Director of Undergraduate Studies; Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Literature
Corey Byrnes is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Culture at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Chinese literature and visual culture, Sinophone cinema, and the environmental humanities. He received a PhD in Chinese Literature from the University of California at Berkeley in 2013. His current book project, Fixing Landscape (Columbia University Press, forthcoming), approaches the 2500-year-long representational tradition inspired by the Three Gorges region of southwestern China from the perspective of the recently completed Three Gorges Dam, which displaced well over one million people and radically transformed the ecology of the Yangzi River. Rather than a chronological account of the region’s aesthetic history, it focuses on the individual moments, people, and texts that have had the greatest impact on the imaginative and material production of this iconic landscape. By looking beyond the standard narratives about the origins of the Three Gorges Dam project, it locates the dam’s ultimate horizon of possibility in the aesthetic traditions that made the region both famous and central to the political mythology of multiple Chinese states. Byrnes’ newest work reflects on the relationship between artistic responses to environmental degradation and the global rhetoric of threat that so often defines China in contemporary global discourse.
Fixing Landscape: A Techno-Poetic History of China's Three Gorges (now available from Columbia University Press)
Weatherhead First Book Award
The co-winner of the 2018 First Book Award is Corey Byrnes for Fixing Landscape: A Techno-Poetic History of China's Three Gorges, which is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. The First Book Award of the Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute was established to enable young scholars to publish their first work. The donor is an alumna of the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs who worked for the Institute’s publications program more than thirty years ago. It is her hope, through this endowment, that the Institute’s publications programs will continue to benefit young scholars of East Asia for a long time to come.