Liang Cai

Liang Cai


Assistant Professor


Chinese Intellectual history


2007 Ph. D., Chinese History. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY                                                      

2003 M. A., Chinese History. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY           

1999 B.A. Renmin University of China, Beijing, China

Research and Teaching Interests

The focus of my recent research are early Chinese Empires, Classical Chinese thought—in particular Confucianism and Daoism, digital humanities, and the material culture and archaeological texts of early China. Among my other areas of research and teaching expertise are China in world history, comparative studies of early Imperial China, and legacy of Chinese Empires in contemporary China and global communities.



Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire.  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014.


FINALIST - 2015 Best First Book in the History of Religions, presented by the American Academy of Religion

2014 Academic Award for Excellence, presented by Chinese Historians in the United States


The American Historical Review; The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society; The Journal of Chinese Studies; San Francisco Book Review; The Pomegranate:  The International Journal of Pagan Studies; The Chinese Historical Review; Religious Studies Review; Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

Wugu zhi huo yu rujia diguo de xingqi巫蠱之禍與儒家帝國的興起 (Chinese translation of Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire). Beijing: Beijing Normal University press, forthcoming.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters:

“When the Founder is Not a Creator: Confucius and Confucianism Reconsidered,” in Varieties of Religious Invention, edited by Patrick Gray, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015

“The Master Kept A Distance from His Own Son: Is Confucian Morality based on Family Affection?,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, submitted.  

“The Hermeneutics of Omens: The Bankruptcy of Moral Cosmology in the Western Han China (206 BCE-8 CE),” The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, volume 25, issue 03 (2015), pp. 439-459.

““Zhengzhi quanli bangjia xia de tianren ganying zaiyi shuo (gongyuan qian 206 nian – gongyuan 8nian)“政治權力綁架下的天人感應災異說(公元前206 年–公元8 年) [Moral Cosmology that was Kidnapped by Political Power(206 BCE to 8 CE), Zhongguo shi yanjiu 中 國 史 研 究  [Journal of Chinese Historical Studies], forthcoming.

“Excavating the Genealogy of Classical Studies in the Western Han Dynasty (206BCE-8 CE),” Journal of American Oriental Society, 131.3 (2011), 371-394.

“‘Who Said, ‘Confucius Composed Chunqiu’?: the Genealogy of the ‘Chunqiu’ Canon in the pre- Han and Han Periods,” Frontiers of History in China, 5.3(2010): 363-385.

“Dialectics between Reconstruction and Deconstruction: Some Reflections on Studies of Early Confucianism in American Sinology” 重構與解構: 對美國漢學界早期儒學研究的一些回顧和思考, China Scholarship 中國學術, 24 (2006), 228–247.

Contact Information

Office: 457 Decio
Phone: 574-631-3807

Mailing Address:
Department of History
219 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556


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