Prof. Dr. Michael Höckelmann

Prof. Dr. Michael Höckelmann

Institut für Sprachen und Kulturen des Nahen Ostens und Ostasiens
Lehrstuhl für Sinologie

Vormoderne chinesische Philologie, Geistes- und Institutionengeschichte, mittelalterliche Geschichte, Geschlechtergeschichte (Eunuchen)

Akademische Tätigkeit

2019–heute: Professor für Staat und Gesellschaft Chinas, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

2018–2019: Research Fellow in Chinese Intellectual and Cultural History, ERC-Projekt „PAIXUE: Classicising Learning in Medieval Imperial Systems: Cross-cultural Approaches to Byzantine Paideia and Tang/Song Xue”, University of Edinburgh

2017–2018: Lecturer in East Asian History, History, University of Manchester

2015–2017: Assistant Professor, Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University

2015–2017: Visiting Research Fellow, History, King’s College London

2014–2015: Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

2013–2015: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge (04.–08.2015) und King’s College London (09.2013–03.2015)

2013.04–07: Stipendium des Schneider-Sasakawa Fund der Universität Münster für Forschung am Seikado Bunko 静嘉堂文庫 (Tokyo), Institute for Research in Humanities (Kyoto University) und in Taiwan

2009–2013: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Exzellenzcluster “Religion und Politik in den Kulturen der Vormoderne und Moderne”, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

2008–2013: Lehrbeauftragter, Institut für Sinologie und Ostasienkunde, Universität Münster



2013: Promotion (summa cum laude) zum Dr. phil. im Fach Sinologie, Titel der Arbeit: “Li Deyu (787–850). (Zivil-)Religion, Politik und Biographie”, Universität Münster

2009: Magister Artium in Sinologie (Note 1,30), Politikwissenschaft und Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Titel der Arbeit: “Gerechter Krieg und Strafen im Lüshi chunqiu

2005–2007: Studium des Chinesischen (Mandarin) sowie chinesischer Philosophie und Religion an der Sun Yat-sen University 中山大學 in Guangzhou, VR China.


Li Deyu (787–850). Religion und Politik in der Tang Zeit (Studies in Oriental Religions 70. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016). Details

Rezensionen in Monumenta Serica 66 (2018): 208–11, Tang Studies 35 (2017): 120–23, China Review International 23.3 (2016): 260–64.



‘Power Emasculated: Eunuchs, Great Clans, and Political Reproduction under the Tang’, Tang Studies, forthcoming.

‘To Rot and Not to Die: Punitive Emasculation in Early and Medieval China’, T’oung Pao 105.1–2 (2019), 1–42. Details

‘Vom Umgang der Tang-Dynastie (618–907) mit ihrem ‚religiösen Pluralismus‘’, China heute. Informationen über Religion und Christentum im chinesischen Raum 32.3 (2013): 171–80.

‘Antiklerikalismus und Exklusionsrhetorik in der Tang-Zeit: Religionspolitik im Denken Li Deyus’, Bochumer Jahrbuch für Ostasienforschung 34 (2010): 181–213.

‘Gerechte Waffen und die Kunst des Strafens’, Monumenta Serica 58 (2010): 31–64.



‘The Bureaucracy’, in Anthony DeBlasi (ed.), The Cambridge History of China, Volume 4, Sui and T’ang China 618–907, Part II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), forthcoming.

‘Not Man Enough to be a Soldier? Eunuchs in the Tang Military and Their Critics’, in Michael Grünbart (ed.), Verflechtungen zwischen Byzanz und dem OrientEntanglements between Byzantium and the Orient (Byzantinistische Studien und Texte. Berlin etc.: Lit), in press.

‘Celibate but not Childless: Eunuch Military Dynasticism in Medieval China’, in Almut Höfert, Matthew M. Mesley, and Serena Tolino (eds.), Celibate and Childless Men in Power: Ruling Bishops and Eunuchs in the Pre-Modern World (London: Routledge, 2017), 111–128.

‘Zwischen Umbruch und Restauration: Von der An-Shi-Rebellion zur Huichang-Proskription (755–846)’, in Eva Sternfeld and Philipp Mahltig (eds.), Kontinuität und Umbruch in Chinas Geschichte und Gegenwart (Jahrbuch der Deutschen Vereinigung für Chinastudien 7. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014), 75–90.

‘Castration as a Death Penalty Mitigation during the Northern Dynasties?’, in Tomiya Itaru and Reinhard Emmerich (eds.), Public Notions of Crime and Law in East Asia – Crime and Society in East Asia: Symposium Organized by Institute for Sinology and East Asian Studies, University of Muenster, and Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, in Muenster, Germany, 3–5 September 2012 (Kyoto: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 2014), 135–45.


Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Sonstiges

‘The Eunuch’, Melvyn Bragg – In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, ausgestrahlt am 26. Februar 2015 (

‘The Battle of Talas’, Melvyn Bragg – In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, ausgestrahlt am 9. Oktober 2014 (

‘Late Medieval Chinese State Religion, Tang through Five Dynasties (755–960): Religion Variables’, in Database of Religious History (, Vancouver, University of British Columbia, 2015).

‘Den Stier bei den Hörnern packen – Gab es Sumō in der Tang-Zeit?’, in Jiawu Journal – Festgabe für Professor Reinhard Emmerich (hausinterne Publikation, University of Muenster, 2014): 41–45.

Wissenschaftliche Buchrezensionen für Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR); Frontiers of History in China, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Journal of World History, Monumenta Serica, Reviews in History, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung und Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft.

Empire and Its Dysfunction: Classicising Learning and Careers in Middle Period China

Between 760 and 960, the breakdown of central authority in imperial China similarly led to a decentralisation of classical learning. Literati careers, which had largely depended on pedigree, became more diversified. While more and more sons of great-clan descent competed for the prestigious examination degrees, many faced difficulties in obtaining even their first office. Some resorted to signing up with the regional army headquarters (mufu 幕府); others entered marriage or adoptive relations with powerful non-literati. For many, personal aspiration was inextricably linked with hopes for a dynastic revival (zhongxing 中興). In that climate, literati (shi 士) sought for new ways of expressing ideas beyond the poetic genres that dominated the examinations. One product of that desire was Ancient Style (guwen 古文) prose, the exposition (lun 論) another. Unsurprisingly, the great stylists of the era – Han Yu 韓愈 (768–824), Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元 (773–850), Li Deyu 李德裕 (787–850) – wrote some of their best pieces while being away from court. What role did the court play for them? Was it still the centre of public life and main source of cultural and social capital? Or a snake pit full of factions and eunuchs, better to be avoided? What role did subaltern officials outside the pure stream or “literocracy” (qingliu 清流), i.e., in the professional services and the military, play in the evolution of institutions and learning? This book will look at the career paths of middling officials and their writings, and map them onto some of the new institutions that were created during the period – the regional army headquarters, the Hanlin Academy (hanlin yuan 翰林院), and the Palace Secretariat (shumi yuan 樞密院). All of them survived the fall of the dynasty and into the Song; all of them impacted on the evolution of learning in Middle Period China, directly or indirectly.