Tianran Han

MA Candidate


Areas of Interest

  • Medieval Chinese literature
  • Premodern Chinese cultural history 
  • Classical Chinese language and translation
  • Chinese thoughts and religions

Working Dissertation


The Politics of Nature, Society, and Self in Medieval Chinese Poetry


Graham Sanders


In the nature poetry of Medieval China, poets often express the distance and the overlap between human beings and the natural world. This paper aims to examine how images of nature and society are often situated in dualistic contrasts and to evaluate how their works situate the self in society and nature, which is a prominent theme of their works and the period of Medieval China, by focusing on a selection of nature poems by six accomplished Medieval Chinese poets, i.e. Tao Qian, Xie Lingyun, Li Bai, Du Fu, Wang Wei, and Liu Zongyuan. Nature, society, and self-identity merge in complex tensions in Medieval Chinese poetry. It is essential to understand the roots of this conflict and understand how the poets separate and sublimate nature in their work, presenting a symbiotic ecosystem that speaks to the need for the harmony of nature and human beings.


Tianran Han (she/her/hers) is a second-year MA student in East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Tianran received her B.A. (Honours) in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Literature) from the University of British Columbia. Her research interests cover medieval Chinese literature, classical Chinese language, Chinese cultural history, Chinese-English translation studies, and Chinese intellectual thoughts and religions. Her ongoing master's thesis aims at exploring how the political and poetic traditions of medieval Chinese society drew on images of nature to reflect on the self and the prevailing values of the era, and how nature is given political and personal dimensions.



BA (Hons.), University of British Columbia