Status: PhD Student

Adviser: Michelle T. King

Graduate Email: dtsay@live.unc.edu


Education

B.A. in History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007
M.A. in History, California State University, Los Angeles, 2014
M.A. in Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, 2016

Research Interests

My research interests include the late imperial Chinese subaltern, theories of the body, socialized disability, the conceptual tensions between “disablement” and “functional alterity,” philanthropy, and the social histories of the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1636 – 1912) dynasties. This period of Chinese history is particularly rich in its transitional ethos, as traditional value systems stood ever more in competition with new ways of thinking, seeing, doing, and believing. During the mid to late Ming, China’s dynamic commercial relationships were instrumental in cementing it as a key player in international trade. Although this economic flourishing continued into the Qing, encroaching Western powers forced China to search for its modern identity. It is in context of such paradigmatic shifts that I hope to historicize period understandings of disablement.

But, even more so than in the West, marginalized voices of the disabled in China are seldom heard in both literati and popular texts of the Ming-Qing period. A truly rich academic treatment of the topic is, therefore, a fearsomely challenging undertaking. My current project on eighteenth and nineteenth century relief institutions [養濟院, yangji yuan] intends to locate a viable entry point for an empirical study of Qing disabled experiences.