skip to content

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

East Asian Studies
University Assistant Professor in the Study of Late Imperial China
Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 765071
Fellow of: 
Sidney Sussex College
Director of Studies at: 
Sidney Sussex College

I am a scholar of the humanities and a lover of books. My fascination with the various ways in which culture and thought shape human history has taken me to Europe, America, and East Asia. After studying briefly in France, I returned to Israel to complete a BA in philosophy and East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University. It was during this formative period that I decided to dedicate my career to the study of Chinese culture. Following graduation, I studied Chinese language and culture at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, after which I returned to Tel Aviv University to complete an MA in Chinese Studies, followed by a PhD at Columbia University in New York City (2018).

Before joining AMES in 2019, I taught courses on China at Boston University as a Visiting Assistant Professor and conducted research for my first book at Harvard University’s libraries. My first book, tentatively titled Origin Narratives: Hagiographic Literature and Religious Practice in Late Ming Book Culture, examines a subgenre of commercially-published books celebrating the lives of heroes, gods, and immortals. Through the prism of these books, I explore the role that commercial publishing played in reshaping the reverence of cultural icons, while raising questions about our understanding of book consumption and the concept of literature in late-imperial China. I am also working on a second book project on the conceptualization of death and the afterlife in premodern China. The main focus of this project is King Yama of Hell, a central figure in religio-cultural practices surrounding death and a recurring trope in late-imperial literature and drama.

Teaching responsibilities: 

I teach undergraduate and graduate classes on Chinese history, literature, and religion, as well as Classical Chinese.

Supervision information: 

I welcome proposals for graduate work in the areas of late-imperial Chinese literature, print culture, and Chinese religions.

Research interests: 

Chinese history, premodern Chinese literature, religious practice in China, print culture and history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, and popular culture. I am particularly interested in the interplay between literature and religion in late-imperial China (primarily during the Ming and Qing dynasties). I am also interested in the history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, popular culture, and religious practice.

Current book projects:

  • Origin Narratives: Hagiographic Literature and Religious Practice in Late Ming Book Culture
  • King Yama: Afterlife Justice in Chinese Conceptions of the Netherworld 

Book chapters in edited volumes:

  • "Religion and Thought," in Paul Vierthaler ed., A Cultural History of Chinese Literatures, Volume 4: the Age of Expansion (1400-1650) (forthcoming with Bloomsbury)
  • "The Zha Chopper," in Adam Yuet Chau ed., Chinese Religious Culture in 100 Objects [a collaborative project initiated by the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions (SSCR)] (forthcoming)

Articles in preparation:

  • "Traces of the Immortal: Pictorial Hagiographies of Xu Xun"
  • "Ritual Appendices in Late-Ming Narrative Texts (xiaoshuo)"

Current PhD students

Ilay Golan: The Religious Tradition of Overseas Sailors in Late Imperial China
Yizhuo Li: Unfeminine Heroines: The Woman Warrior on Stage in Nineteenth Century China

Articles, Book Chapters etc