I am a historian of political culture and thought. I specialize in Chinese history from the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries with an emphasis on Eurasian and global perspectives. I work extensively with official documents in different languages—Chinese, Manchu, Persian, and Latin, to name a few—to understand how ordinary individuals worked with the empire and theorized politics. Ultimately, my passion lies in writing a new kind of transcultural history that foregrounds the intellectual contributions of previously under-represented groups. My interests extend to manuscriptology, world philology, comparative history, and digital humanities.
History of Early China
This course explores the history of China from its origins until the thirteenth century. In terms of methodology, it introduces the crafts and toolkits by which historians understand the past—from source criticism to data visualization, from archaeological sciences to art historical analysis, as well as other methods. In terms of content, it helps us to understand Chinese cultures and societies through both well-studied and previously unknown materials. We shall divine with animal bones, dream with butterflies, retreat with elephants, build an empire/khanate from scratch, follow female commanders onto battlefields, and participate in voting and even the full-scale referendum. The course is open to all students, and no previous background in history or the Chinese language is required or expected.
“The ‘Chinese’ Rhetorical Curriculum and a Transcultural History of Political Thought, ca. 1250–1650.” PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2021.
[with Michael Nylan] “Majority Rule in Imperial China,” in The Cambridge History of Democracy, Volume 1: From Democratic Beginnings to c.1350, edited by Valentina Arena and Eric Robinson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2022
[with Michael Nylan] “Reading the Sunzi in Historical Context.” In Norton Critical Edition of Sunzi, edited by Michael Nylan. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2021 (in print).
“On the Importance of Having Atrocious Dreams: Social and Cultural Transformations of Tenth-Century China and Beyond” (in Chinese). Zaoqi zhongguoshi yanjiu (Early and Medieval Chinese History) (2020).
Work in progress
“Negotiating with Female Commanders in Medieval China: War, Gender, and Imperial Rhetoric”
“Redefining Reciprocity: Appointment Edict and Political Thought in Tang (618–907) China”
“The Manchu Compilation of Ming History Reconsidered: A Study of the Ming gurun i suduri”