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Research Interests:
Arts, Humanities
Discipline: Chinese Literature
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Zhenxing Zhao’s academic journey began at Beijing Normal University, where he earned dual bachelor degrees in Ancient Chinese history and English. Making the move from Beijing to Singapore in 2006, he embarked on his doctoral studies at the National University of Singapore.

His diverse research interests span Chinese Lyricism, the evolution of Chinese novels, Garden History, Chinese Landscape Design, and digital humanities. In his doctoral work, Zhenxing delved into the intricacies of two prominent Chinese novels, Plum in the Golden Vase and Dream of the Red Chamber. His focus was on understanding the influence of traditional Chinese poetic lyricism, which held sway for three millennia, on the development of Chinese novels. He also explored how Chinese artists of the early modern period interpreted their cultural heritage and leveraged it to create innovative artistic expressions.

As a faculty member at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Zhenxing imparts knowledge through courses covering the humanities core curriculum, Chinese fiction, Chinese poetry, Chinese Landscape Design, and Asian philosophy. Presently, he is engrossed in two projects, 1) a special project aimed at establishing a meaningful connection between classical Chinese gardens and Chinese novels; 2) the strategic principles outlined in Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

Zhenxing Zhao currently holds the position of Academic Director for the MTD Master’s Program. Additionally, he has been honored as a Fulbright Scholar for the academic year 2023-24. During this period, he shares his expertise by teaching courses in Chinese language and literature at Utah Valley University, actively contributing to the exchange of knowledge in his field.

Key Publications


2016 怪诞化了的抒情诗世界:《 金瓶梅》 的 “畸艳” 审美特质=Grotesque Lyrical World: the Qi-yan Aesthetic of the Plum in the Golden Vase  (Ph.D. Dissertation, National University of Singapore, 2015).

2009 论清中期优伶品鉴与优伶呈现之意义= Actor Connoisseurship and Representation of Actors in Mid-Qing Dynasty (Master thesis, National University of Singapore, 2009).

Article in Journal

2020   中国古典小説の「越境」:『金瓶梅』、文人小説と西洋漢学=Crossing Borders in Chinese Classical Fiction: “Jinping Mei”, Literati Fiction and Western Chinese Studies,《アジア評論》vol 2, pp. 123-137.

2019   考掘/建构景观学的东方故事:评萧驰《诗与它的山河》及其理论贡献=Constructing the Eastern Story of Landscape Studies: A Review of Xiao Chi’s “Poetry and Its Mountains and Rivers” and Its Theoretical Contributions,《图书馆杂志》, vol. 20, pp. 118-123.

2017    以诗传情的有情世界: 抒情传统与元明传奇小说的兴起=“A World with Feeling: the Chinese Lyrical Tradition and Rise of Yuan-Ming Chuan-qi Romance”,《明清小说研究》, vol. 1, pp. 161-179.

Conference Paper

2024 “Literati Identity Crisis in Early Modern China: Jin Ping Mei and Sixteenth-Century Commercial Society”, Paper presented at Modern Language Association Convention (MLA), Philadelphia, January 4-7.

2023 “Literati Novel and Literati Identity Crisis in Early Modern China”, Paper presented at the Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (WCAAS), October 5-6.

2023 “From Chuanqi to Cihua: A Case Study of the Formal Evolution and Writing Experiment of the Early Chinese Novel”. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Comparative Literature Association(ACLA), Chicago, March., 14-19.

2016   從佳人到淫婦:中國抒情傳統與《金瓶梅》的女性形象=” From Beauty to Yinfu: The Chinese Lyrical Tradition and the Portrayal of Women in Jin Ping Mei”. Paper presented at the 4th Young Scholars’ Conference on China Studies. Hong Kong Baptist University, Dec.,19-20.

2015  “Grotesque Lyrical World: Reappraisal of Plum in the Golden Vase in the history of Chinese novel from the perspective of Inter-texuality”. Paper presented at Biannual Conference of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature. Fudan University, Shanghai. June 18-20, 2015.

2011  “Landscape Narrative : Garden and its Significance in Jin Ping Mei ” paper presented at International Postgraduate Symposium on Chinese Studies in Asia. Institute of Chinese Studies, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Nov.19-20, 2011.

Paper in Books

2009  “Re-reading Precious Mirror of Love: Homoerotic Desire in the Dream of Red Chamber ” in Wong Sin Kiong and Quah Sy Ren, eds. Cross-disciplinary Dialogue and Collision: Collected Essays of Chinese Studies Graduate Students of NUS and NTU. Singapore: Youth Books.

Book Reviews

2021   跨越媒介的有情的光影:评吴盛青《光影诗学:中国抒情传统与现代媒介文化》,澎湃新闻,2021年8月29日。


(英译中)特里·伊格尔顿,《英国现代长篇小说导论》= Translation into Chinese of Terry Eagleton, The English Novel: An Introduction. 上海:上海人民出版社。(in contract)

Zhao Zhenxing


  • Ph.D. Classical Chinese literature, National University of Singapore, Singapore 2016
  • M.A Classical Chinese Literature, National University of Singapore, Singapore 2009
  • B.A Ancient Chinese History and English, Beijing Normal University, China 2005


Chinese Lyricism, Rise of Novel, especially on Plum in the Golden Vase 《金瓶梅》 and Dream of the Red Chamber 《红楼梦》, Garden History, Chinese Landscape Design, Digital Humanities.


  • Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Utah Valley University, 2023-2024
  • Research Scholarship, National University of Singapore, 2010-2015
  • Research Scholarship, National University of Singapore, 2007-2009