Department of History

Carla Nappi

Carla Nappi joins us in Fall 2018 as Mellon Professor of History. Dr. Nappi is a historian of China in early modernity specializing in the history of science and health, the history of translation, and historical pataphysics. (You can ask her about that last one when you meet her!) She spends much of her time working with Chinese and Manchu-language documents.

Professor Nappi conceives of academic scholarly work as an art practice, and frequently experiments with the different forms that work can take. Come talk with her, for example, about podcasting and the metamorphoses that voicing brings to a text, or about working with fiction and poetry as part of historical writing, or about using digital DJ equipment as a compositional tool for translating documents and writing histories with them. (The latter will occupy much of her attention in the 2018-2019 academic year, along with finishing a book-length version of the short fiction project In the meantime she is finishing up an academic book monograph on translation in early modern China, and two collaborative fiction/poetry projects: a reimagining of Plato’s Symposium that centers the voices of women, and a book of short fiction inspired by Vilém Flusser’s theory of gesture. You can follow along at her personal website (, which will be fabulously updated during the summer of 2018.