PhD Student Profiles

Batts, Joshua
Bernard, Allison
Bensen, Nolan
Buckelew, Kevin
Bernard, Allison
Chang, Jian Ming (Chris)
Chambers, Harlan
Chang, Ti-kai
Chao, Glenda
Cho, Kumhee
Chung, Jae Won
Deckrow, Andre
Eaton, Clay
Estep, Chloe
Felt, Matthieu
Fong, Sau-yi
Ganany, Noga
Gaubatz, Tom
Healy, Gavin
Howard, Tracy
Huang, Yanjie
Ishida, Yuki
Kaplan-Reyes, Alexander
Kief, Jonathan
Kindler, Benjamin
Komova, Ekaterina
Korolkov, Maxim
Kung, Ling-Wei
Lei, Lei
Lin, Hsin Yi
Liu, Peng
MacBain, Abigail
Medina, Jennifer
McClure, David
Moody, Peter
Ngo Vu, Nhat Phuong
Pang, Carolyn
Peacock, Christopher
Reeves, Kristopher
Revells, Tristan
Reynolds, Elizabeth
Rogers, Joshua
Sakai, Komei
Sargent, Katherine
Schlachet, Joshua
Shahaf, Nataly
Shen, Yiwen
St Amant, Guy
Staum, Rachel
Sun, Myra
Thompson, John
Thompson, Luke

Tsering, Sonam
Walker, Jeffrey
Wang, Yijun
Wang, Zi (Chelsea)
Woolley, Charles
Wu, Dongming
Yang, Chung-Wei
Yi, Yuan
Yuan, Ye
Zhang, Chi
Zhang, Jing
Zou, Dongxin
Recent PhDs
Boyanton, Stephen
Chizhova, Ksenia
Chung, Dajeong
Detwyler, Anatoly
Duthie, Nina
Gvili, Gal
Lander, Brian
Lawrence, Elizabeth
Lin, Shing-Ting
Pitarch Fernandez, Pau
Roebuck, Kristin
Stepien, Rafal
Stilerman, Ariel
Takai, Shiho
Wang, Sixiang
Wu, Lan


battsJoshua Batts

Japanese History, Advisor: Gregory Pflugfelder

Joshua Batts received his B.A. from Whittier College (2006) with an emphasis on Japanese history. He began work on a Ph.D. in Japanese history at Columbia in the fall of 2009, teaching English in Japan on the outskirts of Tokyo in the interim. Joshua’s current research interests include the spread of firearms and other introduced commodities throughout Japan in the 16th and 17th century and the broader networks guiding these exchanges. He is also interesting in the “mapping” of Japan, and its representation on and through different media in the early modern period.


bernardAllison Bernard

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Shang Wei

Before joining Columbia’s PhD program in the fall of 2012, Allison received her BA from Middlebury College (2010) and an MA from Columbia’s East Asian Languages and Cultures department (2012). Her MA thesis examined the late Ming novel Jin Ping Mei cihua through the lens of its circulating information, considering how spoken transmissions, mainly in the form of gossip, function as both a narrative mechanism and exchangeable ‘commodity’ within the novel’s domestic information economy. Her current research interests span broadly across the terrain of Ming/Qing (and some Yuan) vernacular fiction and drama, but she intends to locate her doctoral work within a research matrix that combines perspectives from critical theory, book history, and print culture to situate literary texts in their paradigms of cultural production and reception.

Nolan Benson

Nolan Bensen

Chinese History, Advisor: Robert Hymes

Nolan Bensen got his BA from New College of Florida and his MA here at Columbia. He studies the history of the early Ming Dynasty, founded in 1368. His research focuses on Ming foreign relations, large-scale Ming state projects, and the effects of former inclusion in the Mongol Empire on Ming China’s sense of the rest of Eurasia.



boyantonStephen Boyanton

Chinese History, Advisor: Robert Hymes

Stephen Boyanton received his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Florida (1995). After receiving his B.A. he spent five years living and traveling in China before returning the U.S. to pursue his M.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia (2004) and his M.S. in the clinical practice of Chinese medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego (2008). He is now working on his PhD in Chinese History focusing on Chinese medical history. In particular, he is researching the renaissance of the Han dynasty medical text, the Discourse on Cold Damage, which occurred during the Song Dynasty.

Kevin Buckelew

Chinese Religion, Advisor: Bernard Faure & Zhaohua Yang

Kevin is a Ph.D. candidate in Chinese religion. His dissertation focuses on Chinese Buddhist reclusion during the Tang through Yuan dynasties, which he examines in light of broader religious, social, cultural, and art historical trends. Other research interests include interactions between Chan Buddhists and Daoist inner alchemists, the relationship between metaphor and materiality in Chinese Buddhist literature, and the writings of Buddhist nuns in Republican China. He received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 2007, and subsequently earned two M.A. degrees at Columbia: in the department of Religion (2009) and in East Asian Languages and Cultures (2011).

Harlan ChambersHarlan Chambers

Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Harlan Chambers is a Ph.D. student affiliated with Columbia’s Institute of Comparative Literature and Society. Before coming to New York, he earned a licence in Chinese language and civilization at France’s Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) as well as an MA in Asian Cultures and Languages from the University of Texas at Austin. His current research focuses on the relationship between literature, medicine, and politics from the Yan’an period through the cultural revolution. Formerly an actor in Paris, he also has an avid interest in Chinese theatre and other forms of live performance. Additional research areas include cinema, visual culture, and critical theory.

