Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Dr. Li studies the global spread of consumer capitalism through the perspectives of psychoanalysis, ecocriticism, and critical media theory. Her previous work used psychoanalysis and poststructural theories to explore the relationship between media, desire, and the environment. Dr. Li has published in Media, Culture and Society, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, the anthology Reading Brokeback Mountain, and for three years she authored the "Looking Abroad" Column for The 21st Century, an English-language weekly in Beijing affiliated with the China Daily News Group. Her book, Environmental Advertising in China and the USA: Structures of Desire, is now under contract with Routledge and is forthcoming in Fall 2015. It compares the structures of desire underlying Chinese and American green advertisements and analyzes how consumer desires are shaped by ideological, cultural, and historical differences in the two national contexts.
Dr. Li is also working on several other projects including one that studies the psycho-mechanism of eco-jokes in popular culture and explores the potential to increase public participation in environmentalism through comedy and humor. Another project employs Freud’s notion of the death drive to understand the relations between deadlines and systematized procrastination in modern capitalistic societies. The last one studies the digitization of the Chinese language through the computer keyboard and its impacts on literacy and the calligraphic tradition in China.
At Babson College, Dr. Li teaches courses including Media Studies (intermediate level), Media, Culture, and the Environment (advanced level), and Arts and Humanities Foundation (foundation level). Prior to Babson, she was employed at the University of Iowa and Ohio University where she taught classes in media and communication theory, advertising and consumer culture, and rhetoric and public speaking.