EALC Faculty

Michael Szonyi, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Chinese social history.












Michael Szonyi received his BA from the University of Toronto and his D.Phil from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.  He has also studied at National Taiwan University and Xiamen University.  Prior to coming to Harvard in 2005, Prof. Szonyi taught at McGill University and University of Toronto.  A scholar of Chinese social history, his main research interests are the local history of southeast China, especially in the Ming dynasty; the history of Chinese popular religion, and Overseas Chinese history.  He is currently working on a book on the history of Jinmen (Quemoy) during the Cold War, and a study of military garrison towns in the Ming.

Current Courses

Prof. Szonyi is currently on leave.  In 2007-2008, his courses will likely be

Freshman Seminar- Island on the Frontlines

Culture and Society in Late Imperial China

Cognition and Culture in Chinese Local History

Chinese Popular Religion: Historiography

Recent Publications

Historical Materials on the Cult of the Five Emperors in Fujian (South China Research Press, 2006)






“The cemetery of Huang Xiulang: Transnationalism and the overseas Chinese in the early twentieth century,” in Eric Fong and Chiu Luk eds., Chinese Ethnic Business, New York: Routledge (2007), 132-146.


“Mothers, Sons, and Lovers: Fidelity and Frugality in the Overseas Chinese Divided Family before 1949,” Journal of Chinese Overseas 1.1 (2005), 43-64.


“The Virgin and the Chinese State: The Cult of Wang Yulan and the Politics of Local Identity on Jinmen (Quemoy),” Journal of Ritual Studies 19.2 (2005), 87-98. 



Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China (Stanford, 2002)