Kun Qian works on issues related to notions of time, morality, historical consciousness, and the representation of empire in both literary and visual texts. She is currently writing a book about the ways modern writers and producers have represented pre-modern Chinese empires. Through close readings of the texts in relation to historical contexts, she suggests that revolutionary change and historical continuity have both shaped the imaginations of Chinese Empire, and a deeply rooted historical way of thinking has helped define reality.
In the field of film studies, she is more interested in the relationship between visuality and identity, in particular, the question of how the minority groups (including women, ethnic minorities, and marginal groups in society) are represented in media, and how these unstable representations are constitutive elements of their identity formation in an increasingly connected global context.
- Imperial Time-Order: Literature, Intellectual History, and China's Road to Empire