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Dr Brittany Wellner James

Dr Brittany Wellner James

Affiliated Researcher


I began my studies at Cambridge in 2007. From 2008-2009, I lived and worked in Xi’an and Shanghai. I primarily worked at a Shaanxi television studio, and visited local theatres for research.

Before coming to Cambridge, I was a graduate assistant in teaching (East Asian Linguistics and Cultural Studies) at the University of Arizona Faculty of East Asian Studies from 2006-2007.

I received my M.A. in 2006 from School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS) with subjects in Chinese literature, film, and language.

I received my B.A. from The College of Wooster in 2005. I studied Fine Art with a senior capstone project in Chinese textiles, and have a minor in Chinese language.

In 2004, I was awarded a junior research scholarship to study traditional Chinese painting in Shanghai and Beijing; after completing my tuition in brush painting, I exhibited a collection of handmade scrolls.

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

In general, I am interested in the cross-cultural practices of Chinese and Western theatre. I have a special interest in Chinese historical plays of the 1950s and model operas of the 1960s. My research on Chinese spoken drama (huaju) includes a critical study of Chinese history, politics, and culture from 1949-present.

Current Research

Bertolt Brecht and the ‘verfremdungeffekt’ in Chinese drama (1950s-1990s).