Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
China Initiative

Tamara Chin

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Associate Professor of East Asian Studies


Tamara Chin works on comparative approaches to the ancient world and to historical narrative, with a focus on early Chinese texts, the Afro-Eurasian ‘Silk Road,’ and the modern politics of antiquity.

She received her BA from Harvard College in Classics and Literature and PhD from UC Berkeley in Comparative Literature.

She is currently completing two books: a monograph on the modern historiography of ancient contact and exchange entitled The Silk Road Idea, and a sourcebook of original translations, Readings in Early Chinese Economic Thought.

Her first book, Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination (Harvard, 2014) received the American Comparative Literature Association Harry Levin Prize; Honorable Mention for the Association of Asian Studies Joseph Levenson Pre-1900 China Book Prize; International Convention of Asia Scholars Ground-Breaking Subject Matter Accolade.