Elvin Meng

Elven Meng Photo
Cohort Year: 2020
Research Interests: China and Inner Asia
Education: M.A. in Mathematics, Johns Hopkins, 2020; B.A. in English and Mathematics (with honors), Johns Hopkins, 2020; M.A. in Comparative Literature, University of Chicago, 2022


Elvin Meng is a joint PhD student in Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Before coming to the University of Chicago, he received his degrees in English and Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University.

His current project is a media genealogy of Manchu writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing from philosophical treatises, shamanistic ritual texts and narratives, philological investigations, students’ notebooks, and poetic compositions and translations from the period, the project examines the productivity of power in the formation of languages and subjects alike. In so doing, it interrogates the limits of sinography, the cosmopolitics of multilingualism, and the emergence of ethnolinguistic thinking in early modern world.

Situated in the disciplines of literary studies, media studies, and intellectual history, his published writings have focused on technologies of language/translation as technologies of self (and vice versa) and the problem of heterographia in intellectual history. His extended research interests include Northeast Asian & European thought, media theory and history, aesthetics and politics, intellectual history, translation studies, history of linguistic thought, print and manuscript studies, minor languages and literatures in Northeast Asia, and modernity.


Barbarism as Method blog

“4’’ x 6’’ Time Machines: Nabokovian Mnemotechnics and Interwar Psychical Research,” Modernism/modernity 32, no. 2 (April 2024). Forthcoming.

“Zheng Qiao’s Grammatology,” In Grapholinguistics in the 21st Century. Proceedings, edited by Yannis Haralambous, 553–601. Grapholinguistics and Its Applications, Vol. 9. Brest: Fluxus Éditions, 2024. Forthcoming.

“Viral Text: Translation, Censorship, Community,” In Digital China: Creativity and Community in the Sinocybersphere, edited by Jessica Imbach, 249–268. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2024.

“Reintroducing the Sirens’ Fugue,” James Joyce Quarterly 60, no. 4 (Summer 2023): 527–548.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant (University of Chicago):

EALC 29980/39980 Books in Japan from the Earliest Times to the 1890s

EALC 27512/37512 Dream of the Red Chamber: Forgetting About the Author

EALC 21855/31855 Exile and Chinese Poetry


Teaching Assistant (Johns Hopkins):

AS.110.212 Honors Linear Algebra

AS.110.202 Calculus III

AS.110.109 Calculus II