Academic Appointments


  • Professor, History

Administrative Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania (1994 - 2000)
  • Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania (2000 - 2002)
  • Visiting Associate Professor of History, Swarthmore College (2001 - 2001)
  • Associate Professor, Department of History, Stanford University (2002 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • High Honors, Swarthmore College (1983)
  • Honor, Phi Beta Kappa (1983)
  • National Resource Fellowship (Japanese), University of Washington (1986)
  • Jackson Fellowship, University of Washington (1985-1987)
  • National Resource Fellowship (Chinese), UCLA (1990-1991)
  • Chancellor's Fellowship, UCLA (1989-1993)
  • Research Fellowship for China, Committee for Scholarly Communication with China (1991-1992)
  • Laffin Dissertation Year Fellowship, UCLA (1992-1993)
  • Writing Fellowship, Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA (1994)
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council (1997-1998)
  • M.A. (Honorary), School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania (2000)
  • Yalom and Litt Awards for Faculty Research, Claymann Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University (2006)
  • Ellen Andrews Wright Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2006-2007)
  • Young Faculty Career Development Award, School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University (2007)
  • FCC Award for the Most Expletives in One Tuesday Talk, Stanford Humanities Center (2007)
  • Gordon and Dailey Pattee Faculty Fellowship, Stanford University (2008)
  • Invited Guest Scholar, Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History, University of Wisconsin (June 2009)
  • Invited Visiting Scholar, Institute for Population and Development Studies, Xi'an Jiaotong University (July 2010)
  • Faculty Fellow, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University (2010-2011)
  • Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2013-2014)
  • Visiting Scholar in Gender and History, University of Connecticut (March 2014)
  • Faculty Fellowship, Stanford Center at Peking University (March 2014)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Application Referee, American Philosophical Society
  • Application Referee, National Humanities Center
  • Application Referee, SSRC International Dissertation Field Research Fellowships
  • Application Referee, Stanford Humanities Center
  • Application Referee, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies (Stanford)
  • Application Referee, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships
  • Chair or member, History Department and Anthropological Sciences Department faculty reappointment committees, Stanford University
  • Manuscript Referee, East Asian History
  • Manuscript Referee, Oxford University Press
  • Manuscript Referee, Journal of Asian Studies
  • Manuscript Referee, Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context
  • Manuscript Referee, Late Imperial China
  • Manuscript Referee, Routledge
  • Manuscript Referee, Modern China
  • Manuscript Referee, Cambridge University Press
  • Manuscript Referee, Law and History Review
  • Manuscript Referee, American Historical Review
  • Manuscript Referee, Journal of Women's History
  • Member, Post-doctoral Selection Committees, Center for East Asian Studies and Center for Korean Studies, Stanford University
  • Member, Graduate Admissions Committee, Stanford University
  • Member, Faculty Appointments Committee, Stanford University
  • Member, Policy Committee, History Department, Stanford University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, UC San Diego
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Columbia University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Drake University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Stanford University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, UC Santa Cruz
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, University of Hawai'i
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Boston College
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Northwestern University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, UCLA
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, California State University at Long Beach
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, University of Utah
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Brown University
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Dickinson College
  • Tenure/Promotion Reviewer, Harvard University
  • Chair, Jun Uchida tenure committee, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
  • Chair, Thomas Mullaney tenure committee, Stanford University (2012 - 2012)
  • Editorial Board, Frontiers of History in China (2010 - Present)
  • Chair, China and Inner Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies (2010 - 2011)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2010 - 2010)
  • Head Honors Examiner, Swarthmore College (2010 - 2010)
  • Member, Program Subcommittee (Politics and the State), 2011 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (2010 - 2010)
  • Elected Member, China and Inner Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies (2009 - 2012)
  • Chair, C-Lib Subcommittee on the Future of Stanford's Libraries (2009 - 2010)
  • Member, Oversight Committee, Bing Overseas Studies Program, Stanford University (2009 - 2010)
  • Vice-Chair, China and Inner Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies (2009 - 2010)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2009 - 2009)
  • Director of Honors and Research, History Department, Stanford University (2008 - 2012)
  • Elected Member, Senate of the Academic Council, Stanford University (2008 - 2010)
  • Member, Steering Committee, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2008 - 2009)
  • Member, C-Lib Subcommittee on Digital Information Technologies in the Research Library Environment at Stanford University (2008 - 2008)
  • Member, Committee on Libraries, Stanford University (2007 - 2010)
  • Member, Faculty Research Grants Committee, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2007 - 2007)
  • Head Honors Examiner, Swarthmore College (2007 - 2007)
  • Chair, Library Committee, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2006 - 2006)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2006 - 2006)
  • Chair, Modern Chinese History search committee, Stanford University (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Modern Korean History search committee, Stanford University (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Chinese bibliographer search committee, East Asia Library, Stanford University (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Modern Japanese History search committee, Stanford University (2004 - 2005)
  • Member, Korean Social Sciences interdepartmental search committee, Stanford University (2004 - 2005)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2004 - 2004)
  • Head Honors Examiner, Swarthmore College (2004 - 2004)
  • Designated Mentor for Selected Junior Faculty, History Department, Stanford University (2003 - 2006)
  • Chair, Modern Chinese History search committee, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • Member, Chinese Literature search Committee, Asian Languages Department, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (2003 - 2003)
  • Member, Steering Committee, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2002 - 2006)
  • Member, Judicial Affairs Panel Pool, School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University (2002 - 2006)
  • Editorial Board, Modern China (2000 - Present)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (1996 - 1996)
  • Member, Search Committees for International Relations and Asian-American History, History Department, University of Pennsylvania (1995 - 2002)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania (1995 - 2002)
  • Member, Curriculum Committee, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania (1995 - 2002)
  • Member, Search Committees for Early Chinese Thought and Chinese Literature, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania (1995 - 2002)
  • Member, Executive Committee, History Department, University of Pennsylvania (1995 - 2002)
  • External Honors Examiner in Chinese History, Swarthmore College (1995 - 1995)

