Associate Professor, History


I’m a reader and a writer, and I’m usually playing somewhere along the history-fiction spectrum. Here at UBC I’m Associate Professor of History and a Canada Research Chair. (You can read more about that, and about my work, at my personal website.) My main research fields are the histories of science and medicine, early modern (Ming-Qing, late imperial) China, translation (broadly conceived), and Manchu studies. I spend some of my time writing about the history of the natural world: as an undergrad I trained as a paleobiologist and spent half a year living in Kenya studying wildlife biology and environmental studies, and the love of creatures and their histories never left me. My first book, The Monkey and the Inkpot: Natural History and its Transformations in Early Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2009), used a compendium of materia medica as a playground to explore what it looked like to understand and argue about creatures and their medicinal uses in 16th century China. I still write on and around creaturely histories. Increasingly, though, I’ve been turning from animal histories to histories of translation.

I also host two podcasts (you can link to some of my interviews from here), I write short fiction (recently appearing here, here, and here), and I read All Of The Comic Books.

Come chat with me about whatever!



Winter 2017

ARTS001A Arts One - KNOWLEDGE&POWER Sections