DSC04775JM Chris Chang

Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

JM Chris Chang is a student in modern Chinese history working on the relationship between petition writing and ideological revisionism in the post-Mao transition. He received his BA from Amherst College and a dual-MA from Columbia and the London School of Economics. Prior to returning to Columbia to begin the PhD track, he was a visiting researcher at Beijing University.


changChang Ti-Kai

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Theodore Hughes & Jane Gaines

Ti-Kai Chang received her B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University (2006) and an M.A. in Film Studies at Columbia University (2009). Her research focuses on Chinese cinema, drama and visual cultures, with extensive interests in world cinema, film theory and film history. Her M.A. thesis examined the roles of Ang Lee and Eileen Chang as trans-cultural double agents through the close reading of Lust, Caution (Ang Lee, 2007). Currently she is conducting research on Taiwanese documentary and East Asian film culture during colonial period.



chaoGlenda Chao

Chinese History, Advisor: Li Feng

Glenda is a PhD student focusing on the archaeology of the Bronze Age in south China. Her research interests include how archaeological, historical and paleographical sources can be used in conjunction with one another to study the origins of regional bronze culture styles during the late Western Zhou and early Spring and Autumn periods in China, as well as how the archaeological record reflects the political, social, and economic relationships between different regions of China during the Eastern Zhou period. She also has a budding interest in archaeological theory and its relationship to the development of the archaeology of China as a discipline. She received her B.A. in archaeology from Boston University in 2007 and her M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia in 2009.

chizhovaKsenia Chizhova

Korean History, Advisor: Dorothy Ko & Jungwon Kim

Ksenia is a PhD student of Premodern Korean literature – interested in the 18th century women’s writing. Before Columbia, she studied English and Slavic Linguistics.


Korean History, Advisor: Charles Armstrong

KumHee Cho is a Korean but grew up in Japan. She got her BA at University of Wisconsin-Superior with East Asian Studies. After graduation, she taught Japanese at a high school in Madison WI for a year. She is fluent in Japanese and Korean. KumHee focuses on Korean diasporas, especially the North Korean community in Japan where she grew up. She is interested in exploring how the identities of these Koreans, excluded from the Japanese mainstream, have evolved in response to changing political and social factors. She also hopes to incorporate a comparative approach, examining North Koreans in Japan as part of the broader category of Korean or even Asian diaspora communities worldwide.

chungjaeJae Won Chung

Korean Literature, Advisor: Theodore Hughes

Jae Won is a doctoral student in modern Korean literature. His dissertation project examines everyday life in Korea from the 1930s through the 1950s, with a coordinated analysis of policy debates, magazine and newspaper articles, intellectual journals, literature, photography and film. By looking at how everyday life was imagined, represented, debated and negotiated during this turbulent stretch of history, he hopes to situate everyday life as the dominant ideological formation during the Japanese colonial period and the early years of the Cold War. Before coming to EALAC, Jae Won received his B.A. in philosophy from Swarthmore College, M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia’s School of the Arts, and worked as a literary translator in Seoul. His research interests also include modern Japanese literature, film studies and theories of race.

chungChung Dajeong

Korean History, Advisor: Charles Armstrong

Dajeong is a Ph.D. candidate in modern Korean history. She studied history at Williams College (2005) and received an M.A. from Columbia University (2008). Her dissertation examines the ways in which the spread of U.S. foodstuffs in postwar South Korea revealed the nature and meanings of American influence in East Asia. How was it possible that unfamiliar foodstuffs from the U.S. become part of Korean diet in such a short time? What does the appropriation of food industry by the locals in later decades say about the relationship between industrialization of South Korea and the U.S. influence? Her story of foreign foodstuffs takes us back to 1945 and re-evaluates the roles played by the United States and by economic initiatives of the unlikely individuals such as the American G.I.s, sex workers and black market profiteers. It is an untold story not only of South Korea but of globalization, intersecting the local with the U.S. foreign policy.

deckrowAndre Deckrow

Japanese History, Advisor: Carol Gluck

Andre Deckrow is a doctoral student in modern Japanese history. His research focuses on twentieth century Japanese migration to Latin America, specifically Brazil. He received his B.A. in History and Asian Languages and Cultures from Amherst College in 2006. Andre spent the 2007-2008 academic year traveling around the Pacific Rim researching Japanese gardens as symbols of historical memory as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. For the 2010-2011 academic year, Andre serves as a Co-President of the Graduate History Association, the organization that represents all history graduate students at Columbia.

detwylerAnatoly Detwyler

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Before coming to Columbia to pursue a PhD in Chinese and comparative literature, I studied Chinese at the University of Minnesota (BA, 2006) and at ICLP in Taiwan (2006-7). My dissertation, tentatively titled “The Arc and the Net: ‘Information’ and Communication in Modern Chinese Literature, 1897-1945,” retraces the ways by which communication became a key discipline and discourse in China between 1897-1945. Because the issue of communication was closely bound up with the program of cultural change, it was thoroughly explored through literary writing and criticism: modern Chinese literature not only reflected the communications turn, it also reflected upon it, asking questions about communication’s mediacy and immediacy that remain relevant today.

Nina Duthie

Chinese History, Advisor: Robert Hymes & Shang Wei

Nina Duthie specializes in the cultural history and historiography of China’s Northern Dynasties, with a research focus on the Xianbei–ruled Northern Wei (386–534 CE). Her recently completed dissertation, “Origins, Ancestors, and Imperial Authority in Early Northern Wei Historiography,” examines narratives on ritual performance and the representation of imperial authority in the reigns of the founding Northern Wei emperors through an investigation of the sixth-century History of the Northern Wei (Wei shu). She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Asian Languages and Cultures department at UCLA. During the 2010–2011 academic year, she conducted research at National Taiwan University with the support of a Fulbright grant. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program in 2007, she received an M.A. in modern Chinese literature from Columbia University (2002), then worked in academic publishing for several years. Originally from Rhode Island, she has also lived in Xi’an, Taipei, and Tokyo.