Program Affiliations


  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, History (1994)
  • M.A., University of Washington, International Studies: China (1987)
  • B.A., Swarthmore College, Political Science (1983)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • The Gendered Body in the Qing Courtroom JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY Sommer, M. H. 2013; 22 (2): 281-311

    View details for DOI 10.7560/JHS22205

    View details for Web of Science ID 000318054800005

  • The Field of Qing Legal History A Scholarly Review of Chinese Studies in North America Sommer, M. edited by Zhang, H. Association for Asian Studies. 2013: 113–132
  • Scandal in the Garden: The Story of the Stone as a 'Licentious Novel' Approaches to Teaching The Story of the Stone (Dream of the Red Chamber) Sommer, M. edited by Schonebaum, A., Lu, T. Modern Language Association of America. 2012: 186–207
  • Obesession: Male Same-Sex Relations in China, 1900-1950 (Review) Journal of Asian Studies Sommer, M. 2012; 71 (1): 212-213
  • Foreword Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan Sommer, M. edited by Stanley, A. University of California Press. 2012: xi-xvi
  • Abortion in Late Imperial China: Routine Birth Control of Crisis Intervention? Rural China: An International Journal of History and Social Science Sommer, M., Translated by Zhang, Y. 2011; 9: 1-52
  • ABORTION IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA: ROUTINE BIRTH CONTROL OR CRISIS INTERVENTION? LATE IMPERIAL CHINA Sommer, M. H. 2010; 31 (2): 97-165

