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Department of History
Tufts University
East Hall 007
Medford, MA 02155

Email Prof. Xu

Man Xu
Associate Professor of History


Chinese history


Middle Period China, Late Imperial China, Women's History, the History of Material Culture


Inspired by my international history education in China and the United States, I am interested in a broad range of topics in middle period and late imperial Chinese history with a particular focus on the history of family and kinship, local society, material culture and gender. My current manuscript reconstructs the complexities of elite and non-elite women's everyday lives during the Song Dynasty, from 960 to 1279. I draw upon a wide range of previously untapped sources—including archaeological reports, epitaphs, museum collections, paintings, poetry, and excavations of women's tombs—to recover the diversity of women's experience of the life course, from childhood socialization to death, and the artifacts that women produced, transmitted, and consumed, including cosmetics, dress, kitchen goods, and jewelry. Besides the exploration of gendered objects, places, and space in middle period China, I have been thinking about the construction of women's knowledge in encyclopedias in late imperial China.


  • Ph.D. Columbia University, 2010
  • M.A. Peking University, 2002
  • B.A. Peking University, 1999


  • de Bary Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, 2010-2011
  • Faculty Fellowship, Columbia University, 2002-2010
  • CLIR Mellon Research Fellowship, Council on Library and Information Resources, 2006-2007
  • CU Mellon Travel Fellowship, Columbia University, 2006-2007

Major Publications


  • Crossing the Gate: Everyday Lives of Women in Song Fujian (960-1279). State University of New York press. 2016.


  • "Local Elites in Transition: Epitaphs Excavated in Luzhou from the Seventh to the Twelfth centuries," Asia Major, 30 (2017).

  • "Gender and Burial in Imperial China: An Investigation of Women's Space in Fujian Tombs of the Song Era (960-1279)," NAN NÜ: Men, Women and Gender in China, 13 (2011): 1-51.

  • "「内事」と「外事」——宋代福建路地域社会での女性の経済活動 (Inner Affairs and Outer Affairs: Women's Economic Activities in Local Communities of Fujian during the Song Period),"Chūgoku josei shi kenkyū 中国女性史研究 (The Journal of Historical Studies on Chinese Women) vol. 20, 2011.

  • "内外の際――宋代福建路の士人家族の構成員としての女性(Inner and Outer: Elite Women and Their Natal Families in Fujian Circuit of Song Dynasty)," Chūgoku josei shi kenkyū 中国女性史研究 (The Journal of Historical Studies on Chinese Women) vol.14, 2005.


  • Pre-modern Chinese History
  • Modern Chinese History
  • Women and Gender in Chinese Tradition
  • Women and Gender in East Asian Tradition
  • Confucianism: From China to the World
  • Visual and Material Culture in Chinese Tradition