Mei Yang, PhD

Mei Yang
Phone: (619) 260-4062
Fax: (619) 260-4190
Office: Founders Hall 140

Director and Assistant Professor, Chinese

  • Ph.D., University of Oregon, East Asian Languages and Literatures
  • M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • B.A., Beijing Normal University (China), Philosophy

Mei Yang teaches courses on Chinese language, literature and film. Her research areas include intellectual history, literary and cinematic realism, nationalism, civil agency, and the relationship between ideology and representation. As a scholar she seeks to contribute to our understanding of the past and present of China, and our contemporary world, through the study of art, literature and other social mediums. Prior to joining the faculty at USD, she coordinated language teaching in the Defense Language Institute (DLI), Monterey, CA, as a team leader and a technology specialist, and was awarded “Provost Team Teaching Excellence.” Also, she was a member of the faculty senate and Research Board while working in the University of Mississippi.

Scholarly Work

Yang published essays, articles, and book chapters both in English and in Chinese. Her recent academic publications and scholarly presentations are about independent filmmakers in China, including established directors such as Jia Zhangke, Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yuan, Lou Ye and the newer generation. She is interested in the role of the Avant-Garde and the reformation of Chinese intellectuals in the national project of modernization onset in the late 1970s. She also investigates how such process that is called progress or national revival affects the local psyche. Her articles probe into the realm of humanistic individual agency amid historical vicissitudes and the justice of history, a perception melancholically portrayed in contemporary literary works and films. Currently she is working on a book manuscript about film reception in China, examining the interrelation between state power, market and civil society entangled in collective film viewing activities.

Areas of Interest

Yang teaches first to third-year Chinese language courses and offers survey courses on Chinese literature, cinema and culture. She completed training and workshops on foreign language teaching and language proficiency assessment at DLI. Her teaching approach is student-centered, in the sense that she enjoys using interactive teaching methods to get to know her students and to connect with them. She believes strongly that a language class is a great pathway to help students reflect on their position in an increasingly globalized world, and thus cultivate their critical thinking.

In language courses, Yang draws on task-based teaching methods, endorses principles in content-based teaching and utilizes technology in and outside the classroom on a regular basis. She is interested in the intergradation of culture and the use of authentic materials, in ways appropriate and effective to different proficiency levels. Among multiple methods, she includes projects that set up real life scenarios for students to use the target language, as discourse, in the community as well as in the classroom. For advanced courses, she assigns up-to-date media content used by native speakers to enrich students’ contextual knowledge.

Yang greatly enjoys teaching Chinese literature and cinema. These courses help students have a basic understanding of cultural thought and historical events that have shaped current China. Through reading, discussion and writing, students improve their skills in verbal and written articulation and cross-cultural communication. They also learn the importance of thinking historically and critically on a drastically different culture than their own. She aims to bridge her research interests with student learning, and encourages student research on Chinese society.