Ariel Fox, Ph.D.

Director of Undergraduate Studies; Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Wieboldt 301J
Research Interests: Ming-Qing literature, especially vernacular fiction and drama; monetary history and the economic imaginary; late imperial practices of movement and dance


My work explores the intersection of literary and economic imaginaries in late imperial China. I am particularly interested in the ways in which dramatic forms provided the conceptual grounding for late imperial writers and audiences to negotiate a newly global economy. My first book, The Cornucopian Stage: Performing Commerce in Early Modern China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2023), examines the ways in which seventeenth-century playwrights recuperated commercial subjects and objects—like the merchant and his money—as narratively, morally, and socially productive.

Other current projects include tales of anthropomorphic money, the poetics and aesthetics of banknotes, and movement and gesture on the late imperial stage.

Selected Publications

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Dushu sheng and the Limits of Community in the Early Qing,” in The Cultural Other in Chinese Literature, special issue of Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 7.1 (April 2020): 149–166.

“Playing Against Type: The Moral Merchant on the Early Qing Stage,” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 6.2 (November 2019): 383–411.

“Precious Bodies: Money Transformation Stories from Medieval to Late Imperial China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 76.1 (2016): 43–85.



  • Beginning the Chinese Novel
  • Inventing the Chinese Short Story
  • Dream of the Red Chamber and Late Imperial China
  • Traditional East Asian Literature in Translation: Crime and Punishment
  • The Merchant in Chinese Literature, History, and Thought
  • Histories of Chinese Dance


  • City and Text in Late Imperial China
  • The Real and the Fake in Early Modern China
  • The Plays of the Suzhou School
  • The Human and Its Others in Early Modern China