章杲恆 Gaoheng Zhang is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is a humanities scholar of migration, mobilities, multiculturalism, media, rhetoric, ethics, and masculinity. His recent research seeks to provide a road map for analyzing cultural mobilities concerning contemporary Italy’s and Europe’s global networks, particularly with Asia and Africa, which are created through migration, colonialism, exile, tourism, business travel, and other forms of human mobility.
Gaoheng is a leading cultural critic of Chinese migration to Italy, which has generated considerable debate in the Italian, Chinese migrant, and international media because of migrants’ economic clout. This is the subject of his first book, Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012 (University of Toronto Press, 2019), which is the first detailed media and cultural study of the Chinese migration from both Italian and Chinese migrant perspectives, as well as one of the few book-length analyses of migration and culture. The research for the book was supported by Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities (now the USC Society of Fellows) at the University of Southern California, and its publication was funded by Awards to Scholarly Publications Program and The Schoff Publication Fund Award. Previously he has published several key articles on gender and ethics in cinematic and literary depictions of migrants, and of men and women, in Italy.
His recent book project (under contract with University of Toronto Press in 2020 and submitted in 2021), titled “Migration and Material Culture: Mobility Between China and Italy via America, 1980s-2010s,” offers an innovative critical framework to examine cultural dynamics pertaining to migrations between China and Italy, as well as their intersections in or through American culture. The book deploys the Chinese concept of 衣食住行 (clothing, food, residence, mobility) in structuring discussions about Italian and Chinese material cultures and their representations in primary sources culled from diverse media and archives. Ultimately, the book aims to refine theorizing concerning the relationships between migration and material culture. A related project is a website on the subject in a wider cultural framework: https://mobilitiesitalychina.com. He has received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for this project.
“Scrambles for East Africa: Public Perceptions and Cultural Debates between China, Western Europe, and East Africa” is a pilot study for a planned monograph in progress. The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s most ambitious development strategy and governance project. Unlike China’s earlier market reforms, the BRI intends to lay a foundation for Chinese leadership in international relations. While the empirical details of technological and economic change can be documented in other kinds of sources, the media becomes a nexus for the jockeying for global significance and reputation, especially through covering issues related to economic development and environment. I argue that Chinese media and cultural sources on BRI projects in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Tanzania emphasize the merits of intersecting commercial, capital, workforce, knowledge, and media mobilities. In contrast, relevant Italian, French, and British debates focus on neocolonialism, environmental degradation, and labor exploitation, which are contemporary dimensions of mal d’Afrique. By grounding my analysis in theories from mobilities and postcolonial studies, my project will help foster informed dialogues about the subject in academic and public debates.
Gaoheng spearheaded and co-organized two conferences focused on Italy, China, and East Asia: “Italy and China: Centuries of Dialogue” (University of Toronto, April 2016) and “Italy and East Asia: Exchanges and Parallels” (Stony Brook University, October 2018). He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies (2014-Present) and on the Publications Committee of the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program for Canada’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2017-20).
At UBC, he is an Affiliated Faculty at the Institute for European Studies and at the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program, and a member of the Executive Committee of the UBC Centre for Migration Studies.
Before joining UBC, Gaoheng held positions as Assistant Professor of Italian Cinema at the University of Toronto and as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities (now the USC Society of Fellows) at the University of Southern California. He was educated at Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A.) and at New York University (M.A., Ph.D.).
- Italian Studies
- Cultural Studies
- Migration Studies
- Mobility Studies
- Gender Studies
- Masculinity Studies
- Ethnic and Racial Studies
- Media and Film Studies
- Rhetoric and Communication Studies
- Ethics and Morality
(University of Toronto Press, 2019. Funded by the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program in the Humanities at the University of Southern California, the Schoff Publication Fund Award at Columbia University, and Awards to Scholarly Publications Program by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.)
2. “Migration and Material Culture: Mobility Between China and Italy via America, 1980s-2010s”
(Under contract with University of Toronto Press in 2020 and submitted 2021. Funded by UBC Hampton Fund Research Grant – New Faculty Award, 2016-18, The Arts Undergraduate Research Award and The International Work Learn Award, UBC, 2017, and SSHRC IDG 2018-20.)
3. “Scrambles for East Africa: Public Perceptions and Cultural Debates between China, Western Europe, and East Africa”
(In progress in 2021)
Invited Stand-Alone Talks and Lectures
“Covid-19 and Anti-Chinese Racism in Italy,” Italian Canadians for Black Lives, 2021.
“Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012,” Johns Hopkins University, 2020.
“Made in Italy by Chinese Migrants,” ElderCollege Delta, British Columbia, 2019.
