Elizabeth Smithrosser

Courses Taught:

Early Historiography (BA fourth-year)

Prescribed Readings in Classical Chinese (BA third-year)

Unseen Classical Chinese (BA fourth-year/MPhil)



Dr. Elizabeth Smithrosser (沈若白) is a translator and intellectual historian of pre-modern China with research interests in publishing, humour, play, deafness, controversial pasts, and material culture. Trained at SOAS and Oxford, she taught at Leiden and KU Leuven before returning to Oxford in January 2024 as Departmental Lecturer in Chinese. Beyond research and teaching, she has provided academic support for the 2018 twenty-part BBC radio series “Chinese Characters”, written a column on Tang-Song China for Medievalists.net between 2020 and 2022, and serves as multi-lingual copy-editor for the series Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism. She is currently preparing a monograph entitled Caustic of Wit: Publishing Humour in Ming China.



2021       DPhil in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford (Supervisor: Barend J. ter Haar; Clarendon Fund in partnership with Pembroke College)

2016       MSt in Chinese Studies, University of Oxford (Oxford-Ko Graduate Scholarship)

2015       BA Chinese (Modern & Classical), SOAS, University of London

Recent Publications:

2024       Translation of Ma Ya-chen’s Images of War: The Cultural Construction of Qing Martial Prowess (NUS Press)

2023       The Misadventures of Master Mugwort: A Joke Book Trilogy from Imperial China (Hsu-Tang Library of Classical Chinese Literature, OUP)

2023       “Review of Humour in Asian Cultures: Tradition and Context”. For the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

2023       “Review of Berliner Schlachtenkupfer / Berlin Battle Engravings: 34 Druckplatten der Kaiser von China / 34 Copperplates for the Emperors of China”. For International Institute of Asian Studies: The Review.

2022       “Un-learning the Stratagems: Qing Pedagogical Efforts against Poisonous Warring States Legacies”, Sulla Via del Catai 25.