Hsiao-wen Cheng

Headshot Of Hsiao-wen Cheng

Undergraduate ChairAssociate Professor, East Asian Religions


856 Williams Hall

Office Hours
Fall 2023: sign-up at calendly.com/hscheng

PhD, History, University of Washington, Seattle
MA, Chinese Language and Literature, National Taiwan University
BA, Chinese Language and Literature, National Taiwan University

Research Interests

Gender & Sexuality
Chinese Religions and Intellectual History
Chinese Medical History
Premodern Chinese Anecdotal Writing
Song Dynasty (960-1276)

Courses Taught

EALC 0020: Introduction to Chinese Civilization

EALC 0500: East Asian Religions

EALC 1520: What Is Taoism?

EALC 3425/7425: Gender, Religion, and China

EALC 3522/7522: Medicine and Healing in China

EALC 3524/7524: Daoist Traditions

EALC 8521: Han-Song Medical Texts

EALC 8627: Song Dynasty Texts

Selected Publications


Divine, Demonic, and Disordered: Women without Men in Song Dynasty China. Seattle: University of  Washington Press, 2021.

Refereed Journal Articles/Book Chapters

"Writing a History of Sexuality for Premodern China," in by Matthew Kuefler and Merry Wiesner-Hanks eds., The Cambridge World History of Sexualities. Forthcoming.

“Deviant Viewers and Gendered Looks: Erotic Interactions with Images and Visual Culture in Song Popular Religion.” Journal of Chinese Religions 49.1 (2021): 21–47. 

"Before Sexual and Normal: Shifting Categories of Sexual Anomalies from Ancient to Yuan China." Asia Major, (2018) 3rd series, vol. 31.2: 1–39.

"Manless Women and the Sex–Desire–Procreation Link in Song Medicine." Asian Medicine: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine 13 (2018): 69–94.

“What Was Good Writing (or Reading) in Eleventh-Century China? Rethinking Guwen and Its Relation to Daoxue.” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 4:2 (November 2017)

“Authority or Alternative? Rethinking Gender and the Circulation of Medical Knowledge in Song China, 960-1279.” Gender Forum: An Internet Platform for Gender and Women’s Studies, 24 (2009). Cologne, Germany: English Department, University of Cologne.

A Theme and Its Variations: Reflections on the Theory Traveling from Dai Zhen (1724-1777) to Ling Tingkan (1757-1809) and Zhang Xuecheng (1738-1801)” (In Chinese). Studies in Chinese Literature, 19 (2004). Taipei: Department of Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University.

Reviews and Service Publications

Let the Past Fail Me,” Teaching Religion in Public: Engaging Religion. Center for Religion and the Human, Indiana University, 2021.

“Bret Hinsch, Women in Early Medieval China,” China Review International 27.1 (2020).

“Cong Ellen Zhang ed. transl., Record of the Listener: Selected Stories from Hong Mai’s Yijian Zhi,Journal of Chinese Religions 47.2 (2019): 247­–249.

"Man Xu, Crossing the Gate: Everyday Lives of Women in Song Fujian (960-1279)," Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China 20 (2018).

"Rebecca Doran, Transgressive Typologies: Constructions of Gender and Power in Early Tang China," China Review International 23.2 (2018).

"Beverly Bossler, Courtesans, Concubines, and the Cult of Female Fidelity: Gender and Social Change in China, 1000-1400," Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China 16.1 (2014).

Works in Progress

Sexual Anomalies and the Temporality of Norms in Medieval China

Global Lives of Medicines: Materials, Markets, and Healing Practices across Asia


Core Faculty, Alice Paul Center and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Affiliated Faculty, Department of Religious Studies