Professor Sang teaches classes on modern Chinese literature and film. Her book The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China (Chicago University Press, 2003) sheds light on China's formative bourgeoisie's pursuit of modernity and cosmopolitanism since the early twentieth century by tracing the rise of a system of sexuality revolving around the heterosexual/homosexual binary, of which the woman-preferring woman is a crucial, contested link. By closely examining fiction, the mass media, popular medical discourse, and recent feminist and queer identity movements, she details the localization, in the Chinese-speaking world, of global regimes of sexual knowledge and disciplines of the self. Her current research focuses on two areas: 1) the thematic, formal and affective innovations of Chinese commercial fiction in a larger web of urban entertainment culture in the first half of the twentieth century, and 2) Chinese documentary films—especially independent productions—from the PRC and Taiwan. She has co-edited Documenting Taiwan on Film: Issues and Methods in New Documentaries (Routledge, 2012). She is also the author of many journal articles and book chapters on gender and sexuality in modern Chinese fiction, Chinese women writers and film directors, and Chinese kunqu opera.
Professor Sang's research has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. Prior to joining MSU, she taught at Stanford University and the University of Oregon.