Unstageable World: Costuming and Personhood in Early Qing Drama


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


Asian Studies Program


The project explores theatrical costuming as indices of ethnic and gender identities during the Ming-Qing transition (17th-18th centuries), when the Manchu rulers forced male Han Chinese to change into Manchu hairstyle and clothing, leaving theater as the exceptional arena for the exhibition of traditional Chinese clothing. Through examining drama texts and performances in the first century of the Qing dynasty, the book argues that theatrical costuming in early Qing China provided an actual and imaginative way to reassemble bodies, clothes, and identities disrupted by the dynastic change. In addition to a complete book manuscript, the project will also produce a group of standalone papers.