Yunning Zhang

Classics 116
Cohort Year: 2019
Research Interests: Early modern Spanish Empire and the global early modern; hagiography and performance; Christian mysticism; premodern race and gender; theories of the archive; Asian American and Transpacific literatures
Education: MPhil in Modern Languages, University of Oxford, 2019 | B.A. in Spanish Philology, Peking University, 2017

My dissertation reads hagiography as an archive of suffering, by focusing on the vidas and spiritual autobiographies of female mystics in the early modern Spanish Pacific. It attends to the ways in which the Spanish imperial formations of sainthood were intimately connected to evangelical, transactional, and translational practices in the Spanish Pacific world. By situating female mystics at the center of the dissertation, I divert from recent historiographical approaches to recover the European and Spanish American missionary and spatial imaginaries of the “Far East” and seek to reconceptualize the nexus between colonization and spiritual practices from the vantage point of women bodies in agony. The project at large is concerned with how the mystical and historical sufferings of (racialized) women were mobilized to underwrite exploitation and enslavement, and how these writings in turn rendered the female subjects merely citational.


“The Scenic/Sensorial Alacena: A Feminine Interplay Between Visuality and Tactility in La dama duende.Romance Notes 62.3 (2022): 563-77.

“A Metatheatrical Reading of the Baroque and the Neobaroque Text: Entremés del retablo de las maravillas (1615) and De donde son los cantantes (1967).” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures 73.4 (2019): 233-46.

Teaching Experience:

SPAN 24202/34202 Don Quixote (Spring 2022, Course Assistant)

HUMA 11000 9 Readings in World Literature I (Fall 2021, Writing Intern)


Early Modern and Mediterranean Worlds Workshop (Coordinator: 2021-22, 2023-24)

Gender and Sexuality Studies Working Group, The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (Coordinator: 2022-23)

Selected Awards, Fellowships and Grants:

Neubauer Family Distinguished Doctoral Fellow (2019-present)

Dissertation Research Grant from the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago (2023)

The Amy Williamsen Award for outstanding graduate student presentation at GEMELA (Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer en España y las Americas)’s biennial conference (2022)

  1. Languages:

Main: Spanish, Chinese (modern & classical), Portuguese, Japanese, English