Aaron Balivet

Email Address:
PhD Candidate in Chinese Literature (UW-Madison)
PhD minor in Theatre Studies (UW-Madison)
MA (UW-Madison 2014)
BA (Hamilton College, 2008)
Fields of Study:
Late Imperial Chinese Literature, Traditional Chinese Performance
Program & Degree:
Chinese Literature and Culture, PhD
I am a PhD candidate in Chinese literature, focusing on traditional performance in the late Ming and Qing. My dissertation examines The Legend of White Snake in written narrative and performance, exposing contradictions between how stories are written and how they are performed. Through comparison of full-length written versions with playscripts edited for performance, historical records of performances, and modern performance recordings, my dissertation shows that performance of White Snake conflicts with the themes of destiny and cosmological order central to full-length textual versions, revealing instead a preference for spectacle and tension in familial duty. While researching this project as a Fulbright scholar in 2016-2017, I trained in the performance art of Sichuan opera under the guidance of actor Xiao Demei. At UW-Madison, I have taught first-year and second-year Chinese as a TA and am teaching Survey of Chinese Literature (EA 351) as lecturer this fall.