Maura Dykstra

Maura Dykstra joins Yale as Assistant Professor in the Department of History. She is a historian of Late Imperial China (1368-1912). She conducts research in several fields and subjects related to the history of governance, including the history of bureaucracy, economic history, legal history, and institutional history. Her dissertation surveyed commercial resolution tactics among Qing merchants. Her first book, Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine, offers a new, information-centered theory of the late imperial state by narrating the development of the Qing bureaucracy and its archive as intertwined processes. Her current book project elaborates this theory in the local administration of the nineteenth-century Qing.   

Dykstra has held residential fellowships at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Legal History and Legal Theory, the Taiwan National Library, Tokyo University Law School, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and Harvard University, among others. She is currently leading two international collaborative projects: the first is sponsored by the MPI for Legal History and Legal Theory and is focused on the evolution and study of a Chinese legal tradition; the second project is supported by the Hamburg University Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures and takes the form of a working group studying and creating a research methodology for Bureaucratic Written Artefacts. She earned her B.A. at California State University, Sacramento after dropping out of college at the age of 17 to work for several years in the booming tech industry of late-1990s San Francisco. She graduated with her Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in 2014. She comes to Yale after six years on the faculty of Caltech in Pasadena, California.