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Matthew Sommer

Bowman Family Professor of History
Professor, by courtesy, of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (1994)
M.A., University of Washington (1987)
B.A., Swarthmore College (1983)

I am a social and legal historian of China in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912).  My research focuses on gender, sexuality, and family, and the main source for my work is original legal case records from local and central archives in China.  I have published two books so far: SEX, LAW, AND SOCIETY IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA (Stanford UP, 2000) and POLYANDRY AND WIFE-SELLING IN QING DYNASTY CHINA: SURVIVAL STRATEGIES AND JUDICIAL INTERVENTIONS (U of California P, 2015).  I recently completed the manuscript of my third book, tentatively entitled THE STONE MAIDEN WHO BECAME A NUN, AND OTHER TRANSGENDER TALES FROM LATE IMPERIAL CHINA, which is now submitted and under review for publication.  Future plans include a fourth book entitled MALE SAME-SEX RELATIONS AND MASCULINITY IN QING CHINA, for which the research is already completed, and a fifth entitled CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CHINA: THE QING JUDICIARY IN ACTION.


Fields of Interest

sexuality, gender relations, and law during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), legal cases from central and local archives in China