eatonClay Eaton

Japanese History, Advisor: Carol Gluck

Clay Eaton received his B.A. from Lewis & Clark College in 2007, where he studied International Relations, History, and Japanese. Before beginning his graduate studies he spent two years teaching English in Hyogo, Japan. He began working on his PhD at Columbia in 2010. His MA Thesis (2012) addressed the construction and public use of three monuments built in Singapore under British, Japanese, and PAP rule. His dissertation focuses on social policies implemented by the Japanese administration of Singapore during the Second World War. Using Japanese, Chinese, and Malay sources, he studies both the intricacies of Japanese policy-making and diverse local responses to the administration’s initiatives.

estepChloe Estep

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Chloe Estep received her A.B. in comparative literature from Princeton University (2009) and M.A. in Chinese studies from the University of Michigan (2013). A student of modern Chinese literature, her M.A. thesis examined the influence of translation practice on early twentieth century Chinese poetics. Also a student in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Chloe is primarily interested in the intersection between translation theory and practice, as well as modern Chinese poetics and semiotics. She is also an avid translator of fiction and poetry.

feltMatthieu Felt

Japanese Literature, Advisor: David Lurie

Matthieu Felt began working on premodern Japanese literature at Columbia in 2010. After finishing his undergraduate program at the University of Chicago, he taught junior high school English for four years on the island of Tanegashima, Kagoshima prefecture. He also worked for several years in IT at the University of Chicago. He is primarily interested in the Nihon Shoki and other imperial histories.

Sau-yi Fong

Chinese History, Advisor:

Sau-yi Fong is a doctoral student in Chinese history. She received her BA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008) and her Mphil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2013). Her research interests lie in the intersection of military history, intellectual history and the history of science and technology, with a focus on late imperial gunpowder technology, the manufacture of armaments and literati conceptions of war and violence in Qing China. She worked as a translator in Hong Kong for more than 5 years before joining Columbia in 2014.

Thomas Gaubatz

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane and Tomi Suzuki

Thomas is a Ph.D. candidate in early modern Japanese literature at Columbia University. His dissertation examines literary representations of chonin (urban commoner) identity in relation to shifts in the administrative policy, print and performance media, and urban space of early modern Japan. His research interests include early modern book history and print culture, especially commercial publishing and the woodblock print as media; social history, urban space, and the Edo-Meiji transition.

gananyNoga Ganany

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Shang Wei

Noga received her BA and MA from Tel Aviv University, Israel, and in between studied Chinese at Xiamen University. Her Master’s thesis explored the literary tradition and religious worship of judge Bao-gong in late imperial and modern China and Taiwan. She is interested in the dynamics between literature and religion in late imperial China, print culture, and the evolution of recurring themes in Chinese popular culture. Her dissertation project explores the role of religious practices and print culture in the rise of the fiction novel in late Ming China.

Gal Gvili

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Gal is a modern Chinese literature student in EALAC as well a fellow in the Institute of Comparative Literature and society. She received her B.A and M.A from Hebrew University, Jerusalem before beginning her PhD at Columbia in 2008. Her dissertation- to be completed in spring 2015- explores the epistemological shift that the introduction of the term “Religion” (zongjiao) initiated in modern Chinese writing and thinking on the relationship between literature and national salvation.

Gavin HealyGavin Healy photo

Chinese History, Advisor: Madeleine Zelin

Gavin Healy is a doctoral student in late imperial and modern Chinese history.  His research interests include the role of commerce and law in the social and cultural life of modern and early modern China, and the adoption and adaptation of Chinese legal codes and procedures in Choson Korea.  He received his BA in Asian Studies from Cornell University, a JD from Columbia Law School, and an MA in Chinese Studies from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Before entering the PhD program, he practiced law in New York and Seoul.

howardTracy Howard

Tibetan History, Advisor: Gray Tuttle

Tracy Howard received her B.A. in Tibetan Studies from Columbia University. She has worked as an interpreter of Tibetan language in the U.S. and eastern Tibet (Kham) and spent one year as an exchange researcher at Waseda University (Tokyo) studying Tibetan history and translating Buddhist sutras into English under a grant from 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Her research interests broadly include the religious history of 18th-20th century eastern Tibet and the historical importance of poetic songs of religious experience in Tibet.

Yuki IshidaYuki Ishida

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Tomi Suzuki

Before joining Columbia University, Yuki received her B.A. in Comparative Japanese Studies from the University of Tokyo and her M.A. in Russian literature from Saint Petersburg State University (Russia). Her M.A. thesis (2015) addressed the interplay of the documentary and the fictional in 20th century postwar literary imagination in Russia and Japan. Her current research interests include the intersection of intellectual history and literature in 20th century Japan, focusing on the problematics of fiction in modern Japanese literary and intellectual discourse.

Alexander Kaplan-Reyes

Japanese History, Advisor:

Alexander Kaplan-Reyes is a doctoral history student in early modern Japanese history. Alexander’s primary research focuses on male-male sexuality during the 16th and 17th centuries and how fragmented political and cultural authority during the Warring States Period created spaces for experimentation that in turn influenced normative male-male sexual practices and behavior during the Edo Period. He is also interested in modern popular culture interpretations of major historical figures and events of the Warring States Period and how this shapes and reflects so-called “common knowledge” about them. He received his BA in East Asian Studies from Occidental College in 2011 and his MA in East Asian Studies from University of California, Los Angeles in 2014.


kiefJonathan Kief

Korean Literature, Advisor: Theodore Hughes

Jon Kief is a doctoral student in modern Korean literature and comparative intellectual history. His research focuses on 1920s-1950s Korean debates over the proper form and function of “humanist” thought, and he hopes to use these debates’ successive iterations to trace the shifting intellectual currents moving between Korea, Japan, the US, and Europe. Ultimately, his goal is to show how an historical consideration of changing constitutions of “humanity” in Korean discursive practice can help re-embed these contentious decades — often framed in terms of the colonial/postcolonial rupture, the dual Pacific and Korean War divides, and the birth of a new Cold War order — in a more complex narrative linking Korean and transnational intellectual history.


