Deborah Sommer

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Ph.D. from Department of Religion, Columbia University. Thesis: "Ch'iu Chün's (1421-1495) On the Conduct of Sacrificial Offerings." 1993

Master of Philosophy, Columbia University

Master of Arts with Distinction, Columbia University.

Bachelor of Arts (Phi Beta Kappa), Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University.1987

2010-2011. Fulbright Scholar, Center of Oriental Studies, Vilnius University, Lithuania.
2003 to present. Associate Professor, Department of Religion, Gettysburg College. Chair from 2005 to 2009.
1998-2003. Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Gettysburg College. 1998-2003.
1993-98. Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Butler University.
1992-93. Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Southwestern University.
1991-92. Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, St. Lawrence University.


In progress. The Afterlife of Confucius: The Sage in Body and Image. Considers the religious significance of the physical person of Confucius and its visual depiction in the mortuary art of the Confucian tradition. 1995. Editor, Chinese Religion: An Anthology of Sources. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Translated many of the anthology selections from Chinese; wrote introductions for each selection. Was the first textbook anthology dedicated to Chinese religions.

Research articles

  • 2010. "Concepts of the Body in the Zhuangzi." In Victor Mair, ed., Experimental Essays on Zhuangzi, 2d ed. (Dunedin, FL: Three Pines Press, 2010): 212-228.
  • 2009. "Studies of Zhu Xi in the West." In Wu Zhen, ed., 宋代新儒學的精神世界:以朱熹為中心 (Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism: A Focus on Zhu Xi). (Shanghai: East China Normal University Publishing Company 華東師範大學出版社, 2009): 35-51.
  • 2008. "Boundaries of the Ti Body." Asia Major 3rd series, 21.1 (2008): 293-324. Special issue published as a festschrift for Nathan Sivin.
  • 2008. "Ming Taizu's Legacy as Iconoclast." In Sarah Schneewind, ed., Long Live the Emperor! Uses of the Ming Founder across Six Centuries of East Asian History (Minneapolis: Society for Ming Studies): 73-86. Ming Studies Research Series, No. 4. This is the same article published in Ming Studies 50 (Fall 2008): 91-106.
  • 2007. "文革中的批孔運動和孔子形像的演變" (Images for Iconoclasts: Depictions of Confucius in the Cultural Revolution). In Chinese. Henry Yan, trans. In Yongyi Song, ed., 文化大革命: 歷史真相和集體記憶 (The Cultural Revolution: Historical Truth & Collective Memories). 2 vols. (Hong Kong: Tianyuan shuwu, 2007): 822-840.
  • 2007. "Images for Iconoclasts: Images of Confucius in the Cultural Revolution." East-West Connections: Review of Asian Studies 7.1 (2007): 1-23. Publication of the Asian Studies Development Program.
  • 2005. "Decentering Imperial Women: Confucian Fertility Sacrifices in the Ming Dynasty." Alam-e-niswan/Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies 12, no. 2 (2005): 17-29. Article submitted by request of Tahera Aftab, editor of the journal.
  • 2004. "The Art and Politics of Painting Qianlong at Chengde" and "A Letter from a Jesuit Painter in Qianlong's Court at Chengde." In New Qing Imperial History: The Making of Inner Asian Empire at Qing Chengde. Edited by James A. Millward, Ruth W. Dunnell, Mark C. Elliott, and Philippe Foret. (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 136-145 and 171-184. Articles were written for the 1994 NEH Summer Institute "Reading the Manchu Summer Palace at Chengde: Art, Ritual, and Rulership in Eighteenth Century China and Inner Asia."
  • 2004. "Ming Taizu's Legacy as Iconoclast." Ming Studies 50 (Fall 2004): 91-106.
  • 2002. "Destroying Confucius: Iconoclasm in the Confucian Temple" in On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius, edited by Thomas A. Wilson. (Cambridge: Harvard East Asian Monographs, 2002), pp. 95-133.
  • 1995. "邱濬與明代儒家廢存之議 " (Qiu Jun and the concept of iconoclasm in the Ming dynasty).’
  • Translated into Chinese by Wong Sin-Kiong. In Zhu Ruikai 祝瑞開, ed., 宋明思想和中華文明 (Song and Ming thought and Chinese culture). (Shanghai: Xuelin chubanshe, 1995), pp. 437-444.
  • 1994. "Images into Words: Ming Confucian Iconoclasm." National Palace Museum Bulletin 29.1-2 (1994): 1-24.