Matthew Sommer

Bowman Family Professor of History and, by courtesy, of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, History (1994)
M.A., University of Washington, International Studies: China (1987)
B.A., Swarthmore College, Political Science (1983)

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 recently completed the manuscript of my third book, tentatively entitled THE STONE MAIDEN WHO BECAME A NUN, AND OTHER TRANSGENDER TALES FROM LATE IMPERIAL CHINA, which is now submitted and under review for publication.  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.


Gender and Sexuality
Legal History
Social History
Women's History

Read an interview with Matthew Sommer in 《南方周末》:

Listen to Carla Nappi's interview with Matthew Sommer about his new book:…