Concordia University

Dr. Lian Duan, Ph.D

Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Modern Chinese Program , Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics

Office: S-FB 1030 
Faubourg Building,
1250 Guy
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2310

Before joining Concordia University, I taught comparative literature in the Chinese Department at Sichuan University in China (1986-1990), and taught Chinese language in the East Asian Studies Department at McGill University in Montreal as a TA and summer course instructor (1995-1998). Then, as a full-time faculty, I taught Chinese language, literature, art history, studio art, cinema, and culture courses at Carleton College (MN,1998/99-2000), Drew University (NJ, 2000-2001), State University of New York at Albany (NY, 2001-2002), Mount Holyoke College (MA, 2002-2003), Marlboro College (VT, 2003, p-t), and Williams College (MA, 2003-2004) in the United States. Since 2004 I have taught Chinese language, literature, visual culture (art history), translation, and culture courses at Concordia University, where I also coordinate the Chinese program and supervise the Concordia Summer Study Abroad Program in China (Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and currently Communication University of China, Beijing).


My research interest covers Chinese literature, art, critical theory, visual culture, and teaching Chinese as a second language, as well as translation theory and practice. So far, I have published 12 books on these subjects, and have 2 more books to be published soon.


As a critical essayist, from 2008 to 2011 I wrote a column“Contemporary Art and Visual Culture” for the magazine Contemporary Artists bi-monthly in China, and from 2011 to 2014 I wrote a bi-weekly column “Of High and Pop Cultures” for the New York-based Chinese newspaper World Journal, a leading Chinese language media in the US and Canada. Since 2013 I have served as editor-at-large and member of editorial board for some leading art magazines in China, such as "World Art" (Beijing) and "Semiotics and Media" (Chengdu).

In addition, I am currently a member of the Executive Committee of Chinese American Art Faculty Association. I also curated art exhibitions in Montreal, Canada.


As atranslator, I evaluated part of the Chinese translations of "Museum Guide" for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I also proof-read and edited the Chinese translations of "Tour Guide" for the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York, the National Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institution inWashington DC.

Currently, I am working on two projects: (1) writing a research and teaching book in English, "Semiotics for Art History: the Development of Chinese Landscape Painting" and (2) writing a research book in Chinese, "Contemporary Art and Visual Culture."

My latest book in Chinese, "Semiotics for Visual Culture and Art History" was published in May 2015 by Sichuan University Press.


Ph.D. in art education, Concordia University, Montreal, 2006- 2012

Ph.D. in Chinese literary theory, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, 2004-2007

Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in Chinese literature, East Asian Studies, McGill U, 1995-1999

MA in art history (incomplete), Concordia University, 2004-2006

MA in art education, Concordia University, 1991-1995

MA in comparative literature, Chinese Department, Shaanxi Normal U, Xi’an, 1983-1986

BA in Chinese language and literature, Shanxi Normal U, Linfen, 1978-1982


LTA (June 2004-June 2007)

ETA (June 2007-June 2012)

Senior lecturer (since June 2012)

My first book of translation, Art And Psychoanalysis, published in 1988.
My first book on postmodern and contemporary art, published in 1998.
My book on classical Chinese literature, based on my Ph.D. dissertation, published in 2009.

Teaching activities

MCHI 205 Introduction to Modern Chinese I
MCHI 306 Introduction to Translation
MCHI 310 Modern Chinese Literature
MCHI 311 Classical Chinese Literature
MCHI 360 Chinese Culture Foundation
MCHI 366 Chinese Visual Culture

Participation activities

Conference presentations

“The Peircean Order ofSignification and Its Encoding System in the Formation of Chinese LandscapePainting.” The 40th Annual Meeting of the Semiotic Society ofAmerica, Pittsburgh, USA, October 3, 2015.

“The Saussurean Signand the Re-Definition of Chinese Landscape Painting.” The First InternationalSymposium on Culture and Communication Semiotics, Chengdu, China, July 4, 2015.

"Contemporary Chinese Art: Responses to Western Influence," presented at the symposium of Chinese American Art Faculty Association, William Patterson University, New Jersey, November 8, 2014. The paper is to be published in 2014.

“Making Sense of the Texts: a personal experience teaching Chinese literature at North-American universities,” presented at triennial national conference of comparative literature, Fudan University, Shanghai, August 10, 2011. The paper was included in the collection of the conference papers, published 2013.

“Western Influences on Chinese Education in Visual Culture,” presented at the National Art Education annual conference, Seattle, March 18, 2011. The paper was published thereafter.

“A 13th-Century Chinese Landscape Motif in the 18th-Century Japanese Erotic Prints,” presented at the conference “Popular Print Culture: Past, Present, Local, Global” at University of Alberta, Edmonton. August 27-30, 2008. The paper was published thereafter.

Selected publications

Books (in Chinese)

Semiotics for Visual Culture and Art History. Chengdu: Sichuan University Press, 2015.

A Collection of Translated Articles on Visual Culture
(compiler, editor, co-translator). Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press, 2012.

Jungle of the Image: a collection of art reviews. Taipei: Showwe Press, 2012.

Visual Pleasure and Challenge: a collection of critical reviews on visual art. Shijiazhuang: Hebei Fine Art Publishing House, 2011.

Landscape with Wolves: a collection of personal essays about visual art and literature. Taipei: Showwe Press, July 2011.

Significant Structure: a cross-cultural study of Southern Song lyric theory (based on Ph.D. dissertation). Taipei: Showwe Press, 2009.

Form and Conceptuality: visual art in the context of contemporary critical theory. Beijing: Literature and Arts Publishing House, 2009.

Exploring Inscape: an art critic’s travel journal. Shanghai: Bookstore Publishing House, 2008.

Contemporary Art Criticism in a Cross-cultural Context. Chongqing: Southwestern Normal University Press, 2004.

Overseas Landscape: a collection of personal essays. Chengdu: Sichuan Wenyi Publishing House, 2003.

Rethinking Art at the Turn of the Century: a cross-cultural inquiry into postmodernism in the West and contemporary Chinese art. Shanghai: Literature and Arts Publishing House, 1998.

Art and Psychoanalysis (translation of Peter Fuller from English to Chinese). Chengdu: Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House, 1988.

Selected articles (in English)

“Textual Body in City Space: a Psychoanalytic Study of the Representation of Female Body in Contemporary Photography and Its Social Meaning.” Chengdu: Comparative Literature: East and West, Vol.15, December 2011.

“Implied Meaning and Its Conceptualization: a comparative approach to Chinese poetics from Chinese and Western perspectives.” Chengdu: Comparative Literature: East and West, Vol. 12, 2010.

“The Poetic World of Jing: a study of Chinese poetics from Western perspectives.” Chengdu: Comparative Literature: East and West annually, 9th issue, 2007.

“Elegance in the Song Lyric: a study of Zhang Yan’s Poetics from a Western perspective.” Chengdu: Comparative Literature: East and West, Vol. 6, 2004.

“The Great Image Has No Shape: a study of the metaphorical approach to the Tao in Lao Tzu.” Chengdu:  Comparative Literature: East and West, Vol.3, 2002.


Visual Cultural Study: an introduction to its theory and practice. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press.

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