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Norman Kutcher

Norman Kutcher

Contact Information:


411B Maxwell Hall

Norman Kutcher

Professor, History Department

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence

Advisory Board Member and Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program

Highest degree earned

J.D., Boston College, 1985; Ph.D., Yale University, 1991


Norman Kutcher is a historian of late imperial and modern China, and is particularly interested in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). He is the author of "Mourning in Late Imperial China: Filial Piety and the State" (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and of "Eunuch and Emperor in the Great Age of Qing Rule" (University of California Press, 2018)Both books deal with an abiding interest: the cultural forces that shape rulership in China. 

His articles have appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies, The Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, and The American Historical Review, among other venues. His work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation and by the American Council of Learned Societies.

He has been a senior research scholar at the Qing History Institute of Renmin University, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study and a fellow of the National Humanities Center.  He welcomes potential graduate students working in Qing and Republican Chinese history.

Areas of Expertise

Cultural, social, and political history of late imperial China

Research Interests

Late Imperial China; The Imperial Household in the Qing Dynasty; Eunuchs; The Yuanming Yuan, or Old Summer Palace

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award, Syracuse University, 2018
NEH Associate Professor of History, Colgate University, spring 2017
Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, N.C., 2015-2016
Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton N.J., 2010-2011.
Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, N.C., 2010-2011 (declined)
Fellowship, Institute for Historical Studies, The University of Texas, Austin 2010-2011 (declined)
ACLS/CSCC Research Fellowship,1999-2000, (National Program for Advanced Study and Research in China)
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend,1993
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, 1985-1989
Committee on Scholarly Communications with China ,1988-1989
Yale University Fellowship, 1985-1987
Yale University Dissertation  Completion Fellowship,1990-1991



Eunuch and Emperor in the Great Age of Qing Rule (Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press, 2018).

Mourning in Late Imperial China:  Filial Piety and the State (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 1999, Paperback edition, 2006).   

Selected Articles

"The Skein of Chinese Emotions History," in Peter N. Stearns and Susan Matt, eds., Doing Emotions History (University of Illinois Press, 2014).

“Unspoken Collusions: The Empowerment of Yuanming Yuan Eunuchs in the Qianlong Period,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 70:2 (December 2010), 449-95.

"The Fifth Relationship:  Dangerous Friendships in the Confucian Context" American Historical Review 105:5 (December 2000), 1615-29.    

"The Death of the Xiaoxian Empress: Bureaucratic Betrayals and the Crises of Eighteenth-Century Chinese Rule" Journal of Asian Studies 56:3 (August 1997), 708-25.

Honors and Accolades

2022-23 Recipient of the Yang Ni and Xiaoqing Li Endowment Fund for U.S.-China/Asia Relations