Dr. Lena Henningsen


E-Mail:  lena.henningsen [at] zo.uni-heidelberg.de


  • 2019 venia legendi Sinology, University of Heidelberg
  • 2008 Dr. phil., University of Heidelberg
  • 2004 M.A. Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg

Short Bio:

Lena Henningsen is working on 20th and 21st century Chinese literature and culture. She is currently working on adaptations of the literature of Lu Xun into comics and setting up the ERC funded project “Comics Culture in the People’s Republic of China” (ChinaComx). She has also worked on unofficial entertainment fiction from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, on bestselling literature of the early 2000s, on Republican era music culture and on consumer culture in contemporary China and its literary reverberations. She studied at HU Berlin, Nanjing Normal University and Heidelberg University, where she completed both her MA and PhD. Before returning to Heidelberg, she spent the last years at Freiburg University as a Juniorprofessor and as the PI of the ERC funded project “The Politics of Reading in the People’s Republic of China” (ReadChina, https://readchina.github.io), at TU Munich as a research fellow and at Oxford University as an academic visitor.

Research interests:

  • Modern Chinese literature and culture
  • Contemporary Chinese popular literature
  • Contemporary Chinese society
  • Creativity, Imitation and Plagiarism in China
  • Intellectual Property
  • Harry Potter fakes in China
  • Chinese Popular Culture, member of The Popular Culture Group
  • Chinese music
  • Republican China

Current projects:

In the ERC funded project Comics Culture in the People’s Republic of China (ChinaComx), we set out to investigate the intellectual, political, social, historical, and transcultural dimensions of a medium still heavily understudied: lianhuanhua ( 连环画), literally “linked images.” We study them as a medium from the People’s Republic of China (but also in its transnational dimensions) and its place within the larger Chinese and global comics culture. Studying the conditions of comic art’s production, distribution and consumption, the project sheds light on how lianhuanuha contribute to the project of nation building, to the creation of a new socialist human and to the continued legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) expressed via and through this visual medium. In addition, we investigate how these at times highly propagandistic texts were read by ordinary citizens. In our case studies, we will analyze large amounts of literary and filmic adaptations, the conventions of text-image relations (and the breaking of these conventions), narrative qualities, as well as the visual language which is very much indebted to other visual forms of art, including traditional Chinese visual art, cartoons, propaganda posters, photography and movies. With its focus on historical and cultural practices and meaning making, ChinaComx moreover delves into the changing global cultural, political and economic connections within the socialist cultural sphere, within the Greater China region, East Asia and beyond, tracing distinct and changing relationships of domestic and foreign elements. The case studies cover developments since the late 1940s to the present and situate concrete phenomena within larger developments and traditions. In providing more knowledge about comic culture from China and in contributing to theoretical debates, ChinaComx aims to delineate the term „lianhuanhua“ as a distinct genre and area of academic research that bears specific characteristics, being embedded in a particular context of origin, yet, changing across time and space as Japanese manga or Franco-Belgian bandes desinnées. The project’s homepage and social media are currently under construction, but you can reach us at chinacomx.erc@gmail.com or via our individual emails.


Web-Beauftragter: CS
Letzte Änderung: 22.01.2024
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