Anna M. Shields

Gordon Wu '58 Professor of Chinese Studies
Office Phone
Jones Hall 206
Office Hours

On leave 2024-2025 academic year


Anna M. Shields, Professor of East Asian Studies, received her A.M. (1990) from Harvard University and her Ph.D. (1998) from Indiana University. She specializes in classical Chinese literature of the Tang, Five Dynasties, and Northern Song eras. Her particular interests include literary history and the emergence of new literary genres and styles in late medieval China; the sociology of literature; and the role of emotions in classical literature. Her first book, Crafting a Collection: The Cultural Contexts and Poetic Practice of the Collection from among the Flowers (Huajian ji), published by the Harvard Asia Center, examined the emergence of the song lyric in a path-breaking anthology. Her recent book, One Who Knows Me: Friendship and Literary Culture in Mid-Tang China, explores the literary performance of friendship in ninth-century China through a wide range of genres, including letters, prefaces, exchange poetry, and funerary texts.

Her most recent publication is the 2023 co-edited volume (with Gil Raz, Dartmouth College), Religion and Poetry in Medieval China: The Way and the Words. This volume of interdisciplinary essays examines the intersection of religion and literature in medieval China, and it grew out of a 2017 Princeton conference in honor of the scholarship of Stephen Bokenkamp. She is also co-editing with Robert Hymes (Columbia University) a two-volume set of essays from the Tang-Song Transitions Workshops and Conference held from 2017-2022 at Princeton and Columbia.

Other recent and forthcoming publications investigate emotions in medieval letters; the compilation of anthologies of Tang literature in the Northern Song; and the cultural influence of Tang dynasty anecdote collections. She served as President of the T’ang Studies Society from 2011-2018. She is a former editor of the East Asian section of the Journal of the American Oriental Society, and is also an editorial board member of the Library of Chinese Humanities Chinese-English translation series, published by De Gruyter. Before her appointment at Princeton, she taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she served both as Director of the Honors College (2007-2011) and as associate professor in the Dept. of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communications (2007-2015), and at the University of Arizona (1999-2006). She is currently working on a new book that traces the shaping of the Tang dynasty literary legacy during the Five Dynasties and Northern Song.


  • Ph.D. in Chinese, Indiana University
  • A.M. in Regional Studies: East Asia, Harvard University
  • A.B. in French and Comparative Literature with College Honors, Washington University in Saint Louis

Selected Publications