Ying Zhang

Associate Professor

I am a historian of medieval and early modern China (the Ming and Qing dynasties). I am particularly interested in exploring the history of Confucian institutions, the history of Chinese religion, and Chinese gender and family history.

My first monograph is Confucian Image Politics: Masculine Morality in Seventeenth-Century China (University of Washington Press, 2016). It explores the rise of a new political culture during the Ming-Qing transition and attempts to historicize the meaning and structure of Confucian moralism at a time of political change. 


Some of the themes that I have worked on include: Confucian ethics, Confucian political thought and institutions, print culture, comparative early modernity, Chinese feminism, and global feminisms. My current research is focused on examining the intersection of bureaucracy and law in the Ming from a cultural historical perspective.

I am affiliated with the following constellations in the History Department: 

Global Early Modernity
Power, Culture, and the State
History of Religion
Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Most of the graduate and undergraduate students I have advised or helped advise at OSU engage in interdisciplinary research (in particular literature, art and art history, and gender studies).

More about me:

Spring 2019    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University (UK)

2017-18           Member, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton)

Co-founder and coordinator for the Pre-modernist Workshop, an interdisciplinary intellectual community that consists of faculty and graduate students who research on and are interested in pre-modern topics or the relationship between the premodern and the modern.

2018-19, organizer for the History of the Mind Seminar.

2016-18, I co-ordinate a Humanities Institute Working Group “Confinement” at OSU. 



Areas of Expertise
  • East Asian History
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality History
  • Comparative Empires
  • Power, Culture, and the State
  • Global Early Modern History
  • History of Religion
  • Ph.D. History and Women's Studies, University of Michigan (2010)
  • M.A. Women's Studies, University of Cincinnati
  • M.A. Comparative Cultures, Osaka Prefectural University (Osaka, Japan)
  • B.A. English Literature, Remin University of China (Beijing, China)

Picture for Zhang.1889

363 Dulles Hall, 230 Annie & John Glenn Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210