Constance Cook

Williams Hall, Room 484
PhD, University of California, Berkeley


The study of excavated texts from ancient China.

Professor Constance Cook, PhD University of California, Berkeley, specializes in the study of excavated texts from ancient China. Her books and articles focus on the examination of these texts in the context of material culture and what they can tell us about belief systems and local practices. She teaches courses on Chinese language, literature, and culture. She was awarded the Class of 1961 Professorship as well as fellowships from International Consortium for Research in the Humanities"Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe"at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Academic year 2017-2018, she was the Hetty Goldman member in Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and in 2018 Lehigh University awarded her the National Endowment of Humanities Distinguished Chair position for seven years.

Selected publications:


Birth in Ancient China. Co-authored with Luo Xinhui. SUNY Press, 2017

Stalk Images: An Alternative to the I-ching. Co-authored with Zhao Lu. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Ancestors, Kings, and the Dao. Harvard University Asian Center. 2017

History of Ancient China. With J. Major. Routledge Press. 2016

A Sourcebook of Ancient Chinese Bronze Inscriptions. Ed. & written with P. Goldin. Society for the Study of Early China Monograph 7. 2016

Death in Ancient China: The Tale of One Man’s Journey. Leiden: Brill Press. 2006

Defining Chu: Image and Reality in Ancient China. Ed. & written with J. Major, University of Hawaii Press. 1999



Forthcoming, “Prognostication and Early Chinese Excavated Texts,” in the Chinese Prognostication Handbook series, Vol. 1, Leiden: Brill.

Forthcoming, “Placing the Zhouyi in BCE Stalk Divination Traditions: Views from Newly Discovered Texts” with Andrea Bréard. Hon Tze-ki ed. The Yijing: Alternative Visions and Practices. Leiden: Brill.

In Press, “Which comes first? Dao or De: Evidence from Guodian Manuscripts,” S. Chan, ed., Dao Companion to the Guodian Bamboo Manuscripts. Springer.

 Forthcoming, “The Role of Female Trigrams in the Fourth Century BCE Stalk Divination text, Shifa 筮法,” S. Chan, ed., Rediscovering Early China: Perspectives from the Recovered Ancient Texts. Sydney: The Oriental Society of Australia.

 In Press, “Contextualizing ‘Becoming a Complete Person’ in the Tang zai Chimen,” Eds. Michael Lüdke and Sarah Allan. Human Nature, Morality, and Fate in the Tsinghua University Bamboo Manuscripts. Tsinghua University.


2013    “Pre-Han Healing.” T.J. Hinrichs & Linda L. Barnes, eds. Chinese Medicine and Healing An Illustrated History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard    University. Pp.  5-29.

2011   “Education and the Way of the Former Kings.” F. Li & D. Branner, eds. Literacy in Ancient China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Pp. 302-336.

2009  “Ancestor worship during the Eastern Zhou.” Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD). J. Lagerwey and M. Kalinowski. Leiden: Brill. Pp. 237-79.

2007   “Ritual, Politics, and the Issue of feng.” Shi Quan jiaoshou jiushi danchen jinian wenji [Memorial volume in honor of Prof. Shi Quan’s Ninetieth Birthday]. Wuhan University Historical Geography Research Center, comp. Wuhan: Hubei renmin. Pp. 215-67.

2005    “Moonshine and Millet: Feasting and Purification Rituals in Ancient China.    Chapter One in Of Tripod and Palate: Food and Religion in Traditional  China. Roel Sterckx, ed. New York: Palgrave. Pp. 9-33.

2002  “Xi Zhou zaoqimu zhong tongqi duozuduoming wenti shitan" [The Problem of Multiple Names on Bronzes in Early Western Zhou Tombs].  Wang Yuzhong and Zhang Maorong ed., Zuixun zhongguo gudai wenming de zongji--Li Xueqin xiansheng xueshu huodong wushinian (1950-2000) [Festschrift for Li Xueqin Celebrating Fifty Years of Scholarship]. Shanghai: Fudan University Press. Pp. 377-388.