Mellon Foundation Grant

Benjamin Elman was selected by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its Distinguished Achievement Award in 2010. The awards have been bestowed annually on three to four scholars nationwide since 2001, and are intended to enable notable scholars in the humanities to work under especially favorable conditions and to underscore the decisive contributions the humanities make to the nation's intellectual life. Elman is the sixth long-term Princeton faculty member, and the first historian of China, to be accorded the honor.

Ben Elman


Principal Investigator: Benjamin Elman, Gordon Wu '58 Professor of Chinese Studies and Professor of East Asian Studies and History



Visiting Scholars

Xingbo Luo, Associate professor at the Institute for the History of Natural Science (IHNS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and an associate professor at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS)  
Ma Weihua 马伟华, School of History, Zhengzhou University (March 2015 - Feburary 2016)  

Post Doctoral Fellows

Current Fellow
Tineke D’Haeseleer, Ph.D.
The Mellon-Cotsen Fellow in East Asian Studies. (Society of Fellows, September 2013 - present)

Former Fellow
Mathias Vigouroux. Ph.D.
The EAS-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (September 2011 - September 2013)

Former Visiting Fellow
Jiang Lijing, Ph.D.
The EAS-Mellon Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow (co-sponsored by Angela Creager of the History of Science program at Princeton University, September 2013 -  November 2014)

Doctoral Fellow

Xuan Xiang  項旋,  Renmin University of China, 2015  

Zheng Yunyan 鄭云艳, Renmin University of China (Renmin Daxue), 2015  

Supported Publications

Antiquarianism, Language, and Medical Philology (Brill, 2015)
World Philology (Harvard University Press, 2015)
Rethinking East Asian Languages, Vernaculars, and Literacies, 1000-1919 (Brill, 2014)
Science and Technology in Modern China, 1880s-1940s (Brill, 2014)
Civil Examinations and Meritocracy in Late Imperial China (Harvard University Press, 2013)
Forthcoming: Contested World Histories: Global History in the Eyes of China, Japan, and the U.S. (from the third joint international conference of the Fudan-Tokyo-Princeton Universities Project)

The Fudan-Tokyo-Princeton Project

“Contested World Histories: Global History in the Eyes of China, Japan and the U.S.” (December 16 - 19, 2013).

“The Place of East Asia in World History.” (December 17 - 20, 2012).

“Local history in the context of world history: Case Studies in Cultural History.” (December 19 - 20).


Annual F-T-P Summer Workshop for Graduate Students in Shanghai, China

The National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Fudan University (IAHS), the East Asian Studies Department and Program of Princeton University, and the Institute for the Advanced Study of Asia of University of Tokyo invite applications from advanced graduate students for an intensive one week summer program in Shanghai, China. Through this program we invite scholars from various fields to open six seminars on specific topics. We will also arrange associated research activities to complement the lectures.

The National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Fudan University (IAHS 文史研究院) invites applications from advanced North American and European graduate students for an intensive summer program in studies of the Asian Arts, Religion, and History (June 24 – July 3, 2015) in Shanghai, China. This is the fifth year of the Summer Seminars. For this program, Fudan has invited scholars from various fields to open 6 seminars on specific topics, which will include research visits to local libraries and relevant archives. See the attached file in English with further information and the application forms.

This program will accept 10-15 North American and European graduate students specializing in East Asian Studies at research universities. Fifteen Chinese graduate students from Fudan University and other universities in Shanghai will also participate in the program as well as some Japanese graduate students from Tokyo University.

Graduate students who have passed their required Ph.D. qualifying “general” examinations and have started writing their dissertations are encouraged to apply. Room and board will be provided by the IAHS. Students are expected to cover their own air-tickets and ground transportation for their stays in China; hopefully their home institutions will help defray the travel costs. Any necessary visa documentation will be provided by the Institute, but visa processing fees will not be covered.

North American and European applicants should send their application forms to [email protected].

Workshops Co-Sponsored by PIIRS (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies)

“Comparative Project on China and India”

(September 5, 2012; June 8 - 9, 2013; & September 6 - 8, 2014)

Organizers: Benjamin Elman and Sheldon Pollock

Ecology and Economy (Ken Pomeranz and Sumit Guha)
Gender (Beverly Bossler and Ruby Lal)
Religion (Zvi Ben-dor and Richard Davis)
Rulership, courts, and the State (Pamela Crossley and Richard Eaton)
Historiography from Within (Cynthia Brokaw and Allison Busch)
Languages and Literature (Stephen Owen and Sheldon Pollock)
Classical Learning / Historiography of Science (Ben Elman and Christopher Minkowski)
Art (Eugene Wang and Molly Aitken)
Epilogue: The Presence, and Difference of the Past in China and India (Haun Saussy and Dipesh Chakrabarty)

“Early Modern Japanese Medicine”
(November 2-3, 2012)

Keiko Ono: “Issues of Hentai Kanbun — style and diction (変体漢文語法の諸相)”
Hiroshi Kosoto: “Distinguishing between Old Editions of Japanese and Chinese Books (中国・日本の 古版本の見方)”
Senjuro Machi: “Early Modern Japanese Medicine Decoded from Manuscripts (写本から読み解く日 本近世の医学・医療)”
Hiroshi Kosoto: “The Development of Japanese Kampo Medicine” (in Japanese)
Susan Burns: “A Village Doctor and the Reproductive Revolution in Late Tokugawa Japan”
Mathias Vigouroux: “Shaping New Identities: the Development of Early Modern Japanese Medicine as a Profession”
Shigehisa Kuriyama: “Edo Medicine, and the Logic of Popularization”
Andrew Goble: “Reconstructing Knowledge Networks on the Cusp of the Edo Era: Focusing on the Kinai”
Evan Young: “Visiting the Sick and Exchanging Information in Late Tokugawa Japan”
Daniel Trambaiolo: “Secrecy and Publicity of Medical Knowledge in Late Tokugawa Japan”
Senjuro Machi: “The Igakkan: The Edo Medical Academy and Its Education” (in Japanese)
Federico Marcon: “Some Remarks on the Classification of Natural Species in Tokugawa Pharmacopoeia”
Sare Arcanli: “Realigning Hierarchies in the Qing Imperial Medical World: Examining the Yuyaofang Imperial Pharmacy”
Kim Ho: “The Tongshinsa (diplomatic emissaries) and Exchanges of Medical Knowledge between Choson Korea and Edo Japan in the Eighteenth Century”

Supported Research, Editing, Teaching and Translation

Classical Historiography for Chinese History
Joint Fudan-Princeton-Tokyo Universities International Conference volumes:

  1. “The Place of East Asia in World History” (December 17 - 20, 2012)
  2. “Contested World Histories: Global History in the Eyes of China, Japan and the U.S.” (December 16 - 19, 2013)

The Cambridge History of China

Chinese Rare Books Project at Princeton

Professor Ben Elman and Professor Chen Hsi-yuan visit former Chinese-Japanese gold mining site in northern Taiwan, now turned into a valuable mining and cultural museum