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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

St John’s College Junior Research Fellow in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
East Asian Studies
Email address: 

Tristan Brown is currently a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College. He received his PhD in History from Columbia University in 2017. From 2017-2018, he was the Chinese Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He holds an MA in History from Columbia University and an AB in Near Eastern and East Asian Studies from Harvard College. He has previously been a visiting research associate at Sichuan University. Before moving to the UK from the US, he also lived in China, Japan, Mongolia, Syria, and Jordan.

Tristan is a historian of late imperial China, with interests in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. He is broadly interested in the social and cultural history of late imperial China, comparative legal and environmental history, and the history of minority peoples in China. 

While at St John’s College, he is working on the completion of two monographs. The first, The Law of the Living Earth: Fengshui, Property, and Environment in Late Imperial China, examines legal cases from the Nanbu County Archive to identify the central role of cosmology in the practice of traditional Chinese law. The second, The Prophets of Beijing: Islam and the State Cult in Late Imperial China, uses Chinese, Arabic, and Manchu sources to reveal how Islam was practiced as a local Chinese religion in the Ming and Qing periods. 

Teaching responsibilities: 
Tristan will contribute to “Asia in Theory,” convened by Dr Adam Yuet Chau.

Articles, Book Chapters etc

A Mountain of Saints and Sages: Muslims in the Landscape of Popular Religion in Late Imperial China T'oung Pao, Vol. 104, No. 2, Forthcoming. (2019)
(In Chinese) Environment, Property, and Law in Late Qing Sichuan—Cases from Qing Dynasty County Judicial Archives0 Wu Peilin (ed.) Research in Qing History through Sub-Prefectural and County Archives《州縣檔案與清史研究》, forthcoming (2018)
The Deeds of the Dead in the Courts of the Living: Graves in Qing Law Late Imperial China, Vol. 39, No. 2, December 2018, Forthcoming (2018)
(In Chinese) 從 ‘至尊寶’ 到 ‘地高久’ —由《歧路燈》看清代社會賭博、法律以及社會現象 (Gambling, Law, and the Social Order of Late Imperial China as Reflected in Li Lüyuan’s Lantern at the Crossroads) The Journal of Chinese Studies《漢語言文學研究》 (2015)
Feasts of the Sacrifice: Ritual Slaughter in Late Imperial and Twentieth Century China MAP Project: All about China Essay Series – Indelible Imprints, March 5, 2015 (2015)
Imagining Consumers: Print Culture and Ethnic Advertising in Early Twentieth Century China The Muslim World, Vol. 104, No. 3 pp. 336-353 (2014)
A Silk Road Blueprint: Religion, Kinship, and State Construction Projects in the Development of a Northwestern Chinese Borderland, 1912-1946 Archi-Cultural Translations through the Silk Road. pp. 165-173 (2013)
Muslim Networks, Religious Economy, and Community Survival: The Financial Upkeep of Mosques in Late Imperial China Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 2013 pp. 241-266 (2013)
Illuminating the Shadow Economy of the Banner Garrison: Manchu Language Contracts as Sources for Qing Social History Harvard University Manchu Studies Group, September 17, 2013 (2013)
The Metaphorical Dimensions of Symbolic Prices and Real-World Values in A Dream of Red Mansions Tsinghua Journal of Chinese Studies, 41 pp. 795-812 (2011)
Towards an Understanding of Qianlong's Conception of Islam: A Study of the Dedication Inscriptions of the Fragrant Concubine's Mosque in the Imperial Capital Journal of Chinese Studies, 2011, 53 pp. 1347-154 (2011)