Benjamin Kindler

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Ben began his studies with a BA in Modern History and Politics. at Oxford University. His studies of Republican Chinese history as an undergraduate led him to complete an MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies, also at Oxford, during which he also completed a term of study at Beijing University. He has since moved in a more literary direction, and is undertaking a PhD in Modern Chinese Literature at Columbia. His specific research interests lie in the relationship between new literary productions emerging in Chinese urban centers during the 1930s, and the development of new concepts of the body and hygiene. He seeks to probe the way in which a new experience of the body in the setting of Republican China and the spread of an urban culture of personal hygiene provided the basis for a re-thinking of gender and class difference, and how modernist writers sought to draw on these new ideological systems in their descriptions of China’s cities and class hierarchies. Outside of the specific field of Republican Chinese Literature, Ben is also interested in rethinking modern Chinese literary thought within the global terrain of national liberation struggles, and examining literary manifestations of historical memory in the contemporary PRC.

Ekaterina Komova

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Ekaterina is a PhD student in premodern Japanese literature. Prior to coming to Columbia, she received her BA in Asian Language and Culture (Hons., 2012) followed by her MA in Asian Studies (2014) from the University of British Columbia. Her primary research areas include the history and development of linguistic thought as well as the interrelation between linguistic processes such as grammatical and semantic broadening and their effect on the evolution and aesthetization of certain poetic and literary concepts. She is also interested in the tradition of poetic commentaries and reception, in addition to the stylistics and reading of kuzushiji (cursive) texts. Outside of her field of specialty, Ekaterina is actively involved in the research of phonetics of Czech and Russian.

Maxim Korolkov

Chinese History, Advisor: Feng Li

Maxim received his B.A. in history from Moscow State University (2007) and M.A. in Chinese history from Beijing University (2011). As a doctoral student in Columbia University, he is exploring the administrative organization and economic management in the early Chinese empire of Qin (221-210 B.C.) as reflected in the archive of Qianling County excavated from the remains of the Qin fortified settlement at Liye, Hunan Province. Maxim is particularly interested in the organization of production, accumulation, storage, and distribution of food and other material resources; official communication and transportation; management of labor; operation of monetary economy; and government intervention into local economic activities. He is also interested in possible implications of the existing theories of social power and anthropological research on the construction of value in various societies for the interpretation of the ancient Chinese paleographic documents.

Ling-wei KungLing-wei Kung

Tibetan and Chinese History, Advisors: Gray Tuttle & Madeleine Zelin

Ling-wei Kung is a Ph.D. student in Sino-Tibetan history. His research focuses on transregional legal practices and economic exchanges among Tibet, Mongolia, Xinjiang and late imperial China. He is also more broadly interested in the history of Inner Asian peoples between the Qing and Russian Empires.

He is currently conducting two research projects: “The Most Important Place: Environment, Communities and Identities in Gansu Province of Late Imperial China” and “The Great Game: Dalai Lamas, Manchu Emperors and Mongolian Khans in the Making of China and Inner Asia, 1634-1758.” In so doing, he primarily works with Manchu, Mongolian, and Tibetan documents, along with Chinese materials.

Ling-Wei received a B.A. in History from National Taiwan University (2012), and his M.A. in Tibetan Studies from Columbia University (2015). Before coming to New York City, he stayed in Beijing, where he studied Chinese and Inner Asian history, as well as Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan at Renmin and Peking Universities for two years.

landerBrian Lander

Chinese History, Advisor: Feng Li

Brian Lander is a doctoral student in early Chinese history under the guidance of Li Feng. Brian studies the environmental transformations involved in the development of centralized bureaucratic states during the Zhou and Qin periods (1045-206 B.C.) in north China. He combines textual, archaeological and palaeoecological data to explore both the wild flora and fauna of the region and the ecology of human subsistence. Brian received a B.A. from the University of Victoria and an M.A. from McGill University, and has also studied at the universities of Hong Kong, Nijmegen (NL), Lanzhou and at East China Normal University.

lawrenceElizabeth Lawrence

Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

Liza is a historian of modern China with research interests in modern material and visual culture, the history of technology and science, knowledge production, and consumerism. Her dissertation, “Carving the Archaic, Marking the Modern: A History of the Seal in Twentieth Century China,” examines the modern afterlife of inscribed seals – objects of power and prestige in imperial China – against the backdrop of the decline and collapse of an imperial order of knowledge, status, and power, the rise of mass politics and mass production, and the local accommodation of modern disciplines that promoted new ways of classifying and engaging the material world.

Lei Lei

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Lei Lei is a PhD candidate in modern Chinese literature with a concentration in comparative literature. Her research interests include 20th century Chinese literature and American literature, history of biology and psychology, and critical theory. Her dissertation project looks at how 20th century writers and psychologists in China and the US made sense of the psychic life of the working class during the time of political mobilization and mass education movements. Before joining in Columbia, Lei also received a MPP from UMCP with a concentration on China-US relations.

linhsinyiLin Hsin-Yi

Chinese Religion, Advisor: Bernard Faure

Hsin-Yi Lin is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chinese religion and Buddhism, with a special interest in the interaction between Buddhism and Daoism, and between religion and gender in the medieval China. Her dissertation topic is on reproduction and medieval Chinese Buddhism, discussing the religious notions, metaphors, and practices surrounding childbirth and their interrelation with Chinese conceptions of the body, gender, birth, and life. She is the author of the book, The Decline of Dharma and Women’s Beliefs in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (Taipei: Dao Shiang Press, 2008), and has published articles on medieval Chinese religion and gender. Before joining in Columbia at 2009, She has received her B.A. (2003) and M.A.(2007) in History from National Taiwan University. She is also the awardee of Taiwan Government’s Scholarship, Chung-hwa Buddhist Institute Research Fellowship, and China Times Cultural Foundation Young Scholar Award.

