• Photo of Hugh Clark

Hugh Clark

Hugh Clark earned a Ph.D. in middle period Chinese social history at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. He has been a member of the Ursinus faculty since shortly thereafter.

Prof. Clark has a passionate interest in Asian history and culture. He has been to both China and Japan numerous times, most recently as leader of the initial Ursinus-in-Beijing semester in the fall, 2011. His scholarship has often taken him to the region of southern Fujian province on China’s southeast coast where he has done field work in both social and cultural history. This has involved collecting rare documents, visiting village shrines and festivals, and exploring remote sites of historical interest.

Prof. Clark loves to introduce his students to the topics that fascinate him, both through engagement with current scholarship and through anecdotes concerning his own work. As his students all come to know, “the answer is China”!




  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania (1970)
  • M.A., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (1976 & 1981)


Chinese & Japanese History

East Asian Thought & Religion

Ancient Travelers in Eurasia

Rice: A History


Professional Experience

Professor of History & East Asian Studies, Ursinus College, 1982 - present

Visiting Associate Professor of History, University of California at Berkeley, Fall, 1993.

Editor, ?Journal of Song Yuan Studies?, 2003 - 2006

Research Interests

Prof. Clark specializes in the social and cultural history of middle-period China (ca.800 - 1300), with a specific focus on China’s southeast coast.

Recent Work

  • The Sinitic Encounter with the Southeast through the 1st Millennium (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015)
  • “Material Remains and Open Hypotheses: Pondering Links Between the Pre-Sinitic Cultures of the Central Coastal Region of Fujian and Taiwan From Pre-History through the 1st Millennium CE,” prepared for conference on Taiwan Maritime Landscapes from Neolithic to Early Modern Times, Paris, France (November , 2015)
  • “What Makes a Chinese God? or What Makes a God Chinese?”  in Imperial China and its Southern Neighbors, edited by Victor Mair and Liam Kelley (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2015).
  • “The Coastal Cultures of Ancient Fujian and the Roots of Regional Cults,” presented to the conference “Beyond the Silk Road: Asian Maritime History and Culture,” Shanghai, China (August, 2015).
  • “Going beyond: Encounters between indigenous and immigrant populations in southern Fujian in the latter half of the 1st Millennium CE,” presented to the annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies, March, 2014
  • Portrait of a Community: Society, Culture, and the Structures of Kinship in the Mulan River Valley from the late Tang through the Song (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2007)

Years of Service to Ursinus

1982 - 2017