Born and raised in China, I was educated at Oberlin College (B.A 1995) and the University of Cambridge (King’s College, M.Phil 1997 and Ph.D 2001). Then I worked for the University of Pennsylvania (2002-04) and the National University of Singapore (2004-06) before joining the University of Manchester in January 2007. Trained as an economic historian with a focus on Ming-Qing maritime trade and patterns/cultures of consumption, I have been fascinated with the foreign goods/things that went into China and the ways in which they became Chinese or indigenised. This interest in the dynamics of Sino-foreign interaction and in the complex process of indigenisation has led me to foreign performing art genres like ballet. The two years in Singapore made it possible for me to venture into other research areas that included the body, naming practices, China’s relations with Southeast Asia, and the Asian Cold War. I am the editor (with Richard Madsen of UC San Diego) of the "Alternative Sinology" series published by Manchester University Press and an editorial board member for Modern Asian Studies and for the Journal of Social and Economic History of the Orient.