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Kutcher book explores role of eunuchs in Chinese court

University of California Press

Norman Kutcher

Norman Kutcher

In his new book, Norman Kutcher, professor of history and Laura J. and L Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, offers the first in-depth exploration of the lives and works of Chinese eunuchs, men who served the Chinese emperor, sometimes in menial roles, sometimes as major advisors and political figures. The book, Eunuch and Emperor in the Great Age of Qing Rule, published by University of California Press, draws on Kutcher’s many years of research and study of China’s last dynasty, the Qing (1644–1911). In the book, Kutcher offers an intimate portrait of Qing court life, one based not on published sources that described how the court was supposed to function, but on archival documents preserved in Chinese archives that show how the system truly operated.

Kutcher is a leading scholar of late imperial and modern China, with a keen interest in the Qing dynasty. Kutcher’s research has been published in such venues as the Journal of Asian Studies, the American Historical Review, and the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. He has received major grants from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Humanities Center. Kutcher is also author of Mourning in Late Imperial China: Filial Piety and the State (Cambridge University Press, 1999).