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Norman Kutcher

Associate Professor and Chair, History


Contact Information

135 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-1264

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


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


Cultural, social, and intellectual history of late imperial China



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

Emperor and Eunuch in the Great Age of Qing Rule (Forthcoming, University of California Press, Spring 2018).  

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.

"To Speak the Unspeakable:  Aids, Culture and the Rule of Law in China" Syracuse J. of Int'l Law 30:2. (Summer 2003), 272-86.

"China's Palace of Memory," The Wilson Quarterly 27:1 (Winter 2003), 30-39.

"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.

Selected Reviews

Michael G. Chang, A Court on Horseback: Imperial Touring and the Construction of Qing Rule, 1680–1785 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2007), reviewed in The Journal of Asian Studies, 67:3 (August 2008).

Miranda Brown, The Politics of Mourning in Early China (State University of New York Press, 2007), reviewed in The American Historical Review, 113:4 (October 2008).

Review-Essay of Michael Szonyi, Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China (Stanford, 2002), reviewed in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 64:2 (December 2004), 491-502.

Joseph P. McDermott, ed., State and Court Ritual in China (Cambridge, 1999), reviewed in American Historical Review 106:3 (June 2001).

Evelyn S. Rawski, The Last Emperors:  A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions (California, 1999)  reviewed in Journal of International History.

Anchee Min, Red Azalea.   Reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 1994, Section H., p. 1. (solicited).

Wang Meng, The Stubborn Porridge.  Reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 8, 1994, Section N, p. 2. (solicited)

Mandate of Heaven, by Orville Schell and China Wakes, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  Reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 13, 1994, Section M, p. 3. (solicited).

Peter Conn, Pearl Buck:  A Cultural Biography.  Reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 17, 1997, Section Q., p. 1, 10. (solicited).  


Recent Ph.D. Students

  • Lei Duan (Ph.D. 2017), Post-doctoral Fellow, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, The University of Michigan. 
  • Lei Zhang (Ph.D. 2017), Assistant Professor of History, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
  • Lex Jing Lu (Ph.D. 2016), Assistant Professor of History, Clark University, Worcester MA.

Teaching Appointments


NEH Associate Professor of History, Colgate University, spring 2017
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, 2011 
Associate Professor of History, Syracuse University 1998-present.
Assistant Professor of History, Syracuse University 1991-1998.
Research Scholar, Qing History Institute, Renmin University of China 1999-2000.  


Research Interests

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

Research Grants and Awards

Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC, 2015-2016
Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, 2010-2011.
Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC, 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.