Hangping Xu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; with two Master's degrees in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies respectively, he is also a Ph.D minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Transnational and interdisciplinary in its approach, his research is focused on modern and contemporary Chinese literature, film, and culture. He is also generally interested in theories of Comparative Literature and World Literature, literary theory, rhetoric, aesthetics, the intersection of philosophy and literature. His publications have appeared or are forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals such as Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), Critical Multilingualism Studies, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, and Pacific Affairs, as well as from Cambridge University Press (book chapter). With Elise Huerta, he is co-editing, for Chinese Literature Today, a special issue on Yu Xiuhua forthcoming in November 2018.
His dissertation entitled "Broken Bodies as Agents: Disability Aesthetics and Politics in Modern Chinese Culture and Literature" investigates the shifting representations and performances of the disabled body in Chinese fiction, film, and popular culture over the long twentieth century. Drawing upon, in particular, political and moral philosophy, critical theory, cultural anthropology, literary and cultural studies, the dissertation project tracks the hegemonic establishment, following the birth of the modern nation-state, of what can be called the ideology of ability (or ableism); it seeks to reconstruct disability in political, rather than pathological, terms, critically examining the manners in which the disabled body figures at the intersection of aesthetics, ethics, and politics. The cultural and symbolic fascination with the disabled body indexes the processes in which a normative collective articulates its moral identity and eases its political anxiety. The cultural and political investment in disability, furthermore, registers the productive and malleable place of the disabled body, because its excessively corporal and often spectacularized embodiment conceptually and aesthetically challenges how a culture defines what it means to be human, thus marking what Martha Nussbaum calls the “frontiers of justice.” Not only does the dissertation excavate the Chinese genealogy of disability so as to shed light on Chinese political and moral modernity, but also by critiquing the representational schemes of disability it probes into the ethical implications for disability justice.
He has delivered papers and organized panels at major conferences such as the American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting, the International Society for the History of Rhetoric biennial conference, the Association for Asian Studies annual conference, and the Modern Language Association annual convention. He has taught language, literature, film, writing and rhetoric classes at the college level for more than six years. In 2015, he won the Centennial Teaching Award from Stanford University. The other distinctions and awards that he has received include the Mori-ASPAC Best Paper Prize from Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast Annual Conference, the Best Presentation Award from the Chinese Language Teachers Association of California (CLTAC) annual conference, and the "National Best Speaker" award in the English Debating Competition of China. His research has received funding from, among others, the Hoover Institute, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford Center for East Asian Studies, and Office of Vice Provost for Graduate Education.