The Study of Chinese History at UCSB
I am a cultural and intellectual historian of middle and late imperial China, and my work is highly interdisciplinary. My publications cross various subfields in historical studies, including intellectual history, the history of science, technology, and medicine, the history of emotions, gender studies, sensory history, and the history of the book. My interdisciplinary interests afford a broad and inclusive perspective for exploring ideas and knowledge in pre-modern China. My first monograph, Shen Gua’s Empiricism (Harvard University Asia Center, 2018) is the first book-length study in English of Shen Gua, the best known Renaissance man in medieval China and the author of Brush Talks from Dream Brook (Mengxi bitan), an old text featuring a gamut of remarkable “scientific” discoveries and thus seemingly ahead of its time. In addition to providing an in-depth analysis of Shen, my book is simultaneously a study of historical epistemology, which illuminates a version of empiricism on the basis of an original reading of Neo-Confucian theory of knowledge. Currently, I am working on a monograph on tears and crying in Chinese history.
I was a tenured professor at Bowdoin College before coming to UCSB in 2020. Click here for more on my academic background.
Research and Teaching Interests:
History of Middle and Late Imperial China
Intellectual and Cultural History
History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
History of Emotions
A Cultural History of Tears in China
Shen Gua’s Empiricism, Harvard University Asia Center and Harvard University Press, the Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 113, 2018.
Click here for more on the book.
“Collecting Tears: Lachrymation and Emotions in the Taiping Collectanea,” forthcoming in Oriens Extremus
“Counting Books by the Juan: Material and Conceptual Aspects of the Chinese Book,” Asia Major 35.1 (2022): 33–73.
“Male Tears in Song China (960–1279),” Journal of Chinese Studies 73 (2021), 33–79.
“Zhang Zai’s (1020–1077) Critique of the Senses,” Journal of Chinese History 3 (2019): 83–111.
“‘Ru’ versus ‘Li’: The Divergence between the Generalist and the Specialist in the Northern Song (960−1127),” Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 44 (2014): 83–137.
“Beisong shu lun” 北宋數論 (Discourse on Number in the Northern Song), Tang Yanjiu 唐研究 (The Tang Studies) 18 (2012): 475–506.
“The Production of Written Knowledge under the Rubric of Jiyi,” East Asian Science, Technology, and Society 4 (2010): 255–273.
Edited Volume Contributions:
“Keeping Your Ear to the Cosmos: Coherence as the Standard of Good Music in the Northern Song (960−1127) Music Reforms,” in Powerful Arguments: Standards of Validity in Late Imperial China, edited by Ari D. Levine, Joachim Kurtz, and Martin Hofmann (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishing, 2020), 277–309.
“Whence Came Sad Tears?,” article with new media elements, in Fluid Matter(s): Flow and Transformation in the History of the Body, edited by Natalie Köhle and Shigehisa Kuriyama. Asian Studies Monograph Series 14 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2020). Link
Check out the entire volume here!
Short Scholarly Articles:
Appreciation of “Another Look at Li” by Willard J. Peterson, Special Golden Anniversary Section, Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 50 (2021): 219-220.
“The Peach Blossom Fan with a Modern Twist,” as part of the group project “Outside the Box: Teaching East Asian History with Digital Media, Technological Artifacts, and Performative Activities,” Education about Asia 24.3 (2019): 49.
Yunchiahn C. Sena, Bronze and Stone: The Cult of Antiquity in Song Dynasty China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019), East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 54 (2022).
Philip J. Ivanhoe, Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies 1(2019): 265–270.
Click here for more information on my research and publications.
- HIST 184B History of China (sixth to seventeenth centuries)
- HIST 184T History of Traditional Chinese Thought
- HIST 184R History of Chinese Medicine
- HIST 184M China’s Historical Minorities
Honors and Professional Activities:
- 2022-23 Research Focus Group Grant, Emotions in History, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB (primary investigator, in collaboration with Dr. Hongbo Yu [Psychological and Brain Sciences, UCSB, Yu Emotion Science Lab])
- 2021-22 UCSB College of Letters and Science Conference Grant
- 2020-21 Regents’ Humanities Faculty Fellowship Award, University of California, Santa Barbara
- 2020 Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Collaborative Reading Workshop Grant (Primary investigator; in collaboration with Ellen Zhang and Ari Levine)
- 2019 Elizabeth Watkins Porter and Robert Chamberlain Porter Research Award
- 2018 Award from the Society for Song, Yuan, and Conquest Dynasties Studies for Paper Presentation at the Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies
- 2016 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship
- 2015 Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship
- 2011 Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship
- 2010 Ph.D. Writing Completion Fellowship, Program of East Asian Studies, Princeton University
- 2004–2006 Merit Prize, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University