Yanfang Tang, Professor of Chinese Studies, directs the Chinese Studies Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in December, 1993. Before arriving at W&M in 1994, she had taught at Michigan State University and Brigham Young University. Although her doctoral training was primarily in classical Chinese poetry and East-West comparative literary theory, she has expanded her course offerings, since her arrival at W&M, to include Chinese cosmology, Yi jing (the Book of Changes), women in traditional Chinese literature, film and Chinese modernization, contemporary Chinese society, the history of the Chinese language, and Chinese behavioral culture. These courses were developed all in response to the rising interest of W&M students in learning about China and Chinese culture.
Professor Tang’s research interests also span a broad range of subjects, with the analysis of “culture” as the connecting theme. She has published on poetry and philosophy, culture and text, language and thought, language and communication, as well as integration of culture with Chinese language acquisition. In addition to a textbook project, she is currently working on a book entitled Meaning without Words: Mind and Methods of Traditional Chinese Poetry. This is a new study of traditional Chinese “modern-style poetry” (jin ti shi) focusing on the underlying philosophical and artistic thought and its embodiment in the distinctive Chinese modes of poetic expression. In terms of professional service, Professor Tang sits on two editorial boards and serves as a manuscript reviewer for many academic journals and presses.