Contact Information

Office: Appointment starts July 1, 2024, email will be available after then.

Office Hours: Fall 2024 Office Hours TBA



Ursula Deser Friedman

College Fellow, 2024 - 2025

Research Fields: Contemporary Chinese/Taiwanese/Sinophone and Latin American Literature, Translation Studies, Comparative/World Literature, Media and Sound Studies


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies (2024)
  • Master of Arts, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, Foreign and Applied Linguistics (2017)
  • Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies, Oberlin College, Department of East Asian Studies (2014)


Ursula approaches literary (self-)translation and transmediation as tools for advancing social justice. By translating and re-mediating our own stories, we heal historical wounds, embrace radical empathy, and engage in reparative dialogues. As a translator and scholar of contemporary Sinophone literature, particularly queer and speculative émigré fiction, Ursula adopts a reparative approach to literary translation, whereby author, translator, and reader jointly engage in collective world-making. 

Ursula’s dissertation and forthcoming book project, Self-Translation as Method: Modern Sinophone Self-Translators and their Transmediated Afterlives, envisions self-translation and transmediation as trauma reconciliation technologies that (re-)inscribe national trauma narratives under individual affective structures, and vice-versa. By adapting their own oral, visual, and written creations across diverse languages, cultures, and media, Sinophone self-translators democratize language and culture from the periphery. 

Outside the classroom, Ursula engages in creative writing highlighting the voices of LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, imprisoned, immigrant, and otherwise disenfranchised characters. Ursula is collating a database of transcribed interviews with living writers who translate and adapt their own work into other languages and media. Please contact her to share your stories!


Selected Publications:

“At Home on the Road: A Conversation between Ha Jin and Ursula Deser Friedman.” In The Journal of Literary Multilingualism (2024): 1-10.

“From Traduttore, Traditore to Traduttore, Creatore: Creative Subversion in the Self-Translations of Ha Jin and Pai Hsien-yung.” In Humor and Self-Translation [Topics in Humor Research 11]. Margherita Dore, ed. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2022, 63-86. 

Yao Bin and Ursula Deser Friedman (trans.). Zhang Xiping, et al., A Study on the Influence of Ancient Chinese Cultural Classics Abroad in the Twentieth Century [20世纪中国古代文化经典在域外的传播与影响研究], Springer Nature, 2022.

Creative Subversion in Hao Jingfang’s Shengsi Yu (生死域)/Limbo.” Translation Review 110, no. 1 (2021): 48-62.

Ursula D. Friedman (July 2020). Hao Jingfang郝景芳, “Limbo”/生死域 [novelette]. MCLC Resource Center (Modern Chinese Literature and Culture). 

Ursula Deser Friedman (冯爱苏). “浅谈社科文献中‘传播’一词的英译—以英语母语人士的视角” (Strategies for Translating the Term Chuanbo in Chinese Social Sciences Texts). International Communications (对外传播), no. 9 (2019): 78-84. 

Ursula Deser Friedman. “The Secret Lives of Women: Can Xue’s Love in the New Millennium, translation from Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen.” Reading in Translation: Translations Reviewed by Translators. 2 April 2019.