Jingyi Zhou

First Year

Jingyi Zhou earned her Bachelor’s degree and a first Masters’ degree in Archaeology at Wuhan University, as well as a second Masters’ degree at Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania. Trained as an archaeologist at Wuhan University, she has gained proficiency in tackling Chinese material culture, with field work experiences in Anhui, Hubei, Sichuan, etc. on settlements, urban fortifications, tombs, kiln sites and so on from the Neolithic to the early modern period. She became deeply involved with Buddhist art when working in Sichuan and conducted her thesis on the 7th-10th century CE Buddhist relief sculptures around the Chengdu region. At University of Pennsylvania, she enhanced her capability as a sinologist and received cross-disciplinary training on art history, philology, paleography, intellectual history, and ethic history.

This background, experiences, and knowledge stimulate her interest in the ethnic groups from central and eastern Eurasia in Chinese history. Contextualizing Chinese historiography of conquest dynasties, the formation of nation-states in the Sixteen States period and multi-cultural empires from the Northern Wei, she hopes to decipher the driving force of Xianbei’s transformation from a steppe empire to a “Sinicized dynasty.” She is inclined to look at their settlement and cities, ritual constructions, tombs, Buddhist monuments and artifacts, delving into urban planning, funerary practice, hybrid and widespread artistic motifs of the Xianbei and their relationship with the Xiongnu, Tungus, and Sogdians. She wishes to explore the population dynamics, religious diversity, globalization, and cultural complexity of Early and Medieval China (1st-10th century CE) employing studies mostly on archaeology, art history, history, and also address scientific methodologies.