Welcome to the home page of the Society for Ming Studies. The Society is a scholarly organization that promotes the study of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). It publishes a journal and a book series, as well as sponsoring panels on Ming topics at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. This site includes both information about the Society and its activities and material of wider interest to scholars of the Ming.

This page is hosted by the Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia, with support from the Department of Asian Studies. The Society is an independent organization not affiliated with or sponsored by UBC.

Latest News

Society for Ming Studies Annual Meeting and panel: March 22, 2019

Friday, March 22
7:30-9:30 pm
Governor’s Square 11
Sheraton Downtown Hotel
Denver, CO

Thanks to a grant from the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation, in addition to our usual business, we will also hear pechakucha-style (read: six minutes per person) research presentations from nine Ming scholars. The presenters will highlight their primary argument, key sources used, and explore the ways in which their research connects to the Ming. It should be an interesting evening! Afterwards, we will adjourn for drinks and continued conversation.
Here is a list of the nine presenters and their presentation titles:

1) Monica Klasing Chen, a PhD Candidate at Leiden University, will present “Profitable Memory: Publishing Memory Aids for Calligraphy and Painting during the Ming Dynasty.”

2) Shiau-Yun Chen, a PhD Candidate at Cornell University, will present “Mothers of Loving-Kindness: Authorizing and Maximizing Mothers’ Legitimate Violence in the Disciplining of Children in Ming Families.”

3) Ilsoo David Cho, a fellow at Harvard University’s Korea Institute, will present “The Ming-Choson Relations after 1592.”

4) Christopher Eirkson, a visiting assistant professor at Franklin and Marshall College, will present “The Yuan, Ming, and Cross-Eurasian Connections.”

5) Xiaobai Hu, a PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, will present “Unruly Mountain: Transformative Encounters in the Chinese-Tibetan Borderland, 1371-1701.”

6) Sunkyu Lee, a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, will present “Jiangnan’s View of Pirate Traders in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century China.”

7) Haiwei Liu, a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern California, will present “Confucian Elements in a Messianic Rebellion: Rethinking the Origins of the Dynastic Name ‘Ming.’”

8) Jing Liu, a PhD Candidate at Syracuse University, will present “Border Controls and Maritime Interactions between China and Korea, 1500-1637.”

9) Eloise Wright, a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, will present “Writing about the Locality in Dali, Yunnan, 1253-1675.”

Digital Seminar, June 7, 2018

From the Society for Ming Studies Graduate Student Representatives:

The graduate student representatives would like to invite you to our first Ming Studies digital seminar.

The seminar will take place on June 7th from 7 am to 8:30 am Pacific Standard Time (10 am EST, 3 pm BST, 10 pm CST).

We’ll be hosting an online discussion with Kenneth Hammond regarding his article, “Images of the Great Within: Cartographic Choices in Ming China,” in Ming Studies, 2018:77, 27-47. Our facilitator will be Bruce Rusk, of UBC.

This will be a free-form discussion. We ask that participants read Dr. Hammond’s article prior to the seminar and bring questions to the table. Graduate students are especially encouraged to join. Please do share this invitation with others who might be interested.

The discussion will take place online via the BlueJeans video conferencing system. To participate, please RSVP to Sarah Basham at

Professor Hammond’s article can be accessed via Taylor & Francis (click on the link below).

Ming Studies, Vol 2018, No 77

Dr. Hammond is a Professor of History at New Mexico State University. Many of you know Dr. Hammond’s monograph Pepper Mountain: The Life, Death and Posthumous Career of Yang Jisheng, 1516-1555, and his diverse publications in Chinese political and intellectual history. In “Images of the Great Within,” Dr. Hammond examines the diverse treatment of the Imperial Palace in sixteenth-century maps of Beijing, asking how cartographic choices “illustrate the differing interests and agendas” of map-makers.

Hope to see you online!


Sarah Basham (Outgoing Graduate Student Rep) and Xiaobai Hu (Incoming Graduate Student Rep)

Scaling the Ming Full Schedule

The full schedule for the Scaling the Ming conference is now available.

Paper abstracts are now available (Scaling the Ming 2018 Abstracts).

Please RSVP if you would like to attend.

The conference has been generously sponsored by the Society for Ming Studies, the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and UBC’s History Department, Department of Asian Studies, and Centre for Chinese Research.

Friday, May 18

08:00 08:30 Breakfast CK Choi Bldg, Rm 120
08:30 08:45 Welcome
08:45 10:45 Panel 1 Global Climate and Local Environment chaired by Leo Shin

  • Desmond Cheung (Portland State U.) Scaling Locusts: Environmental Statecraft in Ming China
  • Kathlene Baldanza (Penn. State U.) Miasmic Mists of the Mountains: Medicine and Environment in the Sino-Viet Borderlands
  • Timothy Brook (UBC) Environmental Drivers of Ming Epidemics
  • Wu Ting-chih (U. of Pennsylvania) Natural Disasters, Irrigation Canals, and the Production of Grain: The Case of Ningxia in the Ming Period
10:45 11:00 Break
11:00 13:00 Panel 2 The Body’s Perspective chaired by Timothy Brook

