Chinese Department


Alexei K. Ditter 迪磊

Professor of Chinese and HumanitiesDitter image

Chinese Department
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Boulevard

Portland, OR 97202-8199, USA

Office: Eliot 114 
Phone: (503) 517-7348


Education and Experience

Alexei Ditter received his B.A. in Chinese Language, Literature, and Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and his M.A. and PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. He joined the Reed faculty in 2006 where, in addition to lecturing and leading conferences in the Chinese Humanities, he teaches classes in medieval and late imperial Chinese literature and in modern and classical Chinese language.

Professor Ditter's research explores interactions between social and textual practices in medieval Chinese literature, focusing in particular on questions of identity, memory, and genre. He is co-editor (with Jessey J.C. Choo and Sarah M. Allen) of Tales from Tang Dynasty China (Hackett, 2017) and has published articles and book chapters on diverse aspects of medieval Chinese literary culture. He is currently researching a monograph that studies how genres influenced the construction of the past in medieval China, and co-editing, with Jessey J.C.Choo, an anthology of late medieval entombed epitaph inscriptions. Since 2015, with the ongoing support of the Tang Research Foundation, he has co-organized the annual workshop series “New Frontiers in the Study of Medieval China.”  


On sabbatical, 2022-23

Publications and Papers


Tales from Tang Dynasty China: Selections from the Taiping guangji 太平廣記, edited by Alexei Kamran Ditter, Jessey J.C. Choo, and Sarah M. Allen. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2017.

Peer-Reviewed Articles, Chapters, and Translations (Selected, 2017–)

“In Plain Sight: A New Approach to Reading Muzhiming, Using Shangguan Wan’er 上官婉兒 (664–710) as a Case Study.” Co-authored with Jessey J.C. Choo. T’oung Pao 107.3-4 (2021): 319–75. 

“Tang and Song Expository Prose: The Practice of Persuasion.” In How to Read Chinese Prose: A Guided Anthology, edited by Zong-qi Cai and Yucai Liu, 229–48. New York: Columbia University Press, 2021.

“Selections from the Qiyan lu 啟顏錄 (A Record [of Tales] that Crack a Smile). Co-authored with Jake Buck '19. Renditions 96 (Autumn 2021): 45–52.

“Genre and the Construction of Memory: A Case Study of Quan Deyu 權德輿 (759-818).” In Memory in Medieval China: Text, Ritual, and Community, edited by Wendy Swartz and Rob Campany, 193–212. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

“Audience and Aims of Mid-Tang Muzhiming: A Preliminary Study.” Zhonggu Zhongguo yanjiu 中古中國研究1 (2017): 395-416.

Invited Talks (Selected, 2017–)

“Commemoration through Collaboration: Memory making in late medieval muzhiming 墓志銘.” Yale MacMillan Center Council on East Asian Studies Colloquium (May 4, 2021)

"Memory-making in Tang Dynasty Buddhist muzhiming: A Preliminary Exploration." International Conference on the Production, Preservation, and Perusal of Buddhist Epigraphy in Central and East Asia, Oxford University, Oxford, UK (August 20, 2019)

"Entombed Epitaphs as Collaborative Remembrance." Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU), Munich, Germany (July 9, 2019)

"Memory Making in Late Medieval China: A Case Study of the Female Chief Minister to Cina's Only Woman Emperor." [with Jessey J.C. Choo, Rutgers] Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany (April 15, 2019)

"Precedence and Persuasion: Some Preliminary Thoughts on Classicizing Learning in the Tang Dynasty (618–907)." University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK (March 6, 2019)

“Current Trends in the Study of Tang Literature.” Oregon State University, Corvalis, OR, USA. (July 31, 2017)

Workshop Papers (Selected, 2017–)

“Self Remembrances: Writing One’s Own Memory in Late Medieval China.” 12th Annual Chinese Medieval Studies Workshop at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (May 5, 2018)

"Orality, Textuality, and Materiality in Self-Authored Entombed Epitaph Inscriptions of the Tang Dynasty." International Symposium for New Frontiers in the Study of Medieval China, Beijing, China (November 1-2, 2017)

“Two early Tang ‘Self-Authored’ muzhiming: Wang Ji 王績 (590–644) and Wang Xuanzong 王玄宗 (633–686).” Records of the Dead, Records for the Living: Reading Muzhiming. Los Angeles, CA (May 19-20, 2017)

Conference Papers and Panels (Selected, 2018–)

“Making Fun of Others: Humor and Representation in the Qiyan lu.” Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Honolulu, HI, 2022

“What Makes a Memory: Reflections on the Commemoration of Liu Zongyuan.” Annual Meeting of the of the Association for Asian Studies, 2021 [Online]

"Making Memories Together: Co-Authoring in Tang muzhiming." Annual Meeting of the Western Branch of the American Oriental Society, Davis, CA (October 2019)

"Her Memories of Him: Women Writers of Tang Entombed Epitaph Inscriptions." Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Washington, DC (March 2018)