Nicolas Tackett



PhD, Columbia University (2006)

Dissertation: "The Transformation of Medieval Chinese Elites"

MA, Columbia University (2002)

BS, Stanford University (1998)

Research Interests

Chinese elite society (7th to 12th centuries), meritocracy / Song political culture, Northeast Asian interstate relations (10th-13th c.), frontiers, nationalism, death and death rituals, Tang capital cities

Academic Appointments

Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2018-present)

Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2013-2018)

Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2009-2013)

Teaching Fellow, IHUM Program, Stanford University (2008-2009)

Lecturer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2006-2007)

Selected Honors & Awards

ACLS Fellowship (2019)

NEH Fellowship (2019)

Guggenheim Fellowship (2018)

James Henry Breasted Prize (2015)

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship (2014-2015)

UC President's Faculty Research Fellowship (2011-2012)

IHUM Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University (2008-2009)

Getty Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2008)

Fulbright Hays DDRA Fellowship (2004-2005)

Columbia Traveling Fellowship (2002-2003)

Phi Beta Kappa, Stanford University (1997)


Undergraduate Courses

History 1: Global History
History 6A: History of China: Origins to the Mongol Conquest
History 116G: Imperial China and the World
History 116G: Imperial China and the World
History 103: Frontier History
History 103: Precursors of Modern Nationalism
History 103: Chinese Nationalism and Ethnicity in Historical Context

Graduate Courses

History 275: Tang-Song China
History 280: Asian Nationalisms
History 280: Borders and Ethnicity in Pre-Modern China
History 285U: Digital Approaches to History


Prosopographic and Social Network Database of the Tang and Five Dynasties 唐五代人物傳記與社會網絡資料庫 (1.0版) <tbdb010.mdb> (Prosopographic and Social Network Database of the Tang and Five Dynasties, version 1.0). Includes data on over 32,000 individuals culled from biographies, genealogical tables, and over 3,000 excavated tomb epitaphs.
Database of Tang, Song, and Liao Tombs 唐宋遼墓葬數據庫 (1.0版) (Database of Tang, Song, and Liao Tombs, version 1.0) <TSLT010.mdb>. Includes data on over 1,700 excavated tombs (currently mostly from Northeast China). Guide to the database here.


"Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy" by Nicolas Tackett

The Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy

Supplementary materials:

  1. Prosopographic and Social Network Database. <tbdb010.mdb> See above for description of the database.
  2. Table of cited epitaphs.
"Origins of the Chinese Nation" by Nicolas Tackett

The Origins of the Chinese Nation: Song China and the Forging of an East Asian World Order

Supplementary materials:

  1. Database of Tang, Song, and Liao Tombs.
    See above for description and guide to the database.
  2. Database of Song Policymakers and Diplomats.
    <SPaD010.mdb> Contains basic data on Northern and Southern Song members of the council of state, as well as Northern Song diplomats (ambassadors and deputy ambassadors to Liao, plus escorts accompanying Liao ambassadors). Guide to the database here.
  3. Original Chinese of all translated text.
  4. Bibliography with Chinese characters.
  5. Complete original footnotes. (with Chinese characters, more detailed citation information, and additional random and extraneous observations)


Imperial Elites, Bureaucracy, and the Transformation of the Geography of Power in Tang-Song China.” In Die Interaktion von Herrschern und Eliten in imperialen Ordnungen des Mittelalters, edited by Wolfram Drews, 170-190. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018.

"Spatial Organization of Chinese Imperial Government and Society." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Oxford University Press. Article published April 2018.

"晚唐河北人對宋初文化的影響:以喪葬文化、語音、以及新興精英風貌為例" (The Impact of Late Tang Hebei on the Development of Early Song Elite Culture). Tang yanjiu 唐研究 19 (2013): 251-281.

"The Great Wall and Conceptualizations of the Border under the Northern Song." Journal of Song Yuan Studies 38 (2008): 99-138.

"Great Clansmen, Bureaucrats, and Local Magnates: The Structure and Circulation of the Elite in Late-Tang China." Asia Major 3rd ser. 21.2 (2008): 101-152.

Selected Papers & Lectures

“Political Elites and Marriage Networks in Tang China (7th-9th c.).” Conference for Studies in Late Antiquity, Santa Barbara, May 18, 2018.

“Political Fragmentation, Elite Migrations, and Cultural Change across the Tang-Song Interregnum.” Tang-Song Transition Workshop, Columbia University, April 7, 2018.

“中古中国社会与门阀大族” (Medieval Chinese Society and the Great Aristocratic Families). Book talk organized by the Social Sciences Academic Press, Beijing, June 19, 2017.

“唐帝国的覆灭与门阀大族” (The Collapse of the Tang Empire and the Great Aristocratic Families). Book talk organized by the Social Sciences Academic Press, Beijing, June 18, 2017.

“宋辽时代丧葬文化与族群意识” (Mortuary Culture and Ethnic Consciousness during the Song-Liao Period). Department of Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, June 5, 2017.

“Approaches to the Geography of Political Power in Tang China.” Conference for Studies in Late Antiquity, Santa Barbara, May 20, 2017.

