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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

East Asian Studies
University Lecturer 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
St Catherine's College (External DoS)
Robinson College (External DoS)

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 in 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 Reading and Reverence: Hagiographic Literature and Religious Practice in Late-Ming China, examines a genre of hagiographic narratives portraying the lives of heroes, gods, and immortals. Through the prism of these books, I explore the role that commercial publishing played in reshaping the lore and worship of cultural icons in late-imperial China, while raising questions about our understanding of book consumption and the concept of literature in premodern 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 religious practice surrounding death and a recurring trope in 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:

Reading and Reverence: Hagiographic Literature and Religious Practice in Late-Ming China

King Yama: Afterlife Justice in Chinese Conceptions of the Netherworld 

Articles in preparation:

"Writing and Worship in Deng Zhimo's Saints Trilogy"

"Traces of the Immortal: Pictorial Hagiographies of Xu Xun"

"Ritual Appendices in Late-Ming Narrative Texts (xiaoshuo)"

Current PhD students

Miss Yizhuo Li: Unfeminine Heroines: The Woman Warrior on Stage in Nineteenth Century China