Dr. Emily Teo


Projektmitarbeiterin (Forschungszentrum Gotha)


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


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

Dr. Emily Teo

Curriculum Vitae

Research Project on "Strategien des Sammelns und der Darstellung Chinas im Deutschland des 19. Jahrhunderts: Gothas Chinesisches Kabinett", DFG funding, Gotha Research Center

Research Fellowships at the Francke Foundations Halle and the National Museum of Singapore

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)

Research Profile

My research focuses on Chinese-European cultural interconnections in the early modern period till the nineteenth century. My current project is concerned with the historical, cultural and social processes which informed the widespread practice of collecting East Asian objects in nineteenth-century Germany. In particular, I explore how travel and ethnographic texts about China informed the collectors’ strategies of acquisition and display. In Gotha, I am working specifically on the history of the Chinese Cabinet, once a leading Chinese collection in Europe, that was located in the Friedenstein Palace.

I am a graduate of the Erasmus Mundus PhD programme ‘Text and Event in Early Modern Europe’, with the dissertation ‘A Comparative History of Travel: Late-Ming and Early Modern Travel Writers in China (1550-1644)’. My study explored the simultaneous flourishing of travel and print in early modern Europe and late-Ming China, and compared the varying cultural practices of travelling and writing about travel within the same geographic space (Ming China).

Research Project

My research project, ‘Strategies of Collecting and Displaying China in Nineteenth-Century Germany: Gotha’s Chinese Cabinet’ brings renewed attention to a significant Chinese collection in early-nineteenth-century Germany, the Chinese Cabinet in Gotha, established by Duke Emil August (1772–1822) of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg from 1804 to 1810. Consisting of over 2000 objects, the Cabinet was a great sensation during the first decades of the nineteenth-century and was described as the most important Chinese collection in continental Europe. However, following the establishment of national museums across European metropoles in the late-nineteenth century, smaller, regional collections such as the Chinese Cabinet gradually faded from memory. Despite its former fame, this collection is scarcely heard of today.

The project argues that the Chinese Cabinet deserves further scholarly attention and takes a micro-historical approach to investigate the historical, cultural and social processes behind its creation. In doing so, this project offers new conclusions about the history of collections in nineteenth-century Germany, German perceptions and representations of China, and the provenance of Chinese objects during the early-nineteenth century.


Soie, laques et lychees: Culture matérielle chinoise dans les récits de voyage européens à l’époque moderne, in: Ariane Fennetaux, Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise, Nancy Oddo (eds.) Objets Nomades: Circulations matérielles et appropriations à l’âge de la première mondialisation (16e-18e siècles). Turnhout 2021, pp. 133-149.

Travel Writing and Masculinity in Late-Ming China: Yuan Zhongdao’s Records of Travelling and Dwelling, in: Gigi Adair, Lenka Filipova (eds.): Encountering Difference: New Perspectives on Genre, Travel and Gender. Wilmington 2020, pp. 109-122.

An Exchange of Sorts, in: Yeo Lay Hwee, Barnard Turner (eds.): Changing Tides and Changing Ties: Anchoring Asia-Europe Relations in Challenging Times. Singapore 2012.