Xin Yu’s research explores the role of knowledge production in establishing and maintaining order in late imperial China. His dissertation surveys the family genealogy in late imperial China as a genre, looks at its structure and evolution, analyzes the implications of its popularity, and reassesses the use of genealogies in historical research. His research shows that the genealogy created a discursive space for state ideology, elite activism, and commoners’ pragmatism to encounter and interact, thus facilitating the creation and maintenance of a unified order. As an enthusiastic advocate of interdisciplinary scholarship, he employs a wide range of methods in other disciplines such as art history and the digital humanities in his research. While writing his dissertation, he is currently building three databases: Reasons for a Genealogy, Social Networks of Genealogy Contributors, and Images in Ming Genealogies.
Xin's major interests include book history, printing technology, visual and material culture, the history of the family, and the digital humanities.