Emma Teng

T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations
MacVicar Faculty Fellow
Dual appointment in Global Studies and Languages and History Section


A.B. Harvard University, 1989
A.M. Harvard University, 1992
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1997

Emma J. Teng is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations at MIT. She teaches courses in Chinese culture, Chinese migration history, Asian American history, East Asian culture, and women’s and gender studies. Professor Teng earned her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, where she specialized in Chinese studies and Asian American studies. Her first book, Taiwan's Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895 (2004) a study of Chinese colonial discourses on Taiwan, places the China-Taiwan relationship in the historical context of Chinese imperial expansionism. Her latest book, Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China and Hong Kong, 1842-1943 (2013), examines ideas concerning racial intermixing and the lived experiences of mixed families in China and the US between 1842 and 1943. Teng has also published articles in both US and international academic journals.

Prof. Teng was an American Fellow of the American Association for University Women (1996-97), a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art and the Humanities (2000-2001), and holder of the MIT Class of 1956 Career Development Professorship (2002-2005). In 2005 she was a recipient of the Levitan Prize in the Humanities and a co-winner (with Professor Erik Demaine of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) of the MIT Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award. She was awarded the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and spent the academic year 2007-2008 as a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2013, Teng was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow for her contributions to undergraduate teaching at MIT. She has served on various Institute committees, including the Committee on Race and Diversity and the Intrnational Advisory Committee, and as the Director of the MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies. Beyond MIT, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Asian Studies, as Chair of the China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Asian Studies. She currently serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and on the Board of Directors of Mass Humanities. Teng recently curated an exhibit, China Comes to Tech: 1877-1931, held at MIT’s Maihaugen Gallery from February 2017 to March 2018. She is currently working on a study of pioneering Chinese culinary author, Buwei Yang Chao (1889-1981), and of the 1905 King Incident in relation to the Chinese boycott of 1905-06.

Teng holds a dual appointment in MIT's Global Studies and Languages Section.