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Hanping Li

Predoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

Book History and Print Culture, History of Emotions, Humor studies, History of Translation, Sociocultural History

Research Description

My dissertation, “The Cult of Laughter: Emotional Refuge, Commercial Publishing, and Social Entertainment in Late Ming China (1573-1644),” sits at the intersection of the history of emotions, cultural history, the history of the book, and social history. Unveiling the unprecedented publication and consumption of jokes during this period, my research suggests that the burgeoning publishing culture and social entertainment, spurred by commercialization and urbanization, ultimately gave rise to a transformation in emotional expression: a cult of laughter. Guided by William Redding’s theoretical framework on emotions, my work posits that laughter evolved into an “emotional refuge” where the mercantile literati both resisted and engaged with the prevailing emotional norms dictated by Confucian ideology, simultaneously articulating their emerging values and worldviews. This project is not only grounded in historical research but emphasizes literary and cultural studies.


Ph. D.  Department of History, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign   

Principal Advisor: Kai-Wing Chow

Examination Fields: History of China, Modern Japan, Book History

M.A.    Department of History, National Tsing Hua University, 2017

M.A.    Department of Statistics, University of California San Diego, 2015

B. A.    Department of Mathematics, Fudan University, 2013



2023      Dissertation Completion Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

2022      Graduate College Dissertation Travel Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

2018      Summer Pre-Dissertation Travel Grant, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Awards and Honors

2022      The “Young Scholar” Award, The China Times Cultural Foundation 

Courses Taught

Instructor of Record, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hist 221 Modern China, Spring 2023

Hist 221 Modern China, Spring 2022

Hist 120 East Asian Civilization, Fall 2021

Teaching Assistant, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hist 100 Global History, Instructor: Dana Rabin, Fall 2022

Hist 120 East Asian Civilization, Instructor: Poshek Fu, Spring 2020

Hist 120 East Asian Civilization, Instructor: Kai-Wing Chow, Fall 2019