Prof. Dr. Robert La Fleur

Bild von Robert La Fleur

Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung "Schicksal, Freiheit und Prognose. Bewältigungsstrategien in Ostasien und Europa"
Hartmannstr. 14
91052 Erlangen

Professor of History and Anthropology

Home Institution: Beloit College, USA

IKGF Visiting Fellow December 2013 - June 2014

(Last change of profile by end of stay)

IKGF Research Project:

Religiosity Spent: Culture, Microeconomics, and Sacrality on China's Southern Sacred Mountain.

Curriculum Vitae

Robert Andre LaFleur is an anthropologist and historian who focuses on the intersection of text and culture in Chinese life. His work includes studies of the Chinese almanac and its place in popular religion, the "exilic imagination" in Northern Song dynasty (960 - 1127) China, and the role of literary borrowing in Chinese historiography. He is the author of China: Global Studies (ABC-Clio, 2003), and a substantially revised and expanded second edition (2010).

For the past five years, LaFleur has been conducting research on China′s five cardinal peaks (Mt. Tai in the east, Mt. Heng in the south, Mt. Song in the center, Mt. Hua in the west, and a second Mt. Heng in the north). Laid out in powerful "cosmic-architectural" fashion, the great Chinese mountains framed the political and historical discourse in early China. Since early times, the Chinese imagined heaven to be round and the earth to be square, and their linkage has played a prominent role in 3000 years of political and historical writing. To this day, the mountains remain important as cultural sites and pilgrimage centers. LaFleur′s research has combined fieldwork on and around all five mountains, with concomitant research on each mountain′s textual tradition - the most prominent fragments of which have been carved (by travelers and poets over the millennia) into the mountainsides themselves.

LaFleur received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago′s Committee on Social Thought. He is professor of history and anthropology at Beloit College, where he has chaired the Asian Studies program and history department. He teaches a wide variety of courses on East Asian history and culture.

Selected Publications

Books and Editions

  • LaFieur, Robert Andre. China: Global Studies. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2010.
  • LaFieur, Robert Andre. China: A Global Studies Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-Ciio, 2003.


  • "Religiosity Spent: Divinatory Economics on China′s Southern Sacred Mountain" Erlangen Universität
  • "The Chinese Mirror for Management: The Culture of Imperial Organization in Early China" Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities
  • "Heaven is Round, Earth is Square: Accounts Linking Mountain and Sea in Early China." University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research in the Humanities
  • "lmagined Mountains: Ascents and Reflections Upon China′s Sacred Mountains in Fin de siècle French Ethnography" Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities
  • "Depraved Destinies: The Historiography of Failure in Early Modern China" Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies
  • "From Here to Ethnography: Marcel Granet and the Analysis of Early Chinese Religion" Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities
  • "Writing Towards Death: History and Urgency in the Waning Years of the Two Simas" Athens Institute for Education and Research lnt′l Conjerence
  • "Imagined Communitas: Dramatic Reconstructions of Early Chinese Society University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research in the Humanities
  • "Chronicling lndividuals in Chinese History: Narrative, Commentary, and Biography in Medieval China" Lingnan University Lecture
  • "Crossing (Early-) Modernity: The Ethnography of Cultural Reception in Claude Levi-Strauss′s Tristes tropiques. Early Modern Cultural Studies

Recent Articles

  • "Introduction (with András Boros-Kazai)" in James Minahan, Ethnic Groups of North, Central, and East Asia (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio Press, 2014)
  • "Remonstrance in Chinese Histories" (with Anita Andrew). Education About Asia. Forthcoming.
  • "Calendarios y Almanaques" in Gabriel Garcfa-Noblejas, China. Pasado y presente de una gran civilización. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2012.
  • "Fifty-one entries" in Michael Dillon, ed., Encyclopedia of Chinese History, Routledge 2014.
  • "Calendars" and "Festivals" (two separate entries) in The Encyc/opedia of Modern China New York: Macmillan 2010.