    Abstract

    In late imperial China, a number of purported methods of abortion were known; but who actually attempted abortion and under what circumstances? Some historians have suggested that abortion was used for routine birth control, which presupposes that known methods were safe, reliable, and readily available. This paper challenges the qualitative evidence on which those historians have relied, and presents new evidence from Qing legal sources and modern medical reports to argue that traditional methods of abortion (the most common being abortifacient drugs) were dangerous, unreliable, and often cost a great deal of money. Therefore, abortion in practice was an emergency intervention in a crisis: either a medical crisis, in which pregnancy threatened a woman's health, or a social crisis, in which pregnancy threatened to expose a woman's extramarital sexual relations. Moreover, abortion was not necessarily available even to women who wanted one.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286025900004

    View details for PubMedID 21328808

  • Death by a Thousand Cuts (Review) Social History Sommer, M. 2010; 35 (2): 204-206
  • The Field of Qing Legal History in North America Chinese Studies in North America: Research, Teaching, and Resources Sommer, M., Translated by Xue, Z. edited by Zhang, H. Zhonghua Shuju. 2010: 244–266
  • The Adjudication of Wife-Selling in Qing County Courts: 272 Cases from Ba, Nanbu, and Baodi Counties Power and Culture in Ming-Qing Law Sommer, M., Translated by Lin, W. edited by Qiu, P., Chen, X. Lianjing Chuban Gongsi. 2009: 345–396
  • Sex Work: Polyandry as a Survival Strategy in the Qing Dynasty Research from Archival Case Records: Law, Society and Culture in China, Past and Present Sommer, M. edited by Huang, P. C., You, C. Falü Chubanshe. 2009: 111–139
  • Public Passions: The Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China (Review) Law and History Review Sommer, M. 2008; 26 (3): 741-743
  • Was China part of a global eighteenth-century homosexuality? HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS-REFLEXIONS HISTORIQUES Sommer, M. H. 2007; 33 (1): 117-133
  • The Construction of Gender in Qing Dynasty Law The Comparative Legal History of Gender Sommer, M., Translated by Karasawa, Y. edited by Mitsunari, M. Osaka University Press. 2006: 272–301
  • Qing county archives in Sichuan: An update from the field LATE IMPERIAL CHINA Karasawa, Y., Reed, B. W., Sommer, M. H. 2005; 26 (2): 114-128
  • Homoerotic sensibilities in late imperial China. (Book Review) JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Sommer, M. H. 2005; 64 (4): 1017-1019
  • Sex Work: Polyandry as a Survival Strategy in the Qing Dynasty New Social History Sommer, M., Translated by Li, X. 2005; 2: 236-262
  • Making Sex Work: Polyandry as a Survival Strategy in Qing Dynasty China Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China Sommer, M. edited by Goodman, B., Larson, W. Rowman and Littlefield. 2005: 29–54
  • Dangerous Males, Vulnerable Males, and Polluted Males: The Regulation of Masculinity in Qing Dynasty Law Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities: A Reader Sommer, M. edited by Brownell, S., Wasserstrom, J. University of California Press. 2002: 67–88
  • A flourishing yin: Gender in China's medical history, 960-1665 (Book Review) HARVARD JOURNAL OF ASIATIC STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Sommer, M. H. 2001; 61 (1): 273-279
  • Social power and legal culture: Litigation masters in late imperial China. (Book Review) JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Sommer, M. H. 2000; 59 (1): 158-159
  • The penetrated male in late imperial China - Judicial constructions and social stigma 1993 Conference on Code and Practice in Qing and Republican China Sommer, M. H. SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC. 1997: 140–80
  • Prostitution in Late Imperial Chinese Law: The Eighteenth-Century Shift Away from Status Performance China — Society and Culture Sommer, M., Translated by Terada, H. 1997; 12 (June): 294-328
  • The uses of chastity: Sex, law, and the property of widows in Qing China LATE IMPERIAL CHINA Sommer, M. H. 1996; 17 (2): 77-130
  • Legislation Related to the Civil Economy in the Qing Dynasty Civil Law in Qing and Republican China Jing, J., Translated by Sommer, M. edited by Bernhardt, K., Huang, P. Stanford University Press. 1994: 42–84