I am a social and legal historian of China in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). My research focuses on gender, sexuality, and family, and the main source for my work is original legal case records from local and central archives in China. I have published two books so far: SEX, LAW, AND SOCIETY IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA (Stanford UP, 2000) and POLYANDRY AND WIFE-SELLING IN QING DYNASTY CHINA: SURVIVAL STRATEGIES AND JUDICIAL INTERVENTIONS (U of California P, 2015). I am currently completing my third book, tentatively entitled TRANSGENDER IN IMPERIAL CHINA: CASE STUDIES FROM THE QING ARCHIVES. Future plans include a fourth book entitled MALE SAME-SEX RELATIONS AND MASCULINITY IN QING CHINA, for which the research is already completed, and a fifth entitled CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CHINA: THE QING JUDICIARY IN ACTION.
Read an interview with Matthew Sommer in 《南方周末》:
Listen to Carla Nappi's interview with Matthew Sommer about his new book: