On Sabbatical July 1 2020 – July 1 2021

Because of grant administration responsibilities, I am currently not actively recruiting new graduate students. Historically, I have supervised or co-supervised several loose categories of graduate students and postdocs, with some overlap between the categories:

1) Those interested in exploring Warring States Chinese thought (often from an embodied cognition or empirically-informed standpoint).

This is one of my areas of core expertise, and students working in this area will generally apply to the Asian Studies or Philosophy Departments (where I am an Associate Member), identifying me as their primary or co-advisor. The Philosophy department is currently running a search in East Asian philosophy, which would create excellent synergies for students being co-supervised by myself and the new hire.

2) Those interested in the cognitive science of religion.

This is also one of my areas of core expertise. Unfortunately, UBC currently lacks a freestanding Religious Studies department (which was eliminated decades ago and merged into Classical and Near Eastern Studies, forming the current CNERS Department), which means that students interested in the cognitive science of religion but without sinological or classical Near Eastern expertise or interest would have to apply through the Department of Psychology, where I am an Associate Member and where there are faculty members (Ara Norenzayan, Azim Shariff, Kristen Laurin) and graduate students for whom the cognitive science of religion is a core interest. Within the next year or two we are hoping to have a new Program in Religious Studies up and running, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

3) Those interested in exploring subjects unrelated to early China, but employing methods in which I have some expertise, such as cognitive linguistics, embodied cognition, or corpus surveys.

These are primarily Ph.D. students in unrelated discipline departments (English, Environmental Studies, Education) who wish to pursue a “vertically integrated” approach to their topics of research, and for whom I serve as an outside committee member and methodological advisor.

Current grad students


Matthew Hamm received a PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University in 2018. His research focuses on early Chinese environmental thought from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century CE. In particular, he investigates how early Chinese theory can be placed in dialogue with contemporary discussions of the “Anthropocene.” At the Database of Religious History (DRH), Matt serves as the Early China editor.

M. Willis Monroe graduated from Brown in 2016 with a Ph.D. in Egyptology and Assyriology. He is a historian of the ancient Near East with a focus on the science and scholarship of first millennium Mesopotamia, and his research investigates the role of layout and structure of material text and their relation to the transmission and receptions of scientific knowledge.  Most of his primary sources are Astronomical and Astrological cuneiform texts from ancient Iraq. Dr. Monroe currently serves as Managing Editor of the Database of Religious History (DRH). 

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