Alexis Lycas

Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellows are early career scholars who are ordinarily no more than five years past the granting of the doctorate and who are financed in part or in whole by the MPIWG. These scholars carry minor responsibilities (no more than 10% of their time) within their research unit.
Department III
September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2020

I received my PhD in 2015 from the École pratique des hautes études (Paris), with a dissertation entitled “Representing space in Early Medieval Chinese texts: a political, human and cultural geography of Jingzhou.” It focused on how a peripheral region could be situated within the Chinese empire, and addressed issues of frontier regionality, multipolarity, political and military struggles, cultural descriptions of “otherness,” as well as physical and literary experiences of space driven by time and memory. Before coming to the MPIWG, I was a lecturer at EPHE, the Université Paris Diderot and the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales.

My past and current research explores the history and geography of Early and Medieval China, the history of Chinese geographical thought, representation of space, the imperial integration of the Chinese South, and local history. Focusing on material written from the Han to the Tang dynasties, the texts I mostly use include early geographical monographs such as the Shuijing zhu (Water Classic Commentary) and the Huayang guo zhi (Records of the States South of Mount Hua), geographical fragments, official geographical treatises, ethnographical texts, and excavated documents from Southern China.

Within department III, my research focuses on Early Medieval geographical fragments. I am also completing my first monograph, which will deal with the representation and integration of the Southern barbarians in Early Medieval China.



Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin