Robert P. Hymes

Robert P. Hymes

Research Interest


BA: Columbia College (’72)
MA: University of Pennsylvania (’75)
PhD: University of Pennsylvania (’79)


Areas of study: Middle-Period China, Social and Cultural History, Social Networks, Family and Kinship

Robert Hymes’ work focuses on the social and cultural history of middle period and early modern China, drawing questions and sometimes data from cultural anthropology as well as history, and using the methods of the local historian to study elite culture, family and kinship, medicine, religion, gender, and (currently) the changing role and form of Chinese social networks from the tenth through the seventeenth centuries. His monographs Statesmen and Gentlemen and Way and Byway won the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the best book on pre-1900 China in their years of publication.

Classes Taught

EAAS UN3990 Approaches to East Asian Studies
HSEA GU4893 The Family in Chinese History
HSEA GR8883 Topics in the Middle Period of Chinese History

Selected Publications

“Thoughts on the Problem of Historical Comparison between Europe and China,” in Political Communication in Chinese and European History, 800–1600 (Oxford, forthcoming 2018)

Way and Byway: Taoism, Local Religion, and Models of Divinity in Sung and Modern China (University of California, 2002)

Statesmen and Gentlemen: The Elite of Fu-chou, Chiang-hsi, in Northern and Southern Sung (Cambridge, 1987)