Lu Zhao


Zhao Lu is an Assistant Professor of Global China Studies, NYU Shanghai; Global Network Assistant Professor, NYU. He earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Chinese intellectual and cultural history. Before joining NYU Shanghai, he was a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (2017–2018) and a research fellow at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF), at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (2013–2017).

Zhao Lu has a sustained interest in education and travel in traditional China. His forthcoming book, In Pursuit of the Great Peace: Han Dynasty Classicism and the Making of Early Medieval Literati Culture focuses on the so-called Confucian classics in the Han dynasty (205 BCE–220 CE). It demonstrates how the study of the classics perpetuated a culture of travel among the literati and reshaped the intellectual landscape of 2nd century CE China.

Collaborating with IKGF and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Zhao Lu also studies the history of divination as technical knowledge. He has co-authored with Constance A. Cook Stalk Images: A Newly Discovered Alternative to the Book of Changes. From the perspective of history of science and technology, the book shows how people in the 3rd century CE took elements such as the trigrams from the Book of Changes, and used them to develop a divinatory method fundamentally different from the Book of Changes itself. He also works with Michael Lackner as a general editor of the IKGF Handbook Series of Prognostication and Predication in China with Brill Press.

In addition, Zhao Lu has studied the translation and transmission of Western knowledge in China during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The product of this interest is an annotated study of the work Xinling xue 心靈學 (Mental Philosophy) by Yan Yongjing 顏永京. It explores the transportability of knowledge by looking at how the Western tradition of “mental philosophy” was rendered in literary Chinese.

Research Interests
  • Education and Travel
  • Chinese Intellectual History
  • Scripture Culture
  • History of Divination
  • History of Science
Select Publications
  • In Pursuit of the Great Peace: Han Dynasty Classicism and the Making of Early Medieval Literati Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, forthcoming.

  • Xinling xue jiaozhu 心靈學校注 (Mental Philosophy with annotations and collations) Wan Qing Xixue zhu yi congshu 晚清西學著譯叢書 (Series on works and translations of Western knowledge in the late Qing dynasty). Guangzhou: Nanfang ribao press, 2018.

  • Stalk Divination: A Newly Discovered Alternative to the I Ching. With Constance A. Cook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

  • “Yukuo zhi lun: Xiushen zhi dao zai Xi Han de shuailuo” 迂闊之論:修身之道在西漢的衰落 (The Pedant Theory: The Decline of Self-Cultivation in the Western Han). Book chapter, Zhi qi yang xin zhi shu: Zhongguo zaoqi de xiushen fangfa治氣養心之術——中国早期的修身方法 (Cultivating the Qi and Nurturing the Heart: Cultivation Methods in Early China), eds. Paul Fischer and Lin Zhipeng 林志鵬 (Shanghai: Fudan University Press), 2017.

  • “A Sage or a Celestial Prophet? The Image of Confucius in Apocryphal Texts (chenwei 讖緯).” Book chapter in A Concise Companion to Confucius, ed. Paul R. Goldin (Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017).


  • PhD, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

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