I am an historian of middle period China. I define myself as a social historian, but I am very much interested in intellectual history as well. In fact, I find it most exciting when these two fields illuminate each other. I did my undergraduate (BA) and graduate studies (MA) at Yonsei University, Korea, the oldest modern university in the country founded by an American missionary, before obtaining a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 2009.
On a very general level, I am interested in two aspects of Chinese history: First, tensions between state power and social elites, focusing on how those tensions are expressed and resolved; Second, the localization of national policies or nationwide scholarly movements, asking how local actors appropriate those outside changes to serve their interests, whether material or cultural.
My dissertation, “Negotiated Power: The State and Elites in 12th-14th Century China,” which I am currently revising for a book manuscript, explores state-society relations in 12th-14th century China at the local level. Focusing on Mingzhou prefecture, located south of modern day Shanghai, it shows that the presence of the state in local society, not its absence, and the connectedness of local elites to the state, not their separation from it, were crucial to the rise and development of local elite society in this period.