Jue Guo (郭珏)


Co-Chair, Columbia Early China Seminar

Areas of Specialization and Research Interests

  • Archaeologically Excavated Manuscripts and Objects in Early and Medieval China
  • Religion, Society, and Material Culture in Early and Medieval China
  • Funerary Rituals and Burial Practices in Early and Medieval China
  • Microhistory and Object Biographies
  • Archaeology of Religion
  • Material Culture and Thing Theories
  • Cultural History, Cultural Archaeology, and Cultural Anthropology



Becoming Chu: Palimpsests of Place, Identity, and Memory (tentative title, in preparation) 


“Reflections on ‘Mingqi’ in Chinese Funerary Culture.” Journal of Chinese History 3.2 (2019), Special Issue on Material Cultures, guest edited by Dorothy Ko (manuscript under review)

“Western Han Funerary ‘Relocation Documents’ and the Making of the Dead in Early Imperial China, Bamboo and Silk, edited by Chen Wei and Ed. Shaughnessy, vol.4, 2019, forthcoming.

"Qin Han chutu wenxian zhong de 'zhisi' yu 'shisi': yige jiyu 'xingcheng kuangjia' de shi fenxi ji fangfalun shang de sikao" 秦漢出土文獻中的“知死”與“事死”—一個基於“形成框架”的試分析及方法論上的思考 (in Chinese) ["Knowledge of Death" and "Serving the Dead" in Qin and Han Excavated Texts: A Preliminary Analysis Based on "Frame works" and a Methodological Discussion]. Jianbo 簡帛 [Bamboo and Silk Manuscripts], vol.8 (2013): 49-67.

Book Chapter

“The Spirit World.” Routledge Handbook of Early Chinese History, edited by Paul R. Goldin. New York: Routledge, 2018, 229-261.

“Divination.” The Blackwell Companion to Chinese Religions, ed., Randall L. Nadeau. Blackwell, 2012: 419-440.

 “Concepts of Death and the Afterlife Reflected in Newly Discovered Tomb Objects and Texts from Han China.”  In Amy L. Olberding and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds., Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought. SUNY, 2011: 85-115.

Online Database and Entry

“A Hybrid Talismanic Manuscript: the 340 CE ‘Pine Man’ Wooden Tablet.” “Manuscript of the Month” for the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) at Universität Hamburg, Germany, January, 2015.  


Guo Jue. 2014. Chinese Common Religion: "Divinatory religion (300 BCE-8 CE)"; "Talismanic religion (100 BCE-420 CE)". Database of Religious History, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Book Review

Review of Catherine Churchman, The People between The Rivers: The Rise and Fall of a Bronze Drum Culture, 200-750 CE, Choice, Vol. 54 No. 10 (June 2017).

Review of Wiebke Denecke, The Dynamics of Masters Literature: Early Chinese Thought from Confucius to Han Feizi, Philosophy East and West 64:1 (January 2014), 240-249.

Review of Michael Nylan and Thomas Wilson, Lives of Confucius, Philosophy East and West, 62:3 (July, 2012): 429-433.

Review of Yuri Pines, Foundations of Confucian Thought: Intellectual Life in the Chunqiu Period, 722-453 B.C.E., Pacific Affairs (Summer 2003): 292-4.

Academic Focus: 

I specialize in Early China, especially from the Warring States period to Han times (5th century B.C.E.-3rd century C.E.). My scholarly work lies at the intersection of history and archaeology, utilizing both historical sources and archaeological materials including settlement data and material culture, entombed objects, and excavated manuscripts. My broader research interests include social formation, memory and identity, divination and sacrifice, spirit world, conceptions of the dead, mortuary rituals, as well as everyday life in early societies.


At Barnard and Columbia, I teach undergraduate courses on Chinese civilization, major texts from East Asian traditions, and graduate courses on early Chinese history and excavated manuscripts.

