Zekun Zhang is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. Her research interest focuses on social history in middle period China and East Asia broadly. Her dissertation studies the legal and administrative regulations of slavery and how the states enforced them in different regions of the Tang empire (618-907). Her project aims to distill the political logic of the Tang state in ruling its slave population and explain the waxing and waning of Tang state power in light of its policies concerning slavery.
Zekun’s dissertation looks at the practices of slavery in four regions: 1) The two capital cities of Luoyang and Chang’an; 2) Dunhuang and Turfan in northwestern China; 3) the Lingnan region in southern China; 4) The borderlands between Tang China and the Koguryŏ (37 BC-668 AD) and Unified Silla (668-935) kingdoms.
Zekun grew up in Shanxi, China, a place famous for noodles and coal mines. She did her undergraduate study in the History Department of Peking University and MA in Yenching Academy, PKU. She studied at Taiwan National Chengchi University and University of Toronto as an exchange student. From October 2020 to June 2022, Zekun conducted fieldwork in South Korea, with the support of the Korea Foundation and the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies.