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Sabina Knight 桑稟華

Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature



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Office: Neilson 2/14

phone Phone: 413-585-3548

Sabbatical academic year 2015-2016

For me, stories and novels offer a source of hope. They suggest that history, economics, and other material and social forces, powerful as they are, do not determine everything— not who we are, what we do or the kind of world we can make.

As I began to study philosophy in college, I thought that I could approach ethical questions better if I broadened my education beyond the West and its traditions. So while I kept studying Western philosophy, Russian and French, I majored in Chinese, then earned two masters degrees and a Ph.D. in Chinese literature with a Ph.D. minor in comparative literature. Along the way I studied abroad in Beijing, Dijon, Leningrad, Paris, and Taipei.

You can see my most recent book, Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012) by clicking "Look Inside" on the link below:

 See the book



My first book, The Heart of Time: Moral Agency in Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction, describes this fiction's unique passion for moral responsibility.


 Heart of Time



Since 2001, I have also been pursuing cross-cultural studies in the medical humanities. Working in Chinese, Russian, French, and English, I am researching topics including breast cancer, depression, disability, aging, and the pursuit of well being.

My courses include Literature and Medicine (FYS 140), Modern Chinese Literature (CLT/EAL 232), Literature from Taiwan (EAL 238), Contemporary Chinese Women's Fiction (CLT/EAL 239), Health and Illness: Literary Explorations (CLT 260), and a seminar on Deep China: Literary and Interdisciplinary Analysis (EAL 360). In 2007, I was awarded the Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Smith College.

My hope that literary study can be relevant to realpolitik has grown since my appointment as a 2011-13 fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program (PIP) of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR).

Sabina Knight CV


Sabina Knight on NPR's "On Point"

Tom Ashbrook interviews Sabina Knight for "On Point," a daily news show that airs nationally on 240 NPR stations, with 1.2 million listeners. Listen here.


Sabina Knight interview with Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Jeffrey Wasserstrom interviews Sabina Knight for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Read here.


The New York Times Magazine's "Really Short Book Review" features Sabina Knight 

The New York Times Magazine featured Knight's book Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction . Read here.