Chenxi Tang

Research Expertise and Interest

German literature and thought, European literature and thought, Chinese intellectual history, Comparative study of Europe and China, Law and Literature

Research Description

Chenxi Tang is a professor in the Department of German.  In the early phase of his research career, Tang was interested in the roles played by German literature and thought in the self-understanding and self-positioning of Europe in the world. His dissertation Writing World History: The Emergence of Modern Global Consciousness in the Late Eighteenth Century (Columbia University 2000) and monograph The Geographic Imagination of Modernity: Geography, Literature and Philosophy in German Romanticism (Stanford UP 2008) study the ways in which Europe created a temporal-spatial framework for itself in the classical-romantic period of German literature and philosophy.

His book Imagining World Order: Literature and International Law in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (Cornell UP 2018) expands the scale of analysis from German to European, examining the imaginative work performed by literature in establishing an international world order in early modern Europe.

Based in German Studies, Prof. Tang has been exploring ways of moving beyond conventional parameters for humanistic studies such as historical period and national language. He is active in the vibrant fields of legal humanities, global intellectual history, and comparative study of China and the West. He is currently completing a new book titled Two Worlds: Ideas of the West vs. Ideas of China Across Time, a comparative intellectual history ranging from the Axial Age to the geopolitical reconfiguration of the world in the present.

Professor Tang studied comparative literature, German literature, and philosophy at Fudan University Shanghai,  Peking University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, and Columbia University (PhD 2000). He taught at the University of Chicago before joining the Berkeley faculty in 2007. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship, two Mellon Foundation Research Grants, and Research Fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Studies.


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