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Columbia College Chicago
Elena Valussi
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Elena Valussi


Winter Faculty Fellow, 2010
Chicago, IL



Elena Valussi has a doctoral degree from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, on the intersection of religion and gender in China. She is a full-time Chinese History lecturer at Loyola University. Currently, she is a visiting Professor at the Religious Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong teaching a course in Modern Daoism, and has been an editor of the "International Daozang Project".  She has published on the subject of bodily images in a religious context in “Blood, tigers, dragons. The physiology of transcendence for women”, in IASTAM Journal of Asian Medicine, Leiden, Brill, 4.1, (2008), on the importance of paratext in “Female alchemy and paratext: how to read nüdan in a historical context”, in Asia Major, 21, number 2 (2008), and on the role of religious women in nineteenth century China in “Men and women in He Longxiang’s Nüdan hebian (Collection of female alchemy”, Nannü, Men, Women and Gender in Early and Imperial China, Brill, Leiden, Vol.10.2, (2008). She has been invited to speak on these subjects at Universities like Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, and London, as well as in Germany, China, Japan, Taiwan and Bhutan. More recently, she has been interested in Chinese Contemporary art, leading Columbia College students to Shanghai with the course “Shanghai, History, Culture and Art”, which has a special focus on Contemporary Art. She organized a symposium on gender in contemporary art at Columbia College for the fall of 2009 which brought together her gender focus and her new interest in contemporary art. In June of 2011 Valussi plans to travel to Macau to present on the contemporary mediation techniques for Women in China at the conference on Women and Religion in China.During her fellowship Valussi will continue working on the adaptation of Chinese self-healing techniques for women to the contemporary American market. Self-healing techniques have a long history in China and have been imported in the United States in the last 20 years. There is a growing market for women, and these techniques are offered to enhance one’s emotional, physical and sexual well-being. I am interested in how these techniques are modified in the transition from their original milieu to an American market, how they are used, and what different audiences they are targeted towards

During her fellowship Valussi will continue working on the adaptation of Chinese self-healing techniques for women to the contemporary American market. Self-healing techniques have a long history in China and have been imported in the United States in the last 20 years. There is a growing market for women, and these techniques are offered to enhance one’s emotional, physical and sexual well-being. She is interested in how these techniques are modified in the transition from their original milieu to an American market, how they are used, and what different audiences they are targeted towards.

Valussi's most recent publication is Printing and Religion in the Life of Fu Jinquan: Alchemical Writer, Religious Leader, and Publisher in Sichuan.