• 8 Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun

    Hong Kong

20132022

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Personal profile

Name in Chinese

柏云飛

Biography

Yunfei Bai received his Ph.D. in French at Rutgers University in 2018. Prior to pursuing his doctoral training in the United States, he worked as a program officer for the National Commission of China for UNESCO, where he regularly offered interpreting services for government officials from non-English speaking developing countries such as Bhutan, Morocco, Mali, and Colombia. Interpreting for non-native speakers of English sometimes required him to code-switch between English and these foreign visitors’ native tongues (e.g., Dzongkha/Tibetan, French, and Spanish). This unique work experience prompted him to critically reflect on the relevance of multilingualism to translation/interpreting in the context of not only China but also Asia at large.

In his first book titled Rewriting the Orient: Asian Works in the Making of World Literature, Yunfei investigates how four celebrated nineteenth- and early twentieth century authors in France and Argentina (Théophile Gautier, Stéphane Mallarmé, Victor Segalen, and Jorge Luis Borges) creatively adapted classical Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan literary texts into their own French and Spanish retellings based on previous received translations of these Asian works, without knowing the source languages. The aim of the book is two-fold. First, looking beyond the Anglophone canon, it traces how Orientalism has played an elided yet pivotal role in the formation of a singular corpus of world literature in Europe and beyond. Second, drawing attention to the so far understudied translation-rewriting continuum, this book argues that the neglected reworkings of Asian texts by these four canonical Romance language writers display a wide range of discursive strategies that cannot be subsumed under the largish rubric of imperialist cultural appropriation. In addition to this monograph, Yunfei has also published a dozen research articles in peer-reviewed, high-impact journals including Translation Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, French Forum, French Cultural Studies, Revue d’Études Tibétaines, Archiv orientální and China Perspectives

While he is not teaching, Yunfei enjoys swimming in the ocean and backpacking around the world, notably in South Asia and Latin America. He is adamantly passionate about learning languages through immersive sojourns and meaningful conversations with local people.

Before joining Lingnan University, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Hong Kong, from 2019 to 2022.

Research interests

  • Adaptation Studies
  • The Translation of Buddhist Texts from Chinese and Tibetan into European Languages
  • Censorship in Translation
  • Comparative-Historical Linguistics
  • Tibetan Literature
  • French Literature
  • Latin American Literature
  • World Literature beyond the Anglophone Canon

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