the interdisciplinary study of tactile culture. The project explores the many powers invested in human hands through narrative, asking how literature, film, and visual culture produce shifting protocols of touch, as well as how stories assign historically-contingent meanings to the way people use their hands. In taking up these questions, her research not only contributes to the China field’s emerging interest in sensory experience, but also opens up a new vista for sustained future inquiry about how tactility interacts with sight, scent, and sound in a comprehensive aesthetic discourse of the body.
In addition to completing a PhD minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGSS), Huerta has also served as a co-instructor for the FEMGEN/EALC seminar "Sex, Gender, and Power in Modern China." She holds a BA in Asian Languages & Cultures from the University of Michigan and worked as a high-school literature teacher in Shanghai before coming to Stanford.