Elizabeth Smithrosser(沈若白)


Pembroke College


DPhil Oriental Studies



Educational Background:

2015 - BA in Chinese (Modern and Classical), SOAS, University of London. First Class.

2016 - MSt in Chinese Studies, University of Oxford. Oxford-Ko Graduate Scholar. Distinction. 

2016 onwards - DPhil in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Pembroke-Clarendon Scholar. Under the continued supervision of Prof. Barend J. ter Haar.

Research Interests:

My research has always revolved around the uses of the past in subsequent periods of Chinese history, specifically the idea and memory of earlier historical figures in the Song, Yuan and Ming periods (960-1644). My current DPhil project aims to employ premodern Chinese jokebooks as an alternative source to question and challenge prevalent historical conclusions drawn from official sources like histories and others which aim to conform to an orthodoxy. The thesis also hopes to fit within the Humour Studies field as a whole by testing out methodologies and strategies which utilise the specific structures of a joke as a text to the advantage of historical research.

Ongoing Translation Projects:

- An complete translation of the Song jokebook Aizi zashuo 艾子雜說 ('Miscellaneous Stories of Master Ai') and its two Ming sequels. Nearing completion.

- An annotated translation of the Song text Beishan jiujing 北山酒經 ('The North Mountain Classic of Wine'). Joint project with Xuyang Gao. Estimated completion May 2020.

Other Experience:

From 2016-17, I served as President of Oxford Chinese Studies Society. More recently, I helped research the twenty-part BBC Radio 4 series "Chinese Characters", written and presented by Prof. Rana Mitter. The series introduces aspects of Chinese history and culture through twenty historical figures.

I was co-organiser for the inaugural Oxford China Humanities Graduate Conference (Extra)ordinary China in 2017. I also founded and convened two eight-part seminar series: "From Field and Archive: A Seminar Series on Doing Chinese Studies outside the Library" in 2017 and "OCSS Fieldwork Seminar: Anecdotes and Experiences from Field and Archive" in 2018, which invited graduate speakers to share their experience conducting China-related research in a wide range of areas, from archeological digs and Chinese "cancer villages" to Kenyan archives, philosophy education outreach projects and the diplomatic stage.

Elizabeth Smith Rosser