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Gian-Piero Persiani

Profile picture for Gian-Piero Persiani

Contact Information

2051 Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Mathews Avenue, M/C146
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Office Hours

M 2:00-3:00 or by appointment
Assistant Professor


My goal as a historian of ancient literatures and cultures is to recover and convey something of the richness and complexity of premodern literary and artistic phenomena. I work in both synchronic (structure of the cultural field at a specific point in time) and diachronic (development over time) contexts. I am currently completing a manuscript on the great thriving of waka poetry in the tenth century (ca. 890-970). Other projects include a study of the uses of Sinitic culture in Heian Japan and a history of the reception of the 36 Immortal Poets. Before coming to Illinois, I taught at Oxford University and was Resident Foreign Researcher at the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL) in Tokyo.

Research Interests

Origins, structure, and development of the literary field
Reception and uses of Sinitic culture in Japan
Waka poetry and poetics
Medieval, early-modern, and modern reception of Heian literature
East Asian literary cultures
History of East-West encounters



PhD Columbia University

Courses Taught

EALC 398 Writers and Sino-Japanese Cultural Interaction 600-1900
EALC/CWL 275 Masterpieces of East Asian Literature
EALC 305 Premodern Japanese Literature in Translation I
JAPN 407 Introduction to Classical Japanese
JAPN 408 Readings in Classical Japanese
EALC/CWL 230 Popular Cultures of Contemporary East Asia
EALC 199 Adaptation and Appropriation in Japanese Cultural History
EALC 550 - Itineraries in Waka Culture

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Assistant Professor, Program in Medieval Studies
Assistant Professor, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

Recent Publications

Persiani, G. P. (2020). Poems to Unite and Poems to Divide: What Audience Reactions Reveal About the Social Functions of Heian Waka. Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, 21, 16-27. Article 2.

Persiani, G. P. (2020). The Public, the Private, and the In-Between: Poetry Exchanges as Court Diplomacy in Mid-Heian Japan. Japan Review: Journal of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 35, 7.

Persiani, G. P. (2016). China as Self, China as Other: On Ki no Tsurayuki's Use of the wa-kan Dichotomy. Sino-Japanese Studies, 23, 31-58. Article 2.

Persiani, G. P. (2014). Tradurre le Poesie del Genji. In A. Maurizi (Ed.), Testo a Fronte (Vol. 51, pp. 161-178)

Persiani, G. P. (2013). Review: E. Mack's Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Anthologies, Awards, and the Ascription of Literary Value. East Asian Publishing and Society, 3(1), 111-113.

View all publications on Illinois Experts