Emily Wilcox

Professional Title

Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies


Asian Languages and Cultures
Chinese Studies
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA)
School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD)


Emily Wilcox is Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies and Associate Chair & Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a specialist in Chinese dance and performance, with broader interests in Cold War culture, Inter-Asian solidarity movements, and comparative modernisms. Dr. Wilcox received national research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2014-2015 and the Social Science Research Council in 2016-2017. She has published more than twenty journal articles and book chapters, in English and Chinese, in leading publications in Asian studies, dance studies, and performance studies. Her first book, Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy (University of California Press (c) 2019), was awarded the de la Torre Bueno Prize® from the Dance Studies Association. Based on more than ten years of ethnographic and archival research, it is the first primary source-based English-language history of dance in the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Wilcox has been the leading faculty collaborator for the Chinese Dance special collection at the University of Michigan Asia Library, the basis for an original exhibition she co-curated in 2017, titled Chinese Dance: National Movements in a Revolutionary Age, 1945-1965. Dr. Wilcox is also co-creator of the digital image collection Pioneers of Chinese Dance and co-editor of the anthology Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming September 2020), which examines the intersection of dance and politics in China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Japan, and North and South Korea. Dr. Wilcox is currently at work on a second monograph examining ethnic impersonation and the performance of leftist solidarity politics in inter-Asia dance during the Cold War.

Dr. Wilcox received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 2003, her MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2004, and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. She was a Blakemore Freeman Fellow at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Study at Tsinghua University in 2007-2008, a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Beijing Dance Academy in 2008-2009, and a non-residential postdoctoral research fellow at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 2011-2013. Dr. Wilcox joined the University of Michigan faculty in the fall of 2013 after serving as an adjunct instructor of modern Chinese studies at the University of California, Davis in 2011 and a visiting assistant professor of modern Chinese studies at the College of William & Mary in 2011-2013. Wilcox served as President of the Association for Asian Performance in 2015-2017 and Board Member of the Society for Dance History Scholars in 2014-2016. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Dance Studies Association and serves on the editorial boards of dance journals in China and South Korea. Actively engaged in Chinese-language arts and academic communities, Dr. Wilcox regularly lectures in Mandarin and produces projects involving artists and scholars from China. View Emily Wilcox’s C.V.

Dr. Wilcox teaches courses on modern Chinese studies, comparative Asian studies, and Asian performance culture. She advises master’s and doctoral students in a variety of degree programs and is currently accepting new students. For more information about graduate studies at the University of Michigan, learn about the PhD in Asian Languages and CulturesMA in Chinese StudiesGraduate Certificate in World Performance Studies, and MFA in Dance. If you are interested in applying to work with Dr. Wilcox, please email her directly at eewilcox@umich.edu for more information.

Research Interests

qualitative research
socialist culture