  • BC 1339 Buried Past: Object and History
  • ASCE UN1359 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China
  • AH UN1400 Colloquium on Major Texts: East Asia
  • EAAS UG4202 The Dead in Ancient China
  • HSEA GR5013 Readings in Early Chinese Texts  
  • HSEA GR 6832 Theorizing Pre-Modern China: Topics and Approaches  
  • HSEA GR9844 Archaeology of Everyday Lifeworld in Early China
Awards & Honors: 
  • 2017.5-2017.6 Senior Visiting Scholar of Peking University Endownment for the Humanities, Departmen of History, Peking University, China
  • 2015-2016 Visiting Research Scholar Fellowship, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), New York University, New York
  • 2012-2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Cluster of Excellence: Asia and Europe, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2007-2008 ACLS/Henry Luce Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in East Asian Archaeology and Early History
  • 2007-2008 Dissertation Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison   
Presentations / Recent Lectures: 


“Shilun Jiudian M56 Chu rishu zhong ‘Xiangyuan shubang zuoyi zhiyu’ kaipian bufen de dimao tezheng yu Chuguo jiangyu dili de lishi jiyi” 試論九店M56楚日書中相垣樹邦作邑之寓開篇部分的地貌特征與楚國疆域地理的歷史記憶 [A Discussion of the Topographical Features in the Opening Section of Jiudian M56 Chu Daybook on “Inspecting the Walls, Establishing the Capital City Boundaries, and Constructing the Houses inside the City”and the Historical Memories of the Geography of the State of Chu]. Paper presented at The International Conference on the Excavated Silk and Bamboo Daybooks from Hubei湖北出土簡帛日書國際研討會, Wuhan University, November 8-12, 2018, Wuhan, China.

“Rethinking Danyang 丹陽 and Ying : Ideas about Place in the Political and Cultural Discourses in Early China in light of Chu Manuscript Texts,” paper presented at the conference Script and Sound in Old Chinese: A Comparative Perspective, University of Pennsylvania, November 3-4, 2018.

“The Dead of the Empire: Strategies of Appropriating State Authority seen in the Funeral Documents from the Western Han.” Paper presented at the Conference on Exercising Power in Early Empires: A Comparative Perspective, University of Notre Dame, October 25-26, 2018, Notre Dame, Indiana.  

“Bianxi gudai sangzang wenhua yanjiu zhong de gainian, lilun, shijian, yu zhidu cengji: yi ‘mingqi’ weili” 辨析古代喪葬文化研究中的概念、理論、實踐、與制度層次:以「明器」為例 [Differentiating Concept, Theory, Practice, and Institution in the Study of Past Funerary Culture: The Case of “Mingqi”], Keynote Presentation at the Symposium on Ancient Chinese Funerary Culture, Institute of Confucian Ritual Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China, June 13, 2017.  

“Between and Beyond Ancient and Modern Lenses: Reflections on the Concept of Mingqi 明器 in the Study of Chinese Funerary Practices,” paper presented at the conference on Prayer, Sacrifice, and Funerary Documents of Ancient China, Creel Center for Chinese Paleography, University of Chicago, May 13-14, 2017

“Figurative Representations from Warring States Chu Tombs,” invited talk at the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), New York University, New York, March 3, 2017.

曾侯乙墓中的殉人、 人形及“俑” (Death Attendants, Wooden Human Shape, and “Human Figurines” in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng), International Conference on Archaeology and Study of the State of Zeng 曾國考古發現與研究國際學術研討會, Jingshan, Hubei, China, December 16-19, 2016.

“Textualized Object and Objectified Text: Exploring the Boundaries between Writing and Object in Early and Medieval China,” invited talk for the East Asian Art and Archaeology Lecture Series, Brown University, Providence, December 1, 2016.

“The Ordinary Dead of the Empire: Individual Strategies in the Making of the Dead from Han China,” International Conference on Empires and Religions in Comparison: The Graeco-Roman World and Early China (4th century BCE -5th century CE), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, September 14-15, 2016

“Nothing is more than being Brothers”: Familial Relations as seen in the Warring States Chu Legal Cases from Baoshan Tomb 2, XXI Biennial Conference of the European Association of Chinese Studies, St. Petersburg, Russia, August 22-28, 2016



317 Milbank Hall

(212) 854-9538


Office Hours: 

Spring 2019 Mondays 1-3PM and by appointment


B.A. 2001, Beijing University, Philosophy

M.A. 2003 and Ph.D 2008, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Early China


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