Shiamin Kwa

Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Shiamin Kwa headshot


Phone 610-526-5671
Location Old Library 127
Office Hours
Friday 8:00am-12:00pm
On Leave
semester I


Ph.D. Harvard University.
M.A. Harvard University.
B.A. Dartmouth College.

Areas of Focus

Issues of translation, adaptation, and global circulation in narrative fiction and theatrical performance


Shiamin Kwa is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature at Bryn Mawr College. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese Literature from Harvard University and her B.A. in English Literature from Dartmouth College. Her written work explores relationships between form and content, text and image, self and self-presentation, surface and depth, and the conflicts between what we say and what we mean. Her research interests include theater and fiction, food studies, graphic narratives, literary studies, cultural studies, comparative and world literature, and literary and narrative theory. She is the author of Mulan: Five Versions of a Classic Chinese Legend (with Wilt Idema, 2010), Strange Eventful Histories: Identity, Performance, and Xu Wei’s Four Cries of a Gibbon (2013), Regarding Frames: Thinking with Comics in the Twenty-first Century for the Comics Studies (2020), and Perfect Copies: Reproduction and the Contemporary Comic (2023). Her published articles analyze a broad variety of topics, including Italian opera, contemporary Chinese literature, and North American and European graphic narratives. She has contributed essays for major reference works on world literature, Chinese drama, literary theory, and comic book studies. Her sabbatical research in 2019-2020 was supported by the American Philosophical Society. In 2019, she received Bryn Mawr College’s Rosalyn R. Schwartz Teaching Award.

To learn more about some of Kwa's courses, click on the links below:

Selected Articles:

  • “Symmetry and the Quest for Justice in Leonardo Sciascia’s Il Consiglio d’Egitto.” Italica, 3 (2003): 353-370. PDF
  • “The Unbearable Lightness of Meaning in Verdi’s Rigoletto.” The Verdi Forum, 30/31 (2004): 26-36.
  • “The Shape of Things: Locating the Self in Xu Wei’s The Zen Master Yu Has a Voluptuous Dream” in Text, Performance, and Gender in Chinese Literature and Music: Essays in Honor of Wilt Idema. 176-91. Ed. Maghiel van Crevel et al. Leiden: Brill, 2009. PDF
  • “Comics at the Surface: Michael DeForge’s Ant Colony.” Word & Image: a Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry 32.4 (2016): 340-359. PDF
  • “Still Moving: Gabrielle Bell’s Graphic Auto-fiction” in Liminality, Hybridity, and American Women’s Literature: Thresholds in Women’s Writing. 247-263. Ed. Kristin J. Jacobson et al. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. PDF
  • “The Common Place: The Poetics of the Pedestrian in Kevin Huizenga’s Walkin’” in Comics and Sacred Texts: Reimagining Religion & Graphic Narratives. 232-248. Eds. Assaf Gamzou and Kenneth Koltun-Fromm. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2018. PDF
  • “In Box: Text and the Speech Bubble in the Digital Age” in The Oxford Handbook of Comic Book Studies, ed. Frederick Aldama. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • “Can’t Get There from Here: Deictic Will and the Mapped Life in Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC) 31.1 (2019): 47-78.
  • “Mixed with All the Hokum and Bally Hooey”: Chinese Food in America.” Feature book review of From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express: A History of Chinese Food in the United States by Haiming Liu. China Review International, 23/1 (2016): 1-9. PDF


Mulan Five Versions of a Classic Chinese Legend
Strange Eventful Histories Identity, Performance, and Xu Wei's Four Cries of a Gibbon
Regarding frames book cover image
book cover of Perfect Copies