Suyoung Son

Associate Professor


Suyoung Son is a book historian specializing in early modern China and Korea (16th to early 20th century). Her primary research interests revolve around exploring the book as a medium that mediates cultural and bodily practices of reading and writing. Her focus areas include manuscript and print dynamics; authorship and intellectual property; materiality of the book; transnational circulation of text; gender studies; and the textual, physical, and ecological production of knowledge. As a native of South Korea, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and had the first faculty position at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since joining Cornell in 2014, she has taught various courses on the literary and cultural history of East Asia, such as “Introduction to China,” “Gender, Family, and Confucianism in East Asia,” “The Sensorium of Jin Ping Mei,” “Narrating Chosŏn Korea,” “Food and Asia,” “History of Book in China,” etc. 

Her first book, Writing for Print: Publishing and the Making of Textual Authority in Late Imperial China (Harvard UP; undergoing translation by Beijing University Press), examines the widespread practice of self-publishing by writers in early Qing China, focusing on the relationships between manuscript tradition and print convention, peer patronage and popular fame, and gift exchange and commercial transactions in textual production and circulation. She is currently working on her second book, tentatively titled Cookbook and Textuality of Domesticity in Chosŏn Korea, which investigates how cookery writings serve as a bridge between textual knowledge and material practice. In addition, she is co-editing two volumes, The Sensorium of the Early Modern Chinese Text and A Material History of the Book and Reading in Korea

With professor TJ Hinrichs (History), she co-organizes the annual Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture in Chinese studies and Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium (CCCC), a monthly meeting to read original Sinitic texts at Cornell. She has served on executive and prize committees for the Modern Language Association (MLA). She is currently an editorial board member of the academic journal East Asian Publishing and Society



Writing for Print: Publishing and the Making of Textual Authority in Late Imperial China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Publisher at Work: Yu Xiangdou’s Images and Visualizing Intellectual Labor,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 82.1 (2022): 37-76.
  • “Print and Transnational Referentiality: Nam Kong-ch’ŏl’s Printing of Kǔmnǔng chip,” The Routledge Companion to Korean Literature, ed. Heekyoung Cho (London and N.Y.: Routledge, 2022), pp. 161-86.
  • “Premodern Literary Collectanea,” Literary Information in China: A History, eds. Jack Chen, et al. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2021), pp. 523-32.
  • “How to Read a Sinographic Text in Eighteenth-Century Chosŏn Korea: Liuxi waizhuan and Yi Tŏngmu’s Compilation of Noeroe nangnak sŏ,” Journal of Asian Studies 78.2 (2019): 329-53.
  • "Between Writing and Publishing Letters: Publishing a Letter about Book Proprietorship," A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture, ed. Antje Richter (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 878-99.
  • "Reading an Authorless Text: The Reception of Jin Ping Mei in Manuscript and Print," Journal of Chinese Language and Literature [Chungguk ŏmunhak nonjip] 81 (2013.8): 439-55.
  • "Transmitting Haoqiu zhuan in Eighteenth-Century Chosŏn Korea," East Asian Publishing and Society 3 (2013): 3-30.
  • "Publishing as a Coterie Enterprise: Zhang Chao and Making Printed Texts in Early Qing China," Late Imperial China 31.1 (June 2010): 98-136.
  • "Positioning Taiping guangji in the History of Chinese Narrative," Journal of Chinese Language and Literature [Chungguk ŏmunhak nonjip] 12 (1999): 251-66 (Korean)

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