Professor Bender specializes in traditional performance and performance-connected literature of China, including local Han and ethnic minority cultures. He teaches Chinese and East Asian culture courses, a course on Traditional Performance in Contemporary East Asia, an introduction to folklore in East Asia, and seminars that have included ethnic minority epic, Chinese prosimetric literature, and oral and written ethnic poetry. Bender has published on numerous subjects, including Suzhou professional storytelling (pingtan) and the oral and written literatures of several Chinese minority cultures, such as the Yi, Miao (Hmong), and Daur. His books include 'Plum and Bamboo: China's Suzhou Chantefable Tradition' (University of Illinois Press, 2003)and 'Butterfly Mother: Miao (Hmong)Creation Epics from Guizhou Province, China' (Hackett Publishing, 2006). A recent article is "Animals and Plants in the Nuosu 'Book of Origins'" (Asian Ethnology, Vol. 67, 2008). He is currently collaborating with Victor Mair (U. Penn.)on a reader on Chinese oral performance traditions. Other projects include a study of nature themes in Yi oral and written literature, an annotated translation of a major Yi epic, and an examination of trends in folklore research in China.
- Traditional performance and performance-connected literature of China
- Han and ethnic minority cultures
- Ph.D., The Ohio State University (Chinese Literature)
- M.A., The Ohio State University (Chinese Literature)