All Majors & Minors

Glenda Chao


Assistant Professor of History




B.A., Archaeology, Boston University

M.A, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Ph.D., East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University 



  • #ChineseAmericanProblems: Bruce Lee, Bodies, and the History of Chinese People in the United States
  • Emperors, Warlords, and “Commies:” China from 1644 to the Present
  • Environment and History in China and Japan from Earliest Times to the Present
  • The History of Stuff: East Asia and the World in 15 Objects

  • Monsters in East and Southeast Asia

  • Death in Chinese Society and Culture
  • Ancient China: Myth and Material Culture

Research Interests

  • Late Bronze Age and early imperial Chinese history
  • States and empires in the ancient world
  • Regional histories of early China
  • Postcolonial archaeology and history
  • Semiotics and materiality of early Chinese death rituals
  • Quantitative methods in archaeology
  • The politics of archaeology in modern East Asia and the world

Recent Work



“Researching the Cultural History of Xiangyang through Archaeological Remains 从考古的发现来研究湖北省襄阳地区的文化历史,” in Conference Proceedings of the International Conference on Chu Culture and the Archaeology of the Middle Yangzi River Valley (Wuhan: Hubei Renmin Press). 


Review of ‘Excavating the afterlife: the archaeology of early Chinese religion’ by Guolong Lai. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013: 297p. Choice Magazine, Volume 53, No. 2


Review of ‘On the Periphery of a Great ‘Empire’: Secondary State Formation in Shandong during the First Millennium BCE’ by Minna Wu. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, 2013: xvi, 320p.

Dissertation Reviews, February 25, 2015 (http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/10965)


Recent Conference Presentations

November 2019

“Ancient Settlements and Early States in the Xiang-Yi Plain: An Argument for Regional History as Method in the Study of Early China” 

The City and the State in the Ancient World: Perspectives from Archaeology and History 古代世界的城市與國家:考古學與歷史學的角度 Workshop to be held at Hong Kong Baptist University, November 8-9, 2019.

April 2019

“Archaeology and Regional History in Ancient Hubei: Debunking Myths of Early China”

Keynote Lecture, presented at Myth Management and Materiality in East Asia, University of Pennsylvania, East Asian Languages and Cultures Graduate Conference, 2019

September 2018

“Determining Cultural History from Archaeological Remains: Ancient Xiangyang as a Case Study”

The 2018 Biennial International Conference on Chu Culture and the Ancient Middle Yangzi River Valley at Wuhan University

May 2018

“Cultural Reproduction in Early China: Material Approaches to the Study of Ceramic Funerary Assemblages”

North America Theoretical Archaeology Group Annual Conference at the University of Florida – Gainesville