  • Chelsea Zi Wang (Claremont McKenna Coll.) Transcending Bureaucratic Scale: The Immediacy of Remoteness in Ming Triennial Audiences
  • Dagmar Schäfer (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science) The Working Hand: Scaling Bodies of Expertise in Ming Local Gazetteers
  • Volker Scheid (U. of Westminster) From Acupuncture Channels to Topographic Regions: Herbalising the Acupuncture Body in Late Ming China
  • Wu Yinghui (UCLA) Scaling and Pictorial Imagination in the Late Ming
13:00 13:45 Lunch
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
15:15 17:15 Panel 3 Large within Small: Landscape, Garden, Rock, Flower chaired by Julia Orell

  • Aurelia Campbell (Boston Coll.) Issues of Scale and Memory in Emperor Yongle’s Mount Wudang
  • Pang Huiping (Art Institute of Chicago) “Planting Fungus at the Tiaosou-an Cottage”: The Rise and Fall of the Garden Builder Chen Jiru (1558–1639)
  • Richard John Lynn (U. of Toronto) A Study of Wu Bin’s Paintings Scroll “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” (Shimian lingbi tu)
  • Kathleen Ryor (Carleton Coll.) The Hundred Flowers and Myriad Things: Flower Cultivation as Cosmos in the Mid-Late Ming
17:15 17:30 Break
17:30 19:00 Keynote Address Timothy Brook (UBC) Stealing the Buddha’s Tooth: Zheng He, Yongle, Tsongkhapa, and the Optics of Imperialism
Note: The previously scheduled keynote by Prof. Harriet Zurndorfer has been replaced by this address from Prof. Brook.

Saturday May 19

09:00 09:30 Breakfast CK Choi Bldg, Rm 120
09:30 11:30 Panel 4 New Approaches to Ming China’s Foreign Relations chaired by Nam-Lin Hur

  • Christopher Eirkson (U. of Pittsburgh) Demonolithizing the Ming Great Wall: Steppe Frontier Wall-Building as a Eurasian Phenomenon
  • Ilsoo Cho (Harvard U.) Realism over Loyalism: Korea in the Ming War Against the Manchus
  • Liu Jing (Syracuse U.) Commerce, Pirates, and Military Men: Chinese-Korean Maritime Borders in the Early Seventeenth Century
  • Lee Sunkyu (UCLA) Changes of Scales in Maps of Northern Border Territories between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century China
Panel 5 This Much We Know: Ideas and Information chaired by Bruce Rusk

  • Sarah Basham (UBC) The Individual Title as Microscope and Microcosm: Wu bei zhi and the Social Production of Statecraft Knowledge
  • Scarlett Jang (Williams Coll.) Emperors, Palace Eunuchs, and the Ming’s Imperial Art Collection
  • Monica Klasing Chen (Leiden U.) For the People, from the People: The “Painting Section” (huapu men) of Ming Daily-Use Encyclopedias
  • Nathan Vedal (Pennsylvania State U.) Scaling the Infinite: Diagrams and Information Compression in Ming China
Liu Institute, Multipurpose Room
11:30 13:00 Lunch CK Choi Bldg, Rm 120
13:00 15:00 Panel 6 People Near and Far chaired by Leo Shin

  • Eloise Wright (UC Berkeley) Re-Defining Dali: The Production of a Locality in Ming Yunnan
  • Hu Xiaobai (U. of Pennsylvania) Transformative “Qiang”: Ethnic Discourse, Frontier Crossing and Imperial Categorization on the Ming-Tibetan Borderland
  • Du Yongtao (Oklahoma State U.) A Local Identity Breakdown: Locality and the State in Huizhou’s Tax Controversy of 1577
  • Wang Yuanfei (U. of Georgia) Turning Pirates: Vernacularity, Trade, and Race in Late Ming Narratives of Japanese
Panel 7 Bounded in a Nutshell: Worlds Within Words chaired by Alison Bailey

  • Wu Ying (Peking U.) The Exquisite Pavilions and the Landscapes Beyond in Tang Xianzu’s Fu Poetry
  • Lynn Struve (Indiana U.) How Sizable is the Unreal? Scaling Ming Dreams
  • Wei Yinzong (UBC) Literary Commentary and the Layout of Late-Ming Books
Liu Institute, Multipurpose Room
15:00 15:30 Break CK Choi Bldg, Rm 120
 15:30 17:30 Panel 8 Measures of Control chaired by Alison Bailey

  • Liu Haiwei (U. of Southern California) Mandate and Manipulate: Prophecies as a Way of Constructing Political Legitimacy during the Yuan-Ming Transition
  • Chen Shiau-Yun (Cornell U.) What Constituted “Loving Mothers”? Authorizing and Controlling Mothers’ Violence in the Disciplining of Children in Ming Families
  • Sarah Schneewind (UCSD) Scaling Parenthood
  • Ha Yiming (Hong Kong U. of Science & Technology) Resurrecting the Weisuo: Ming Military Policy during the Jingtai to Chenghua Reigns
17:30 17:45 Concluding Remarks


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