linshingtingShing-Ting Lin

Chinese History, Advisor: Dorothy Ko & Eugenia Lean

Shing-Ting Lin is a Ph.D. Candidate in modern Chinese history. Before joining Columbia, she received her B.A. in History with a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from National Taiwan University (2006). Her research interests include the history of gender and women, body history, and history of science and medicine. She is currently conducting her dissertation research on the professionalization of medicine for women in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China. This project also explores the changing understandings of female bodies in a cross-cultural context during the late Qing and Republican periods (1860s-1940s).

liuPeng Liu

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Shang Wei

Peng is a Ph.D. candidate in Chinese literature, specializing in Chinese fiction and drama in the Ming-Qing period. His study aims to uncover a dynamic relationship between the Chinese novel and Chinese religion. Concentrating on the making of divine women in early Daoism and late imperial Chinese fiction, his dissertation sheds light on the role of the novel as a vehicle for popularizing religious symbols that were otherwise marginalized or forgotten. His study attributes an active role to literature and demonstrates how the novel assimilates religious cults to structure the narrative and enable allegorical readings. Besides his dissertation project, he has also paid attention to Buddhist modernization at the turn of the twentieth century when Chinese intellectuals traveled to the West and propagated Buddhist ideas on the world stage. Before coming to Columbia, he received his academic training at Fudan University where he completed a thesis on how different discursive powers shaped Buddhist hagiographies in medieval China.

macbainAbigail MacBain

East Asian Religion, Advisors: Michael Como & Bernard Faure

Abigail is working toward a PhD focused on early Japanese religion and history. She began her studies at St. Lawrence University (BA, 2004), where she developed an honor’s thesis on Shinto-Buddhist syncretic themes in theJinno Shotoki. After a two year period teaching English in northern Japan, she continued her studies at McMaster University (MA, 2008). While there, she developed a particular interest in researching Buddhism in mainland Asia and examining the various political and cultural influences that accompanied its entry and acceptance in Japan. Her master’s thesis focused on early Japan’s Buddhist national protection temples and sutras. It also considered similar systems developed by other Asian rulers, whose examples the Japanese court may have been copying. Prior to entering Columbia in 2013, she worked for four years at the Consulate General of Japan in Miami, FL.

medinaJennifer Wang Medina

Korean Literature, Advisor: Theodore Hughes

Jenny Wang Medina is a Ph.D. candidate in Modern Korean Literature and Culture. She received a B.A. in English literature from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s degree from Columbia (separately). She is currently in Seoul as a Fulbright fellow conducting research for her dissertation, which deals with Korean literature and popular media in the late 20th century. She is specifically interested in the transformation of Korean culture through the period of democratization the late 1980s to a post-industrial consumer society. She also translates Korean literature, and through this, has become interested in how institutionalization may have changed the character of Korean literary production. Her publications include translations of Oh Jung-hee’s The Bird, and several other short stories by contemporary Korean authors.

Peter Moody

Korean History, Advisor: Charles Armstrong

Peter is a Phd student in East Asian History specializing in the cultural and intellectual history of modern Korea and Japan.  He is interested in looking at how the discourse of tradition vs. modern evolved during the colonial and  post-war periods, particularly when state actors used notions of civilization and advancement to win support for political projects that were sometimes at the expense of the subaltern.  Before coming to Columbia, he obtained his Master’s in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia (2010).  His recent research has been on the subject of Neotraditionalism in North Korea.

PhuongNhat Phuong Ngo Vu

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Phuong is a Ph.D. candidate in premodern Japanese literature. She is interested in classical literature, visual culture, and performance broadly conceived. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Lyric Poetry as Social Performance: Ambiguity of Authorial Presence in Classical Poetry,” seeks to investigate the degree of identification between the poet and the poetic persona across the major genres of waka in order to explore the relationship between artistic production and consumption in Heian Japan. This project argues that the ambiguity in the autobiographical presence of the poet in the fabric of the poems is the very quality that makes up the complexity and sophistication of waka, an important component of Japanese court culture.

pangCarolyn Pang

Japanese Religion, Advisor: Michael Como

Carolyn Pang is a Ph.D. student of pre-modern Japanese literature. Carol received her B.A. (2005) and M.A. (2010) in Japanese Studies from the National University of Singapore. During this period, she participated in research programs at Waseda University and Rikkyo University in Tokyo. Focusing on the study of Onmyodo (Japanese Yin Yang Theory), Carol’s research investigates the cultural and literary encounters between Japan and China by highlighting the transnational nature of religions in Japan during the Heian and medieval period. Her research interests extend to the visual arts of Japan and China, particularly emaki (Japanese scroll paintings), as well as pre-modern East Asian history and East Asian religious practices and folk beliefs.

peacockChris Peacock

Chinese Literature, Advisors: Lydia Liu

Chris received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from The School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) in Chinese History and in Chinese Literature. His research interests include modern literature by and about minority nationalities in the People’s Republic of China, particularly literature about Tibet by Han authors.

