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Norman Kutcher

Norman Kutcher

(Pronouns: He, Him)

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


  • 2024 Spring
    • HST 496 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 804 First-Year Graduate Research Seminar
    • HST 321 Modern China
  • 2023 Fall
    • HST 495 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 401 Senior Seminar - China in Western Minds
    • HST 320 Traditional China
  • 2023 Spring
    • HST 496 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 321 Modern China
    • HST 401 Senior Seminar - China in Western Minds
  • 2022 Fall
    • HST 495 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 700 Selected Topics - Rdngs/Rsrch in Chinese History
    • HST 320 Traditional China
  • 2022 Summer
    • HST 970 Experience Credit
  • 2022 Spring
    • HST 970 Experience Credit

Highest degree earned

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

"Visiting Fellowship", Sponsored by Colgate University.

"Eunuchs in the Age of China's Last Great Emperors", Sponsored by National Humanities Center.

Selected Publications

  • Books
  • Journal Articles
    • Kutcher, N. A., "Qing Dynasty Perceptions of Zheng He and His Voyages." China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies, 2020.
    • Kutcher, N. A., "The Skein of Chinese Emotions History." In Doing Emotions History. Stearns, P. N., Matt, S. (eds.) University of Illinois Press, 2013.
    • Kutcher, N. A., "Unspoken Collusions: The Empowerment of Yuanming Yuan Eunuchs in the Qianlong Period." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 2010.
    • Kutcher, N. A., "To Speak the Unspeakable: Aids, Culture and the Rule of Law in China." Syracuse J. of Int'l Law, 2003.
    • Kutcher, N. A., "China's Palace of Memory." The Wilson Quarterly, 2003.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Gui Youguang, Poetry and Biography. , 2001.
    • Kutcher, N. A., This Cross of Separation: Ina Johnson in China and America, in Zhongguo lishi wenhua yanjiu 中國歷史文化研究 [Researches into Chinese Cultural History. Suganuma, U. (ed.) Xinhua caiyin Publishers, 2001.
  • Book Reviews
    • Kutcher, N. A., Huang, M. W., "Intimate Memory: Gender and Mourning in Late Imperial China." In Monumenta Serica. State University of New York Press, 2020.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Dale, M. S., "Inside the World of the Eunuch: A Social History of The Emperor's Servants in Qing China." In China Quarterly. Hong Kong University Press, 2018, 2019.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Brown, M., "The Politics of Mourning in Early China." The American Historical Review, 2008.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Chang, M. G., "A Court on Horseback: Imperial Touring and the Construction of Qing Rule, 1680-1785." The Journal of Asian Studies, 2008.
    • Kutcher, N. A., "State and Court Ritual in China." McDermott, J. P. (ed.) American Historical Review, 2001.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Rawski, E., "The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions." The International History Review, 2000.
    • Kutcher, N. A., Conn, P., "Pearl Buck, A Cultural Biography." The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1997.
  • Review-Essay
    • Kutcher, N. A., Szonyi, M., "Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China." In Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. , 2004.

Presentations and Events

Colgate University, "Emperor and Eunuch in the Great Age of Qing Rule" (April 20, 2017)

National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, "Emperor and Eunuch in Late Imperial China: A Complex Relationship" (March 3, 2016)

Zheng He’s Maritime Voyages, University of Victoria, "Qing Dynasty Perceptions of Zheng He and His Voyages" (August 24, 2014)

China Humanities Seminar, Harvard University , "Eunuchs and Rulership in the Early Qing Reigns" (April 16, 2012)

Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies , "Qing Eunuchs in Mourning" (March 16, 2012)

Honors and Accolades

Luce Foundation Senior Fellow, National Humanities Center (August 25, 2015 - June 10, 2016)

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence, Syracuse University (2011 - 2014)

Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ (August 15, 2010 - June 15, 2011)

Fellowship, Institute for Historical Studies, University of Texas, Austin (August 15, 2010 - May 15, 2011)

Fellowship (declined so as to attend IAS), National Humanities Center (August 15, 2010 - May 15, 2011)

East Asia Program
346 Eggers Hall