“Chinese Food Cultures in Italy,” University of California, Irvine, 2019.
“Media Framings of Made in Italy Fast Fashion by Prato’s Chinese Migrants,” University of California, Irvine, 2019
“The Chinaman and the cinesina: Gendering Chinese Migrants in Italian Culture,” University of Florence, 2018.
“Made in Italy or Made in China? Chinese-Italian Cultural Identities in the Age of Migration and Globalization,” Villa La Pietra, New York University in Florence, 2018.
“Made in Italy or Made in China?” University College Cork, 2017 and The Dante Alighieri Society of British Columbia, 2017.
“I cinesi che non muoiono mai. Viaggio tra film, libri e mass media, tra luoghi comuni e (s)commode verità a proposito dell’immigrazione cinese in Italia,” Biblioteca Dergano-Bovisa, Milan, Italy, 2017.
“Recent Italian-Chinese Cultural Relations,” The Center for Italian Studies, Stony Brook University, 2016.
“Italian Cinema Looks East,” Department of Italian Language and Literature, Smith College, 2016.
“Contemporary Chinese Immigration to Italy: Encounters and Representations,” University Seminar, Studies in Modern Italy, Columbia University, 2013.
“Migration and Material Culture: Mobility between China and Italy via America, 1980s-2010s” (Under contract with University of Toronto Press in 2020).
Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012 (University of Toronto Press, 2019).
Reviewed by Journal of Asian Studies, The China Quarterly, Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, Forum Italicum, LEA: Lingue e Letterature d’Oriente e d’Occidente.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
“Insegnare la lingua e la cultura italiane agli studenti di origine cinese in Nord America: nuove risorse didattiche per un approccio multiculturalista,” Cultura & Comunicazione, 6:9 (2016), pp. 23-25.
Peer-reviewed Book Chapters
“Chinese Migrants and the ʻChinese Mafia’ in Contemporary Italian Culture,” in Transcending Borders: Selected Papers in East Asian Studies, edited by Valentina Pedone and Sagiyama Ikuko, pp. 67-86. Firenze: Firenze University Press, 2016.
“Comedy Film and Immigration to Italy: Reading Masculinity, Hybridity, and Satire in Lezioni di cioccolato (2007), Questa notte è ancora nostra (2008), and Into Paradiso (2010),” in The Cinemas of Italian Migration: European and Transatlantic Narratives, edited by Sabine Schrader and Daniel Winkler, pp. 263-279. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
“The Three Riddles in Puccini’s Turandot: Masculinity, Empire, and Orientalism,” in Der musikalisch modellierte Mann: Interkulturelle und interdisziplinäre Männlichkeitsstudien zur Oper und Literatur des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, edited by Ester Saletta and Barbara Hindinger, pp. 397-416. Vienna: Praesens, 2012.
Non-peer-reviewed Book Chapter
“From Roots to Routes: Italian Studies Between China and Italy via North America” in Diversity in Italian Studies, edited by Siân Gibby and Anthony Julian Tamburri, pp. 193-98. New York: John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, 2021.
“Global Routes: China, Italy, Toronto” (co-curated with Paolo Frascà and Jennifer Lau), an exhibition at the John M. Kelly Library at the University of Toronto (May-June, 2016), at the Carrier Gallery at Columbus Centre in Toronto (July, 2016), and at UBC Robson Square. (Funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, 2016.)
“Italy and China, Europe and East Asia: Centuries of Dialogue,” Corriere Canadese, April 5, 2016, p. 16.
“Puoi baciare lo sposo by Alessandro Genovesi (2018),” gender/sexuality/italy, 7 (2020): 258-259.
“Caffè, by Cristian Bortone (2016),” Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 6/2 (2018), pp. 252-254.
“My Reincarnation, by Jennifer Fox (2011),” Italian American Review, 3/2 (2013), pp. 151-153.
“La Fuga/Escape” by Francesca Bellino, Journal of Italian Translation, VI:1&2 (2011), pp. 100-115.
SSHRC Insight Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada, 2018-2020.
Visiting Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Intercultural Studies, University of Florence, May 2018 and May 2019.
Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2018.
The Arts Undergraduate Research Award (AURA), University of British Columbia, 2017.
The International Work Learn Award, University of British Columbia, 2017.
UBC Hampton Fund Research Grant – New Faculty Award, 2016-18.
The Schoff Publication Fund Award, The University Seminars, Columbia University, 2016.
Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholarship in the Humanities (now The USC Society of Fellows), University of Southern California, 2012-14.
Full scholarship from the Refresher Program for Teachers of Italian Abroad, University for Foreigners in Perugia, 2008.