Pau Pitarch Fernandez

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Tomi Suzuki

Pau Pitarch Fernandez is a PhD candidate in modern Japanese literature. His dissertation, Cultivated Madness: Aesthetics, Psychology and the Literary Market in Modern Japan, explores how the idea of mental abnormality shaped the formation of the “modern writer” in early 20th-century Japan. Combining close reading of fictional texts with a historical analysis of medical discourses on art, this project argues that images of mental abnormality were deployed by professionalizing writers to legitimize a notion of literary value beyond the logic of commodity exchange in the mass cultural market. Before joining Columbia, Pau received a BA in Comparative Literature from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), and an MA in Language and Information Science from the University of Tokyo (Japan). His broader interests include media studies, history of science, the economics of the cultural market, and detective and science fiction as global genres.


reeves Kristopher Reeves

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Kristopher is currently a PhD candidate interested in issues of literary heteroglossia, focusing primarily on Chinese-style poetry (kanshi) composed by Japanese writers in the ninth and tenth century. Kristopher seeks to draw more attention to the so-called private or family anthologies (shikashū) of Chinese-style poetry. He is currently exploring, on the one hand, ways in which these family anthologies adapted, combined, and, by interweaving poetic traditions taken over from the world of waka verse, significantly transformed earlier genres of Chinese-style poetry, and, on the other, how these literary transformations might be understood simultaneously as sociopolitical responses to different types of readers, from the exalted patron to the fellow poet.



Tristan Revells

Chinese History, Advisor: Zelin, Lean

Tristan is working on legal and business history in late Qing and early Republican China. He is currently researching regulatory standards and marketing and distribution patterns in the Jiangnan region. He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 2008, eventually moving to Shanghai where he tried his hand at freelancing and Mandarin while sporting a dizzying array of Feiyue. Two years in Taipei at ICLP and National Taiwan University preceded the start of his PhD.


reynoldsElizabeth Reynolds

Tibetan History, Advisor: Gray Tuttle

Elizabeth is a PhD candidate in the History-East Asia Program focusing on Tibetan and Chinese History. Her research examines the crossovers of economic history and material culture between China and Tibet from the 17th to 19th centuries. Specifically she is interested in posing questions on cross cultural economic networks, material culture in translation, and material culture as a unique form of cultural expression. A practiced artist herself, Elizabeth plans on incorporating the physical and interactive elements of art and material culture into her research. Elizabeth received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in 2011. Upon graduating she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to do research on the commercialization of Tibetan thangka paintings in Amdo, modern day Qinghai, China. Living in Qinghai for two years, she studied at Qinghai Nationalities University and worked extensively for Columbia’s Engaging Digital Tibet project.

rogersJoshua Rogers

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Tomi Suzuki

Joshua Rogers is a Ph.D. student in modern Japanese literature. His research investigates the role of Christianity in Japanese literature after the Meiji period, arguing that although there were drastically fewer practicing Christians among Japanese intellectuals from the Taishō period forward, the cultural and intellectual impact Christianity had in Meiji remained relevant throughout the 20th century. By tracing the evolution of how Christian ideas and motifs were adopted by Japanese authors in this period, Joshua hopes to show the impact of Christian themes on issues ranging from cosmopolitanism and cultural identity to humanism and ethics. Joshua graduated from the University of Tokyo with a B.A. in Contemporary Literary Studies in 2012, worked as a freelance Japanese translator for nearly two years, and started his Ph.D. at Columbia in 2013.

roebuckKristin Roebuck

Japanese History, Advisor: Gregory Pflugfelder

Kristin Roebuck is an ABD historian of modern Japan, whose research and teaching foreground how the history of the body and the history of the state interact. Kristin’s dissertation provides an integrated analysis of race, gender, international relations, and the history of science as it explores the “mixed-blood children crisis” in postwar Japan. She argues that the political, popular, and scientific furor over “blood mixing” after World War II helped rebuild Japanese nationalism, specifically by shifting its base to the “pure” and timeless race rather than the recently failed state. This episode was crucial to forming the sense of “racial homogeneity” that pervades Japan today.

Kristin’s experience outside of graduate school includes work as an editor at academic and business publications, as an executive assistant, and as a satellite operator at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

Komei Sakai

Japanese Religion, Advisor: D. Max Moerman

Komei Sakai is a doctoral student of pre-modern Japanese religion. He received his B.A. (2013) in East Asian Studies from New York University. His primary research interest is in the religious iconography of Japanese arms and armor from the Kamakura period, with an emphasis on the engraving on sword blades related to the worship of Fudō Myō-ō. He believes that his research will be able to provide a new perspective in the understanding of the samurais’ religious beliefs. He is also interested in the exchange of swords in pre-modern Japan and China.



Katherine Sargent

Japanese History, Advisor: Greg Pflugfelder




schlachetJoshua Schlachet

Japanese History, Advisor: Carol Gluck & Gregory Pflugfelder

Joshua Evan Schlachet is a fourth-year doctoral student in 19th-century Japanese cultural history with an emphasis on Japan’s international relationships during the Tokugawa period. His research interests focus on the impacts of emerging food exchange networks on the cultural, economic & intellectual transformations of the early-19th century as well as the tensions between emerging popular restaurant culture and the crises of famine and social upheaval along Japan’s rural margins. Joshua earned his B.A. in History and Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2008 and his M.A. in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan in 2011. He conducted Fulbright research on the socio-political significance of the sugar trade in southern Japan in 2009 and more recently explored questions of Japanese ethnographic representation in Leiden, The Netherlands.

shenYiwen Shen

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Yiwen is a Ph.D. student in classical Japanese literature. She received her B.A. in Chinese Literature from Fudan University, Shanghai (2008), M.A. in Japanese Literature from Columbia (2011), and M.A. in Chinese Literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012). Her fields of interest include Japanese and Chinese literature, with particular focus on medieval narrative prose. She hopes to examine the common ground and shared nuances of the relevant accounts in China and Japan by paying close heed to their original historical milieu, even while tracing the religious context and visual representations of them. Currently she is conducting research on the literary and visual analyses of the netherworld and influential death-related icons in the early Japanese setsuwa collections from the Nara through the medieval period.

