Professor of History, Barnard College
History of women, gender, and material cultures in early modern China
Professor Ko has worked to establish the parameters of women’s and cultural history. In her first monograph, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China (Stanford University Press, 1994), sheretrieved the social and emotional livesof women from the poetry they wrote. Inher book Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet (University of CaliforniaPress, 2001), she used material culture—embroidered slippers—to reconstructwomen’s lives. A monograph, Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding (University of California Press, 2005), wasawarded the Joan Kelly Memorial Prizeof the American Historical Association forthe best book in women’s history and/orfeminist theory in that year. Her coedited book with her colleagues Lydia Liu and Rebecca Karl, The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory, will be published in 2013.
Professor Ko won a Guggenheim Fellowship (2000–2002) and an appointment at the Institute for Advanced Study (2000–2001) for her current research on textiles, fashion, and women’s work. More recently, she was awarded an ACLS fellowship (2012–2013) for her current project on female artisans in China. She served as guest curator for an exhibition, “Shoes in the Lives of Women in Late Imperial China,” at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. At Barnard and Columbia, Professor Ko teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on cultural history, gender, and writing in China and Korea; visual and material cultures in China; and the history of the body in East Asia.
Professor Ko received her BA in 1978 and her PhD in 1989 from Stanford University. She joined the Barnard faculty in 2001.