Prof. Olivia MILBURN 米歐敏教授


  • Professor
  • BA Oxford University, MA Cambridge University,
  • PhD SOAS, University of London
  • 852-39171954
  • 852-28581334
  • Rm 822, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU


Olivia Milburn is currently Professor at the School of Chinese, Hong Kong University and was formerly employed at the Department of Chinese, Seoul National University. She received her MA from Cambridge and PhD from SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses mainly on the history and culture of the ancient kingdoms of Wu and Yue, and the position of minorities and marginalized groups in early and medieval China, such as intersex persons, the disabled, and so on. In addition, Olivia Milburn has engaged in research on the early history of the novel in China. Her books include The Glory of Yue: An Annotated Translation of the Yuejue shu (2010); Cherishing Antiquity: The Cultural Construction of an Ancient Chinese Kingdom (2013); Urbanization in Early and Medieval China: Gazetteers for the City of Suzhou (2015); The Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan (2016); The Empress in the Pepper Chamber: Zhao Feiyan in History and Fiction (2021); and a translation of Feng Menglong’s Kingdoms in Peril: A Novel of the Ancient Chinese World at War (2022). Her modern literature translations, recognized with the Special Book Award of China in 2018, include works by Mai Jia, Feng Jicai, Jiang Zilong, Fang Fang, and Su Tong.


  • Kingdoms in Peril: A Novel of the Ancient Chinese World at War by Feng Menglong (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2022).
  • A Looking Glass World by Feng Jicai (London: Sinoist Books, 2021).
  • The Empress in the Pepper Chamber: Zhao Feiyan in History and Fiction (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2021).
  • The Message by Mai Jia (London: Head of Zeus, 2020).

Selected Articles

  • Spring Colors in the Han Palace: A Late Qing Reappraisal of the Life of Empress Zhang (202-163 BCE). Nan Nü 24 (2022), 70-94.
  • Jealousy and Domestic Violence by Women in Early and Medieval China. T’oung Pao 107 (2021), 555-581.
  • Sweet Tangerines and Bitter Oranges: Elite Displaced Persons in the Rhetoric of Early Medieval China. Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, and Reviews 42 (2020), 33-52.
  • A Taste of Honey: Early Medieval Chinese Writings on Sweeteners. Early Medieval China 26 (2020), 43-66.
  • Featherwork in Early and Medieval China. Journal of the American Oriental Society 140.3 (2020), 549-564.

Invited Lectures / Talks

  • “Good Wives? Jealousy and Domestic Violence in Marriages in Early China.” Invited paper at the Early China Seminar Lecture Series, Tang Center for Early China, Columbia University, 6th November 2020.

Conference Presentations

  • “Fantasy Entomology: Projecting Human Constructions onto Bees in Imperial-era Chinese Literature.” Paper presented at the Sixth Biennial Conference of East Asian Environmental History, Kyoto, 9th September 2021.
  • “Recovering a Lost Art: Featherwork in Early and Medieval China.” Paper presented at the International Convention of Asian Scholars, Kyoto, 27th August 2021.
  • “Records of Brain Damage in Early and Medieval China.” Paper presented at the conference Other Bodies: Disability and Bodily Impairment in Early and Medieval China, Needham Research Institute, Cambridge University, 21st April 2021.