Anthropology and Archaeology

The cultures and peoples of China are rich and varied, and the Fairbank Center is committed to the study of this diversity both in the past and the present. In fact, last academic year, the Center’s An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship was themed around the study very beginnings of what would eventually become the famed Silk Road. As such, the two scholars chosen for the program worked with Professor of Anthropology Rowan Flad to further the study of this fascinating time in Northwestern China’s prehistory.


Susan Greenhalgh 葛苏珊

Professor of Anthropology

Susan Greenhalgh is Professor of Anthropology and John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society at Harvard University. Before moving to Harvard, she was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine and, before that, Senior ResearchRead More

Rowan Flad
Rowan Flad

Rowan Flad 傅羅文

Professor of Anthropology

His research focuses on the emergence and development of complex society during the late Neolithic period and the Bronze Age in China. He has conducted excavations at a salt production site in the eastern Sichuan Basin and has recently completedRead More

Arthur Kleinman
Arthur Kleinman

Arthur Kleinman 凱博文

Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology; Professor of Medical Anthropology in Social Medicine; Professor of Psychiatry

Research and Teaching Interests: Global Mental Health; Social Medicine; Medical Humanities; Social Suffering; Caregiving; China; Asia broadly; North America.

Arthur Kleinman (born March 11, 1941), a physician and anthropologist, is now in his 39th year at Harvard. A graduate ofRead More

Tozzer Anthropology Building 414 | 21 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge MA, 02138
nicole newendorp
nicole newendorp

Nicole Newendorp 柳云嫦

Lecturer on Social Studies

Dr. Newendorp received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Columbia University, an M.A. from Harvard University’s Regional Studies-East Asia Program, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Anthropology.

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Robert Weller
Robert Weller

Robert Weller 魏乐博

Professor of Anthropology, Boston University

Dr. Robert Weller’s work concentrates on China and Taiwan in comparative perspective. His actual research topics, however, are eclectic—running from ghosts to politics, rebellions to landscape paintings.

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Boston University Department of Anthropology | 232 Bay State Road, #105 | Boston 02215

Research Projects

2015-16 An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship: “Social, Technological, and Environmental, and Population Change on the Proto Silk-Road”

In the 2015-16 academic year, the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship moved to a faculty-proposed thematic focus led by Rowan Flad, Professor of Anthropology.

During the 2015-16 academic year, two An Wang Postdoctoral Fellows, Dr. Katherine Brunson and Dr. Ling-yu Hung, were selected as part of an initiative focusing on technological change in Northwest China during late prehistory – the development of the “proto Silk-Road”. Both fellows participated regularly in meetings of the East Asian Archaeology Seminar (EAAS) at Harvard, took part in some classes, gave presentations, and worked on other research.

Dr. Hung spent much of the year helping to coordinate a successful exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums called “Prehistory Pottery from Northwest China.” In addition to a variety of talks, conferences, and papers, she has also preliminarily proposed a book for Routledge Press called Making the Majiayao Culture Complex: Migration, Diffusion, and Trade in Late Neolithic Northwest China and Beyond.

During her year at Harvard, Dr. Brunson conducted archaeological fieldwork, developed digital resources on oracle bone divination, attended multi-disciplinary lectures and conferences, and prepared articles for publication. She was also a critical member of the organizing team of the SEAA conference, almost single handedly setting up the two post conference tours for meeting attendees of Asian art museum collections and New England archaeological sites.

Crossing Kazakhstan: The Monumentality of Linear Landscape

This exhibit by Xiaoxuan Lu, Benny, Shaffer, and Justin Stern examined modern Kazakhstan and its role in the as a node of connection between China and Central Asia. Following the 1,833 km Turkmenistan-China Gas Pipeline and Kazakhstan’s A2 highway, Lu, Shaffer, and Stern revealed glimpses of Kazakhstan’s past, present, and future.

opens in a new windowFor more on this exhibit see here.

Contact and Interaction in the Zhou world: The impact of Western Zhou Political and cultural enterprises

This conference, held in the spring of 2016 focused on the culture of China’s Western Zhou Period (1046–771 BCE). It featured speakers from universities across the world and spanning three continents and was co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center, Harvard University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Department of Archaeology, and the American School of Prehistoric Research at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.

Prehistory Pottery from Northwest China

This exhibition, coordinated by An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Ling-yu Hung and Professor Rowan Flad, examines ancient pottery vessels not only as works of art, but also as representations of technical achievement, products of economic value, and windows into ancient history and society. The exhibition showcased prehistoric Chinese ceramics from the collections of the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

opens in a new windowFor more on the exhibition see here.

China Anthropology Workshop: A Better LIfe Through Science & Biomedicine?

In the spring of 2016, the Fairbank Center hosted a workshop that brought together a group of anthropologists to ask whether a longstanding dream of China’s leaders and people – achieving a better life through science and technology – is being realized today. The workshop was designed to spotlight the important role of science and technology in Chinese social and political life, and to illuminate how developments in the PRC can contribute to Science and Technology Studies.

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