Martin Svensson Ekström

Senior Lecturer

Department of Languages and
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41256 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Martin Svensson Ekström

Researcher, senior lecturer (on sabbatical leave until March 1, 2025).

  • Phone hour: by agreement
  • Office hour: by agreement


I submitted my dissertation in 1996, and spent the following years as a researcher at various universities in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and France. Between 1999 and 2002, I was assistant professor in Chinese at Stockholm University, and then for several years a reader in Philosophy and Aesthetics at Södertörn University. I began teaching at the University of Gothenburg in 2013.

I was the editor of the Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (BMFEA) until 2020, and am currently a member of the advisory (or editorial) boards of Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles and Reviews (CLEAR), Oriens Extremus, and Culture and Dialogue.


My scholarly writings revolve around early Chinese poetry, poetics, and intellectual history but also early Greek and Roman poetics, and the early history of European sinology. My most recent publication is The Origins of Chinese Literary Hermeneutics (SUNY Press).

My more recent articles have explored the intersections between early Chinese and early Greek language philosophies, and the poetics and metapoetics of the Chinese fu-genre and the ekphrastic tradition in the West (see "Metapoetic Readings Around Ekphrasis and Fu 賦"). I take a particular interest in the methodological issues that underlie and determine the practices of comparative literature, poetics and philosophy.

My next major project—tentatively titled The Phantasmatic Crypt—is a study of how "the metaphorical" was conceptualized and elaborated in Greece and early China. I am also working on a study and translation of the Zhouyi (The Zhou Book of Changes) for Bakhåll publishing house.

Recorded lectures

“‘Si-militude’, or How the Early Chinese Out-Platoed Plato.” Pennsylvania State University, Comparative Literature Luncheon Lecture. Sept. 26. 2011. Courtesy of C-NET, Pennsylvania.

The Karlgren Seminar

Together with Fredrik Fällman and Elena Pollacchi I run the Bernhard Karlgren Seminar Series.


Courses taught

History of Chinese Literature; Modern Chinese Literary Prose, Classical Chinese; Chinese Intellectual History (KI2103); History of Chinese Civilization (KI1210); "Modernism's Phantasm: Representations of China, Japan and 'The Orient' in Western Literature, Cinema and Philosophy" (KI2103); "Thinking Translation" (SPL133).