Graduate Student Associates

Ernest (Billy) Brewster

Ernest (Billy) Brewster

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Billy Brewster will be writing his dissertation, “Between Faith and Logic: Buddhist Philosophy of Religion in Ming China.” This project explores the methodological debates adjudicated by a politically-powerful network of late sixteenth-and early seventeenth-century Buddhist scholars. It shows how the Ming scholars of Buddhist Studies adapted Yogācāra to answer Western science and strengthen the Buddhist tradition.  

Chien-Shou Chen

Chien-Shou Chen

Visiting Ph.D. Candidate, National Taiwan University, History

Chien-Shou Chen will be working on his dissertation, "The Making of Historical Terms: the Transmission and Appropriation of 'Renaissance' and 'Enlightenment' in Late Qing and Republican China." This project explores  how the Western concepts of the “Renaissance” and the “Enlightenment” have been absorbed and appropriated in modern China, and how these concepts have, in turn, been transformed into an internal intellectual resource. 

Sakura Christmas

Sakura Christmas

Ph.D. Candidate, History

Sakura Christmas will be writing her dissertation, “The Cartographic Steppe: Spaces of Development in Northeast Asia, 1900-1945.”  This project reorients empire towards the vantage point of the periphery by shifting attention from cities to eastern Inner Mongolia.  It explores how the Qing Empire, Chinese Republic, and Japanese occupation mapped the relationship between land and nomad when eastern Inner Mongolia underwent a dramatic transformation from pasturage to farms as the state began privatizing land in the early twentieth century.  

Tarryn Li-Min Chun

Tarryn Li-Min Chun

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Tarryn Li-Min Chun is a 2nd-year GSA. Her dissertation is “Performance Technologies and the Theatrical Production of Chinese Modernity,” which explores the interrelation of technology, theatricality, and modernity in the 20th-21st-century China.

Huan Jin

Huan Jin

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Huan Jin will be writing her dissertation, “Utopian Vision, Fictional Imagination, and Personal Memory: Literary Traces of the Taiping Rebellion.” This project explores writings as political persuasion, imaginative deviation, and personal testimony during and immediately after the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864). It argues that the propagandistic works produced by the Taiping Rebels and the Qing government aim to construct imaginary Utopias where social order is neatly prescribed, whereas individual accounts such as memoirs and diaries expose us to a world that is anything but a peaceful Utopia.  

Macabe Keliher

Macabe Keliher

Ph.D. Candidate, History and East Asian Languages

Macabe Keliher is a 2nd-year GSA. His dissertation is “The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China.” This project explores the formation of the Qing state in the mid-seventeenth century. It argues that rites and the Board of Rites constructed the Qing socio-political order by defining the role of the emperor, stratifying the aristocracy, and centralizing the military.  

Yan Liu

Yan Liu

Ph.D. Candidate, History of Science

Yan Liu will be writing his dissertation, “Poison and Medicine in Medieval China.” This project explores the history of poison in China from the 4th to the 10th century, a critical period for Chinese pharmacology. It explores both the medical rationales of deploying poisons and the various cultural forces that fostered the development of toxicological knowledge and the transformation of this knowledge as it traveled in different geographical and social domains. 

Chen Liu

Chen Liu

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Chen Liu will be writing her dissertation, “The World of the Miscellaneous in Mid-Twelfth Century China.”  This project explores the textual history of miscellaneous writings in early Southern Song China, which involves topics such as political and cultural history, printing technology, and manuscript culture.  

Xiaolu Ma

Xiaolu Ma

Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature

Xiaolu Ma will be writing her dissertation, “The Vital Link: Japan as an Intermediary in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese and Russian Transcultural Relationships.” This project explores the mediating role of the modern Asian imperial power Japan in the triangular relationship with the emerging socialist cultural center of Soviet Russia and the earlier Asian cultural center of China. It does so by analyzing how Chinese used Japanese scholarship and creative writing in adapting, translating, and intertexualizing Russian literature.  

Ian Matthew Miller

Ian Matthew Miller

Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Ian Miller will be writing his dissertation, “Ancestry, Institutions and Environment in Early Modern China.” This project explores the changing institutional basis of land stewardship in Ming Dynasty South China, in particular the growing importance of tomb forests as sites of conservation and control. 

Qiaomei Tang

Qiaomei Tang

PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Qiaomei Tang is a 2nd-year GSA. Her dissertation concerns women’s divorce in early medieval (3rd – 7th centuries) Chinese society. By examining an aspect in a woman’s life that was represented in historical, legal, ritual, and literary writings, her dissertation aims to explore issues such as representation, perception, identity, gender and genre.

Ren Wei

Ren Wei

Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture

REN Wei will be writing her dissertation, “The Graphic Transformation in Chinese Book Design in the 1920s and 1930s.” This project explores Chinese art in the 1920s and 1930s through the lens of graphic design. In doing so, it reveals the period’s tensions, misalignments, and confusions as Chinese intellectuals struggled to offer diverse models to modernize their art.  

Li Chiao (George) Yin

Ph.D. Candidate, Government

Li Chiao Yin will be writing his dissertation, “Nationalism and Chinese Foreign Policy.” This project explores how nationalism influences foreign policy with reference to China.  

Wen Yu

Wen Yu

Ph.D. Candidate, History

Wen Yu will be writing her dissertation, “The Search for the Chinese Way in a Modern World: From the Rise of Evidential Scholarship to the Birth of National Learning, 1620-1960.” This project explores the ideas, politics, and influence of modern Confucian thinkers to demonstrate the continuity in the search for values by the intellectual elites from late imperial China through the modern era, a continuity that has not been explored in accounts of modern China based on its political and institutional modernization.