• Jessey Choo
  • Jessey Choo
  • Associate Professor of Chinese History and Religion
  • Specialty: Chinese
  • Office: Scott Hall 341

Professor Choo is a cultural historian specializing in China’s medieval period (200–1000 CE), with particular expertise in Chinese entombed epigraphy (muzhiming 墓志銘). Her current research centers on cultural and religious practices associated with death and childbirth, as well as the acquisition and exercise of personal agency in everyday life. Specifically, she is interested in the tension between the “Confucian” emphasis on selfless devotion to one’s parents and family and the growing importance in medieval Chinese society of pursuing personal agency, identity, and salvation. Her first book, Inscribing Death: Burials, Texts, and Remembrance in Tang China, 618-907 CE (University of Hawaii Press, forthcoming) explores how people in late medieval China fashioned and preserved the preferred identities and memories of the dead, themselves, and their families through burial practices and entombed epitaphs. She is also a co-editor of Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Tales from Tang Dynasty China: Selections from the Taiping Guangji (Hackett Publishing Co., 2017).


  • Ph.D. Princeton University, 2009
  • M.A. Princeton University, 2003
  • M.A. University of Toronto, 1998
  • B.A. University of Rochester, 1997

Areas of Specialization

  • Cultural Memory
  • Entombed Epigraphy
  • Everyday life
  • Women and Gender


early_medieval_china .    talesfromtang

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Shall We Profane the Service of the Dead?—Burial Divination and Remembrance in Late Medieval Muzhiming,” TangStudies 33 (2015): 1-37.
  • “Yiwen Leiju (Collection of Literature Arranged by Subjects).” In Early Medieval Chinese Texts: a Bibliographical Guide. Edited by Alan Berkowitz, Cynthia Chennault, Albert Dien and Keith Knapp., 454-464. Berkeley & Los Angeles: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Press, 2015.    
  • “Destiny and Healing.” In Chinese Medicine and Healing: An Illustrated History. Edited by T. J. Hinrichs and Linda Barnes, 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.    
  • “That 'Fatty Lump': Discourses on the Fetus, Fetal Development, and Filial Piety in Early Imperial China.” Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in Early and Imperial China14.2 (2012): 177-221.  

Courses Taught

• Chinese Classics and Thought: Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism (01:165:220)
• Early “China” in the “World”: Cosmography, Epistemology & Encountering the Strange (01:165: 471/01:214:529 )
• Interdisciplinary Topics in East Asia: The Dawn of East Asia (01:165:322)
• Introduction to Chinese Civilization  (01:165:125)
• Pro-Seminar I: Approaches to East Asian Studies  (16:217:501)
• Pro-Seminar II: Research Methodology  (16:217:502)
• Religious Themes in East Asian Literature (01:165:322)
• Seminar on East Asian Societies (01:214:338)
• Silk Road: A History of Cultural and Material Exchanges (01:165:473 / 16:217:511)
• Women in Premodern China (01:165:477/ 16:217:515)

Selected Awards and Distinctions

  • Research Grant, Chian Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, 2018-2019
  • Fellowship, Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies Cologne (The Kate Hamburger International Centres in the Humanities, Germany 2019)