- B.A. Italian Language and Literature/International Business, Beijing Foreign Studies University,
- Ph.D. Italian Studies, New York University,
Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities, University of Southern California, 2012-2013
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Italian, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, 2011-2011
Lecturer of Italian, The Italian Cultural Institute in New York, 2011-2011
Instructor of Italian, New York University, 2004-2011
Instructor of Mandarin Chinese, New York University, 2004-2006
Instructor of Italian, China Conservatory of Music, 2001-2003
Summary Statement of Research Interests
Trained as an Italianist at Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A.) and New
York University (Ph.D.), Gaoheng Zhang researches and teaches broadly in the fields of Italian literature, cinema, media, architecture, and visual arts in 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries from interdisciplinary, intercultural, and comparative perspectives. His research specialty includes Italy’s global networks created through travel and migration in the modern and contemporary periods. Drawing on cultural theory, he studies the cultural processes (including cultural productions, representations, and effects) and expressions (in literature, cinema, and media) during travel and migration from comparative perspectives. In teaching, he guides students to think and articulate from both Italian and global perspectives in interdisciplinary conversations.
Completed with Ruth Ben-Ghiat at New York University, his doctoral dissertation is entitled “Travel and Italian Masculinities in Gianni Amelio’s Cinema.” It has a twofold purpose: he demonstrates how travel creates liminal spaces in which masculinities are constructed and negotiated in Amelio’s cinema; and how these cinematic representations are lenses through which to examine Italian notions about nationality, diaspora, colonialism, class, race, and globalization. Social and cinematic analyses of mobility and gender in his dissertation lay the groundwork for his current book project that brings together his knowledge and sensibilities for Italian, Chinese, and American cultures.
Currently he is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities at the University of Southern California, under the mentorship of Margaret Rosenthal. His book project is tentatively entitled “Chinese Immigration to Italy (1998-2012): Cultural Identities, Media, Entrepreneurship, and Diplomacy.” To what extent have various kinds of media contributed to the representation of Chinese immigration to Italy between 1998 and 2012? Who were the media operators and what factors motivated them to (de-)construct this representation at particular historical junctures? What were some of the communication/rhetorical strategies employed by different types of media in different languages in articulating the racial and gendered identities of Chinese immigrants in Italy? What are the links between such media representations and relevant cinematic and literary ones? Why have Chinese immigrant entrepreneurship and Sino-Italian diplomacy been highlighted in the media in relation to Chinese and Italian identity negotiation? In what ways and through what channels did Chinese immigrants perceive and act upon these representations in their interaction with Italians in the social sphere, and vice versa? In order to address these questions, I integrate discourse analysis (of journalism, literature, cinema, television, internet content, and visual arts), which is informed by cultural theory, with the analysis of data from targeted empirical research in Milan, Prato, and Rome, including archives, interviews, surveys, and participatory observations.
Through his research, teaching, and lectures, Gaoheng Zhang clarifies Italy-China relations occasioned by migration and travel, and more generally, Italy’s and China’s global networks, for academics, students, and an educated general audience at USC and beyond.
Modern and contemporary Italian literature; Italian film and media studies; cultural theory; gender and masculinity studies; rhetoric and communication studies; Italian (post-)colonial culture; Italian migration literature and cinema.
Travel and migration in 19th/20th/21st-century Italian culture and Chinese immigrant culture in Italy.
The USC Dornsife Initiative