Emma Teng

T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations
MacVicar Faculty Fellow
Dual appointment in Global 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, the International Advisory Committee, the Karl Taylor Compton Lectures Advisory Committee, and the Committee on Student Life. She has served as the Director of the MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies and as Head of Global Studies and Languages. 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, and on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. She currently serves on the Governing Board of the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, the International Advisory Board for the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University and on the Board of Directors of Mass Humanities. Teng curated an exhibit, China Comes to Tech: 1877-1931, held at MIT’s Maihaugen Gallery from February 2017 to March 2018.

Teng currently serves as Director of MIT's Global Languages.