Chinese Department


Alexei K. Ditter 迪磊

Associate 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. His research explores interactions between social and textual practices in medieval Chinese literature, focusing in particular on questions of place, genre, and memory. He is co-editor (with Jessey 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 writing a monograph that examines how genres influence the construction of the past in medieval China. 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.” Professor Ditter joined the Reed faculty in 2006. 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.


Fall 2020

Chin 110: First-year Modern Chinese

Chin 324/LitC 324: Genres of Memory in Medieval China

Spring 2021

Chin 210: Second-year Modern Chinese

Chin 329/LitC 329: Stranger Things in Medieval China

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 and Chapters

"Authoring One's Own Epitaph: 'Self-authored Epitaph' by Wang Ji (590?–644) and 'Inscription Dictated While Near Death' by Wang Xuanzong (633-686)." In Chinese Funerary Biographies: An Anthology of Remembered Lives, ed. by Patricia Ebrey, Ping Yao, and Cong Ellen Zhang, 47-58. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019.

“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.

“Civil Examinations and Cover Letters in the Mid-Tang: A Close Reading of Dugu Yu’s 獨孤郁 (776-815) “Letter Submitted to Attendant Gentleman Quan of the Ministry of Rites” 上禮部權侍郎書.” In History of Chinese Epistolary Culture, edited by Antje Richter, 642–74. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

“The Commerce of Commemoration: Commissioned Muzhiming in the mid- to late-Tang.” Tang Studies 32 (2014): 21–46.

“Conceptions of Urban Space in Duan Chengshi’s “Records of Monasteries and Stupas.” Tang Studies 29 (2011): 62–83.

“New Shoes and Trimmed Feet: The Formation of the Modern Canon of Tang Dynasty Prose.” Tang Studies 27 (2009): 66–89.

Invited Talks (Selected)

"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 (July 31, 2017)

“Reasons for Remembering: Audiences and Aims of the mid-Tang muzhiming.” University of Oxford China Centre, Oxford, UK (May 7, 2015)

“The Multiple Voices of a Tang muzhiming.” Text reading seminar held at the Needham Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (May 1, 2015)

“Genre and the Construction of Memory: A Case Study of Quan Deyu 權德輿 (759-818).” University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (April 22, 2015)

“Audience and Aims of mid-Tang muzhiming: A Preliminary Study.” Paper presented at the “Repainting the Style of Medieval China” Symposium, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (November 8–10, 2014)

Workshop Papers (Selected)

“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)

“Constructing Memory from the Words of Others: The Role of Cited Speech in a 9th century muzhiming.” Rutgers University, Inaugural Workshop for New Frontiers in the Study of Medieval China, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (May 15-16, 2015)

Conference Papers and Panels (Selected)

"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)

“From Athazagoraphobia to Self-Advertising: Multivalent Motives of Self-Authored muzhiming in the mid- to late-Tang.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA (2016)

“Poems on Pillars, Odes to Oysters: Literary Interactions With and Within Chang’an’s Daxingshan Monastery in the 8th and 9th Centuries.” Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, Portland, OR (November 2015)