“Elite Culture, Cosmopolitan Travel, and the Origins of a National Consciousness in Northern Song (960-1127) China.” Princeton University, January 19, 2017

“黄巢兵亂後政治精英移民: 反映在10世紀與宋初的筆記” (Migration of Political Elites Post-Huang Chao Rebellion: As Reflected in Tenth-Century and Early Song Biji). Tsing-hua University (Taiwan), December 18, 2016

“唐宋的政治權力地理: 數據化歷史的方法” (Tang-Song Geography of Political Power: A Digital History Approach). Tsing-hua Univiersity (Taiwan), December 16, 2016 [Transcript published in 早期中國史研究(Early and Medieval Chinese History)]

“The Changing Geography of Power from the Late Tang to the Tenth Century.” Conference “Making Connections: Contemporary Approaches to the Tang Dynasty,” Sarasota, FL, November 12, 2016

“Representing the Localist Turn with GIS.” Conference “In Song and Story” at Columbia University, June 2, 2016.

“Elite Families, Political Legitimation, and the Geography of Power across the Tang-Song Transition.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, April 2, 2016.

“The Structure of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy, with a Particular Focus on Marriage Networks and Geographic Dispersal during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).” Princeton University, March 9, 2016.

"Bureaucracy, Imperial Elites, and the Geography of Political Power in Tang-Song China." Conference on "The Interaction between Rulers and Elites in Imperial Systems between Late Antiquity and the Early Modern Period," University of Münster, June 12, 2015.

"Cosmopolitan Travelers and the Origins of a National Consciousness among Elites of Northern Song China." University of Leiden, June 8, 2015.

"Les voyageurs cosmopolites et l'origine d'une conscience nationale chinoise." École des hautes études en sciences sociales, June 3, 2015.

"Les frontières militaires et politiques au cours du XIe siècle." École des hautes études en sciences sociales, May 22, 2015.

"La paix et l'esprit de revanche dans les discours des élites des Song du Nord." École des hautes études en sciences sociales, May 20, 2015.

"Les réseaux sociaux des fonctionnaires chinois au neuvième siècle." École des hautes études en sciences sociales, May 13, 2015.

"The Geography of Power in Late Tang China." University of Melbourne, July 29, 2014.

"A New Perspective on the Great Clans of the Late Tang." Australian National University, July 21, 2014.

"Chinese Bureaucratic Elites, Their Social Networks, and the Geography of Power across the Tang-Song Transition." International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 9, 2014.

"Mapping Localism: New Data on the Geographic Redistribution of Political Elites across the Tang-Song Transition." Conference on Middle Period China, Harvard University, June 6, 2014.

"晚唐河北对宋初文化的影响" (The Impact of Late Tang Hebei on Early Song Culture). Peking Univerity, June 29, 2013.

"十一世纪东北亚的丧葬文化与族群认同" (Mortuary Culture and Ethnic Identity in Eleventh-Century Northeast Asia). Minzu University of China, June 6, 2013.

"晚唐的权力地理" (The Geography of Power in the Late Tang) (in Chinese). Minzu University of China, May 16, 2013.

"Description of Tang Prosopographic Data / Using Data in Research." Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, March 23, 2013.

"Social Networks and Factional Strife among the Bureaucratic Aristocracy of Ninth-Century China." American Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 5, 2013.

"Political Power and the Social Network of Late Tang Elites." China Humanities Seminar, Harvard University, October 15, 2012.

"The Great Wall in History and Memory." Beijing Language and Culture University, June 6, 2012.

"Geographic Relocation and the Exploitation by Late Tang Elites of Capital-Based Social Networks." Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, March 16, 2012.

"Upheavals in Medieval China: Assessing the Impacts of the An Lushan and Huang Chao Rebellions." East Asia Center, University of Virginia, November 18, 2011.

"Tang Colonialism and Song Localism: An Alternative Model of Elite-State Competition." Melbourne Conference on China (on theme of "Chinese Elites and their Rivals), July 20, 2010.

"Travelers through a Contested Landscape: Eleventh-Century Yan and the Bounding of the Chinese Ecumene." American Oriental Society Annual Meeting, March 13, 2010.

"Delimiting the Chinese Realm: International Borders in Eleventh-Century North Asia." Stanford University, October 29, 2009.

"Cultural Diffusion and Hybridization along the Song-Liao Frontier." Silkroad Foundation Seminar on China's Northern Frontier, Chaoyang, Liaoning Province, July 31, 2009.

"Harvesting and Interpreting Biographic, Epigraphic, and Genealogic Data for Middle-Period Prosopography." First International Workshop on Biographical Databases for China's History, Harvard University, November 21, 2008.

"The People of Yan: Regional Identity in a Trans-Cultural and Trans-Ethnic Zone." Conference on Translocal and Transregional Dynamics in Chinese History, National University of Singapore, May 13, 2008.

"Demic Diffusion and Trans-Cultural Innovation in Middle Period Chinese Mortuary Culture." Getty Research Institute, April 14, 2008.

"The Great Wall, Border Linearization, and the Topography of the Song Frontier." University of Tennessee, Knoxville, January 26, 2007.

Professor Nicolas Tackett


2212 Dwinelle Hall

Office Hours