Jessey Choo (Ph.D., Princeton) is Associate Professor of Chinese History and Religion at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. As a historian specializing in China’s medieval period (200–1000 CE), her research centers on cultural and religious practices related to childbearing, death, and memory, as well as women’s acquisition and exercise of personal agency in everyday life. Her first book, Inscribing Death: Burials, Representations, and Remembrance in Tang China, 618–907 CE (University of Hawaii Press, 2022), explores how people in late medieval China used burial and entombed epitaph inscriptions (or muzhiming) to fashion and preserve the identities and memories of the dead, themselves, and their families. She is currently working on two book-length monographs. The first, “From Damnation to Transcendence: Childbearing and Women’s Salvation in Chinese Religions, 600–1300,” traces the rise and popularization of a Buddho-Daoist soteriology centered on childbearing. The second, with Alexei Ditter, “Immortalized in Stone: Memory Making in Late Medieval China,” theorizes memory practices in late medieval China by examining how, through constructing, circulating, and consuming muzhiming, people generated and manipulated memory. She is also a co-editor of Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2014), and Tales from Tang Dynasty China: Selections from the Taiping Guangji (Hackett Publishing Co., 2017). Her research has been supported by multiple grants and fellowships, most recently the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange Scholar Grant (2018–19) and a fellowship from the Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Cologne in Germany (2019).
- Ph.D. Princeton University, 2009
- M.A. Princeton University, 2003
- M.A. University of Toronto, 1998
- B.A. University of Rochester, 1997
Areas of Specialization
- Cultural Memory
- Entombed Epigraphy
- Everyday life
- Women and Gender
- Choo, Jessey. Inscribing Death: Burials, Representations, and Remembrance in Tang China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press., 2022.
- Choo, Jessey and Alexei K. Ditter. “In Plain Sight: A New Approach to Reading Muzhiming, Using Shangguan Wan’er 上官婉兒 (664–710) as a Case Study.” T’oung Pao 107 (2021): 319–376.
- Choo, Jessey. “Shall We Profane the Service of the Dead?—Burial Divination and Remembrance in Late Medieval Muzhiming.” Tang Studies 33 (2015): 1–37.
- Choo, Jessey. “That 'Fatty Lump': Discourses on the Fetus, Fetal Development, and Filial Piety in Early Imperial China.” Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in Early and Imperial China 14.2 (2012): 177–221.
Recent Courses :
- Major Traditions in Chinese Thought (01:165:341)
- Early “China" in the World (01:165:471 / 16:217:529)
- Women in Pre-Modern China (01:165:476 / 16:217:515)
- Women and Gender in East Asian Religiosity (01:098:477 / 16:217:517 / 16:840:583)
- Pro-Seminar I: Approaches to East Asian Studies (16:217:501)
- Pro-Seminar II: Research Methodology (16:217:502)
Selected Awards and Distinctions
- Research Grant, Chian Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, 2018-2019
- Fellowship, Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies Cologne (The Kate Hamburger International Centres in the Humanities, Germany 2019)