Dr. Emily Teo


Gastwissenschaftlerin (Forschungszentrum Gotha (FZG))


nach Vereinbarung


Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha


Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha

Curriculum Vitae

Research Fellowship of the University of Erfurt

Freie Universität Berlin/ DAAD Principles of Cultural Dynamics Global Humanities Junior Research and Teaching Stay—Chinese University of Hong Kong 

Herzog Ernst Research Fellowship of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Gotha Research Centre 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate: Text and Event in Early Modern Europe
Dissertation: A Comparative History of Travel: Late-Ming and Early Modern Travel Writers in China (1550-1644)
(University of Kent, Freie Universität Berlin)

Master of Arts (MA) in Global Studies
Erasmus Mundus Masters Scholarship
Universität Wien, Fudan University, Universität Leipzig

Bachelor of Arts (Honours 2nd upper) in European Studies
National University of Singapore, Universität Freiburg (Exchange Semester)


My current project researches collections of Chinese objects in Germanic regions from 1700 to 1900. In Gotha, I am particularly interested in the Chinese Cabinet established by Duke August (1772-1822) from 1804 to 1810. Having never travelled to Asia, Duke August’s knowledge of China was gleaned from the travel and ethnographic books in his personal library. Chinese objects were acquired at great expense from leading auction houses in London and Paris. Duke August’s efforts ensured that the Chinese Cabinet in Gotha was the second-most important collection of Chinese objects—second only to London.

My research takes an interdisciplinary and multimedia approach towards analysing ethnographic collections, studying Chinese-European global connections through textual and material sources, and their mutual interactions. I argue that early modern European travel texts on China were written with a careful attention to Chinese objects—travel writers carefully described foodstuffs, textiles and artworks. This in turn contributed to a wider fascination with Chinese objects in Europe. I intend to explore the dialogic relationship between travel texts and personal collections, discussing how reading practices informed personal taste and a desire to collect the exotic objects described in travel literature. The project also investigates the multiple functions of ethnographic collections: to display the wealth and taste of the collector, but to also serve a didactic function, educating its audience about China through beholding its wares.


‘Silk, Lacquerware and Lychees: Chinese Objects in Sixteenth Century Travel Accounts’ in Nomadic Objects : Material Circulations, Appropriations and the Formation of Identities 1500-1800, ed. Ariane Fennetaux, Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise and Nancy Oddo, 2019 (forthcoming)

‘An Exchange of Sorts’ in Changing Tides and Changing Ties: Anchoring Asia-Europe Relations in Challenging Times, ed. Yeo Lay Hwee and Barnard Turner. Singapore: EU Centre in Singapore, 2012.