Guy St Amant

Advisors: Zhaohua Yang and Bernard Faure




staumRachel Staum

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Tomi Suzuki and Haruo Shirane

Rachel Staum received her B.A. in East Asian Studies from Harvard College (2009). Before coming to Columbia, she worked for the JET Program as a Coordinator for International Relations in Takaoka, Japan. In 2011, she entered Columbia’s Japanese Literature Ph.D. program. She is currently researching stories about women from other worlds in Japanese literature, focusing on otogizoshi (late medieval popular fiction), as well as the reception and rewriting of these stories in different genres across time.

stepienRafal Stepien

Chinese Religion, Advisor: Chun-fang Yu

Rafal Stepien is a Doctoral Candidate in the Religion track at EALAC, and the inaugural Cihui Foundation Faculty Fellow in Chinese Buddhist Studies. He has a B.A. in Chinese from Oxford, and has studied and researched Buddhism throughout East Asia, including at Peking and Hong Kong universities and Dharma Drum Buddhist College. Rafal also has a specialization in Islam, which he has studied at Cambridge (M.Phil.), Damascus, and Esfehan universities, in addition to a long period working as a Persian interpreter in Afghanistan with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

During the current academic year, Rafal is an Exchange Scholar in the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard. He is in the final stages of completing his doctoral dissertation – Being and Believing in Buddhism and Islam – which investigates the limits of literary self-expression in Buddhist and Islamic philosophical texts, using primary sources in Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, and Persian.

stilermanAriel Stilerman

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Ariel Stilerman is a Ph.D. candidate in premodern Japanese literature. His dissertation, Lessons in Poetry: Transmission and Production of Knowledge, Cultural Memory, and Social Mobility in Premodern Japan, explores the evolution of classical Japanese poetry (waka) into a vehicle for the transmission and production of social knowledge and cultural memory across social classes over many centuries, particularly from the late Heian period (11th century) through the 17th century. His research interests include classical, medieval, and early modern Japanese literature and cultural history, and he has done work on modern Japanese literature, premodern Japanese art history, traditional Japanese drama, critical theory, and cultural criticism. Additional interests include Psychoanalysis (Ariel is a certified Psychotherapist), the Tea Ceremony (trained at Urasenke Konnichian, Kyoto), and mathematics (taught Statistics at the University of Buenos Aires). Ariel is currently working on the first direct translation of Genji monogatari into Spanish; he made public the first chapter in Tokyo (2013) and Buenos Aires (2014). While in college, Ariel sailed competitively and still dreams of one day crossing the Atlantic Ocean under sail.

sunMyra Sun

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Lydia Liu

Myra received her B.A. in English and Chinese Language from UC Berkeley (2007). Before coming to Columbia in 2009, she worked for two years in Nara, Japan as an assistant language teacher with the JET program. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in modern Chinese literature and a fellow at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her current research explores issues of intellectual and creative labor, textual authority, and literary practice in late Qing and early Republican China. Her dissertation project will focus on the influences of editing and early 20th century new media on the formation and canonization of modern Chinese literature. She is also broadly interested in Chinese theater and performance, film, and media culture from the late 19th century to the present.

johnthompsonJohn Thompson

Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

John is a doctoral student in modern Chinese history. His research focuses on the history of death and cemeteries in Tianjin and North China. John received an AB in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and an AM in Regional Studies – East Asia from Harvard University. Before coming to Columbia, John worked as a freelance writer and fact-checker for magazines, and spent summers searching for rock bands in China, tigers in Korea, and Sufi caliphs in Senegal.

Luke Thompson

Japanese Religion, Advisor: Bernard Faure

Luke received his B.A. in Japanese language and culture from Antioch College (2002) and his M.A. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol, England (2007). His primary research interests are in Japanese Buddhism in Nara during the late Heian and Kamakura periods, Buddhist historical thought, and East Asian hagiographies of the Buddha. His Ph.D. dissertation focuses on Japanese views of Śākyamuni during the twelfth to thirteenth centuries and seeks to understand these views in the context of Japanese conceptions of history, particularly those influenced by Buddhist theories of decline. His M.A. dissertation focused on the concept of saddhā in Therevāda doctrine and he maintains a strong interest in Sri Lankan and Southeast Asian Buddhism.

tseringSonam Tsering

East Asian Religion, Advisor: Gray Tuttle

Sonam Tsering received his MA from Central University for Tibetan Studies (1996) and MTS from Harvard University (2006). He has in between served as managing editor for an academic journal and worked in various translation projects. As a new doctoral student, he seeks to study the role of textual composition in the formation, institutionalization and establishment of a prominent Buddhist school of thought and philosophy in Tibet during the late 14th century.

walkerTyler Walker

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Paul Anderer

Tyler received his B.A. in Japanese Studies from Middlebury College (2008), following which he spent a year working as a translator in Hiroshima, Japan. He has since taught Japanese language in Massachusetts and in his native Mississippi. Tyler has worked on the intersection of radical politics and art that characterized the emerging agrarian and proletarian literature movements of the Taishō period. An avid hiker who loves traveling the Japanese countryside, Tyler ultimately hopes to explore new critical approaches to rural and regional literature to gain insight into the fascinating relationship between country and city in 20th century Japan.

wangWang Sixiang

Korean History, Advisor: Dorothy Ko & Jungwon Kim

Sixiang Wang studies pre-nineteenth Korean history. He is completing a dissertation, titled “Contesting Empire in Early Chosŏn Korea: Knowledge Production and the Culture of Diplomacy,” that investigates Korean relations with Ming China during the Chosŏn period (1392–1910). It looks at the Chosŏn court’s strategic use of knowledge production to contest Ming sovereign claims. The dissertation pays particular attention to the symbolic and literary construction of empire. His other interests include the the global history of empire, the history of knowledge production in early modern East Asia, and popular historical imagination in contemporary East Asia. He received his BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University (2006).

wangyijunYijun Wang

Chinese History, Advisor: Dorothy Ko

Yijun is a doctorial student in Chinese history. Her interest lies in material culture, gender, economic, and legal history of late Imperial China. Her research concerns the networks, negotiations, and exchanges of power and status that lies behind the making, circulation and consumption of objects. More broadly, she is interested in the discussion of the state-and-society and private-and-public spheres in the late Imperial China through the perspective of material culture. She received her BA in history from Tsinghua University in Beijing (2010) and her MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University (2012).

