Alexis Lycas

Postdoctoral Fellow (Sep 2017-Aug 2020)


I received my PhD in 2015 from the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE, 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 (INALCO).

My past and current research explores the history and geography of Early and Medieval China, the history of Chinese geographical thought, the 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, geographical fragments and manuscripts, official geographical treatises, ethnographical texts, and excavated documents from Southern China.

Within department III, my research focuses on geographical fragments composed before the printing era. I am also completing my first monograph, which deals with the historical representation and political integration of southern peoples in the Chinese polity between the Han and Tang dynasties.



Chinese Local Geography before Local Gazetteers 


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A Medieval Geographical Manuscript from Dunhuang: The Illustrated Itineraries of Shazhou (Shazhou tujing)


The Memory of Space in Li Daoyuan’s Shuijing Zhu