Department of Comparative Literature and the College
Haun Saussy, who is the 17th person to hold a University Professorship at the University of Chicago, is a leading scholar of Chinese and comparative literature. His range of academic interests includes Chinese poetry, literature, aesthetics, and culture, as well as theories of oral poetry, the history of interpretation, and problems in translation. His current work focuses on the emergence of psychology as a distinct discipline in France and Germany, and its relations to philosophy, anthropology, and linguistics.
His first book, The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic, discusses the tradition of commentary that has grown up around the early Chinese poetry collection Shi Jing (known in English as the Book of Songs). Saussy was awarded the American Comparative Literature Association’s René Wellek Prize for this book. He is also the author of a collection of essays, Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China; editor of Partner to the Poor, a book of Paul Farmer’s essays; and coeditor of several collections: Sinographies: Writing China, Chinese Women Poets: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism from Ancient Times to 1911, a critical edition of Pound and Fenollosa’s The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, Chinese Walls in Time and Space, and a new edition of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
Saussy edited Comparative Literature in an Era of Globalization, the 2005 report of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) on the state of the discipline. From 2009 to 2011, he also served as president of the ACLA.
A graduate of Duke University, Saussy studied in Paris at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and the Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales before earning his MPhil and PhD from Yale University in comparative literature. While a graduate student, he also studied in the Inter-University Program in Chinese Language and Literature (Stanford Center) in Taipei, Taiwan.
Saussy joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2011.