Chelsea Zi Wang

Chinese History, Advisor: Robert Hymes

Chelsea Wang is a PhD candidate in Chinese history. Her research interests include communication networks, technologies of information management, and comparative models of government. Her dissertation, “Communication, Paperwork, and Administrative Efficiency in Ming China (1369-1644)” examines the Ming government’s infrastructures of information management and the bureaucratic costs that they produced. More broadly, she is interested in incorporating comparative East Asian perspectives into the study of Chinese history. Chelsea received her BA in History from the University of British Columbia and started PhD studies at Columbia in 2009. During the academic years 2013-15, she conducted dissertation research at the University of Tokyo with support of the Japanese MEXT Scholarship. Her personal academic blog can be accessed here.

woolleyCharles Woolley

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Tomi Suzuki

Despite hailing from Upstate New York, Charles Woolley headed north to receive his B.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto (2007), after the completion of which he was briefly repatriated before being granted the opportunity to research the development, establishment and institutionalization of the ‘family restaurant’ format within popular culinary culture in Japan under the auspices of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (2007-2008). In 2008, he was admitted to Columbia’s Ph.D. program in Japanese Literature where he continues to explore his interests in the processes of trans-contextual translation and adaptation between the ‘West’ and Japan and their roles in the construction and elaboration of new linguistic and discursive idioms in the early twentieth century.

Wu, Dongming - PhD Candidate

 Dongming Wu

Chinese History, Advisor: Li Feng

Dongming Wu is a doctoral student in early Chinese history. He received his BA from Sichuan University in 2008 and an MA from Columbia University in 2015, in which year he started his PhD study. Dongming’s research is based on archeological evidence and his interests build on bronze. Analyzing bronze inscriptions, Dongming focuses on the complexity of the border regions in Western Zhou time (1045-771 BC). He studies how the Zhou state maintained its integrity by strengthening ethnic ties and sustained the allegiance of foreign polities by authorizing their political identities. Integrating archeological and textual sources, Dongming looks into the functioning of the Zhou state and tries to elucidate the nexus between central and border, ideology and governance.

wulanWu Lan

Tibetan Studies, Advisor: Gray Tuttle

Lan Wu is a doctoral candidate in Tibetan history and late imperial Chinese history in the History-East Asian program. She is currently completing her dissertation research on the role of Tibetan Buddhists in the eighteenth-century imperial expansion of Qing China (1644-1911). This project seeks to address the role of religion in historical research. Her other research interests include the history of travel and long-distance communication in the Himalayan regions and Qing China.


Chung-Wei Yang

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Shang Wei

Chung-Wei Yang is a Ph.D. student in pre-modern Chinese literature, with emphasis in fiction and drama in the late imperial period. Chung-Wei received her B.A. in both Chinese and English literature, and M.A. in Chinese Literature from National Taiwan University. Her M.A. thesis deals with the relationship between material/visual culture and historical consciousness in early Qing drama. Building on her past research in the area, Chung-Wei’s future project will highlight the interplay among different genres, from Ming-Qing fiction and drama to the films of the Republican period.

yuanyiYuan Yi

Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

Yuan is a PhD student in modern Chinese history. She is interested in looking at history from the perspective of business and economic activities, with particular emphasis on the production, circulation, and consumption of textiles. At the intersection of business, textiles, and Chinese history, she plans to research the creation of wool industry/market in early twentieth-century China and its wider social, cultural, and economic implications for Chinese society. Yuan received her BBA from Korea University (2005), MA in Clothing & Textiles from Ewha Womans University (2009), and MA in History from the University of Utah (2012).

yeyuanYe Yuan

Chinese Literature, Advisor: Wei Shang

Before joining EALAC’s PhD program in Chinese literature at 2013, Ye received her BA in Chinese literature and MA in linguistics at East China Normal University at Shanghai and MA in Chinese history here at Columbia. Her MA study at EALAC focuses on the sojourning lives of early Qing scholars, drawing for primary material on publications of seventeenth century. In her doctoral studies, she is interested in further examining how publishing related to lives and cultures of the literati in late imperial China as well as the published texts.

zhangchiChi Zhang

Japanese Literature, Advisor: Haruo Shirane

Chi is a PhD student in Japanese Literature, with interests broadly centered on the construction of China in the Japanese literary and cultural imagination, including the transformation of Chinese philosophical and religious writings in Japanese literature and the use of different genres in the depiction of Chinese images, and the ways in which different Japanese genres bonded with specific Chinese “sources” or genres, mostly from the Heian through the medieval period. She is also interested in examining the Edo period in which a number of earlier threads of Japanese cultural and discursive constructions of China were first brought together and emerged within a range of new forms of writing and texts. Chi received her B.A. in Japanese Language from Tsinghua University, Beijing before joining Columbia.


Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

Zhang Jing joined the department as a Ph.D student in Modern Chinese History in 2010. Before coming here, she studied Chinese Literature in Peking University and Chinese history in National University of Singapore.Her research interest lies in urban society, popular culture, everyday lives of Asian countries, especially those of China. She plans to study public rumors surrounding political celebrities and public affairs in urban Shanghai from late Qing to Republican era.

zouDongxin Zou

Chinese History, Advisor: Eugenia Lean

Dongxin Zou is a doctoral student in modern Chinese history, with interests in medicine and science, Cold War politics, and China’s relations with the Middle Eastern and North African countries in the post-colonial world. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Arabic Language & Culture from Beijing Foreign Studies University where upon graduation she worked as a lecturer in Arabic for three years. Prior to entering Columbia, she earned M.A. in History from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.