About Lance Pursey

I am a JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Waseda University. Previously, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Birmingham, where I completed my PhD in 2020. Both my PhD and postdoctoral research are part of the AHRC Research Project ‘Understanding cities in the premodern history of Northeast China, c. 200-1200’. My PhD thesis collated epigraphic sources to identify patterns in epitaph production and correlate them to political events and broader social changes in the two centuries of Liao rule in Northeast Asia. I am currently investigating social stratification and population distributions in 10th to 12th century Northeast Asia, using a methodology that incorporates archaeological sources and fieldwork, close reading of textual sources, GIS and DH prosopography. My BA was in Chinese studies with Japanese at the University of Sheffield, and my MA was in Daoist Studies at Sichuan University in the PRC. My general research interests include: Kitan studies, Medieval Chinese religion, National Identities in Asian History, Landscape Archaeology, Northeast Asian Archaeology, Prosopography and Chinese Historiography.
Lance Pursey is a postdoctoral research fellow at Waseda University, where they work on the social history and archaeology of the Liao dynasty. They are interested in questions of identity, and the complexities of working with different kinds of sources textually and materially.

NBN Episodes hosted by Lance:

Christopher P. Atwood, "The Rise of the Mongols: Five Chinese Sources" (Hackett, 2021)

October 8, 2023

The Rise of the Mongols

Hosted by Lance Pursey

In this interview we deep dive into the historiographical issues of the texts in The Rise of the Mongols: Five Chinese Sources (Hackett, 2021), edited…

John Kieschnick, "Buddhist Historiography in China" (Columbia UP, 2022)

September 16, 2022

Buddhist Historiography in China

John Kieschnick
Hosted by Lance Pursey

Since the early days of Buddhism in China, monastics and laity alike have expressed a profound concern with the past. In voluminous historical works, …

Pamela Kyle Crossley, "Hammer and Anvil: Nomad Rulers at the Forge of the Modern World" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019)

April 6, 2022

Hammer and Anvil

Pamela Kyle Crossley
Hosted by Lance Pursey

This groundbreaking book examines the role of rulers with nomadic roots in transforming the great societies of Eurasia, especially from the thirteenth…

Friederike Assandri, "The Daode jing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying: Daoism, Buddhism, and the Laozi in the Tang Dynasty" (Oxford UP, 2021)

March 14, 2022

The Daode jing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying

Friederike Assandri
Hosted by Lance Pursey

This book presents for the first time in English a complete translation of the Expository Commentary to the Daode jing, written by the Daoist monk Che…

Olivia Milburn, "The Empress in the Pepper Chamber: Zhao Feiyan in History and Fiction" (U Washington Press, 2021)

March 1, 2022

The Empress in the Pepper Chamber

Olivia Milburn
Hosted by Lance Pursey

Zhao Feiyan (45-1 BCE), the second empress appointed by Emperor Cheng of the Han dynasty (207 BCE-220 CE), was born in slavery and trained in the perf…

Ruth Mostern, "The Yellow River: A Natural and Unnatural History" (Yale UP, 2021)

January 14, 2022

The Yellow River

Ruth Mostern
Hosted by Lance Pursey

A three-thousand-year history of the Yellow River and the legacy of interactions between humans and the natural landscape From Neolithic times to the …

Shao-yun Yang, "The Way of the Barbarians: Redrawing Ethnic Boundaries in Tang and Song China" (U Washington Press, 2019)

November 30, 2021

The Way of the Barbarians

Shao-yun Yang
Hosted by Lance Pursey

Shao-yun Yang's The Way of the Barbarians: Redrawing Ethnic Boundaries in Tang and Song China (University of Washington Press, 2019) challenges assump…