Phillip Grimberg

 Phillip Grimberg
  • Chinese Studies/Sinology

Areas of Expertise:
Cultural history of late imperial China; Material culture; Collecting and elite cultures; cultural heritage; Antiquarianism and the history of archaeology in China; Memory culture; Catalogues and connoisseurial literature

since 2023


University of Heidelberg & Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Centre for East Asian Studies, Department of Sinology - Joint Centre for Advanced Studies "Worldmaking from a Global Perspective”, Voßstraße 2,
69115 Heidelberg,

+49 (06221) 54-15310
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About me

I am a cultural historian interested in the interplay of material culture, collecting, and elite cultures as well as antiquarianism and early practices of archaeology in Late Imperial (11th-19th century) China. My current research focusses on the private art collections of the Qing-Emperor Yongzheng (1723-1735) and their use as tools for cultural and political propaganda. In addition, I work on the role of cultural heritage and cultural diplomacy in modern and contemporary China as well as on the influence of climate change on heritage protection and policymaking.

Currently, I am the Principal Investigator of the research project “Guwantu – Die ‘Illustrationen antiker Kuriosa’ des Yongzheng-Kaisers (1723-1735). Ein Beispiel höfischer Sammlungspraxis und -dokumentation in der Qing-Zeit“ at the University of Heidelberg as well as Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. 

The intellectual freedoms and possibilities for personal and professional growth count among the biggest benefits afforded by a membership in AGYA. 

AGYA’s inherent interdisciplinarity and collaborative structure allow me to interact with scholars from diverse backgrounds on an equal footing and to think outside of the box. 

Academic career
2023 - todayFellow of The Royal Historical Society, University College London, United Kingdom
2021 - todayPI in the Project “Guwantu – Die „Illustrationen antiker Kuriosa“ des Yongzheng-Kaisers (1723-1735). Ein Beispiel höfischer Sammlungspraxis und -dokumentation in der Qing-Zeit“, Thyssen-Foundation, University of Heidelberg, Germany
2021Habilitation in Chinese Studies and appointment as Associate Professor (Privatdozent) at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2019 - 2020Fellow IKGF "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication" at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2019Guest Professor in Chinese Studies, University of Naples L’Orientale, Italy
2018 - 2019Deputy Professor in Chinese Studies, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2015 - 2017Postdoc, Goethe University Frankfurt, DFG Graduate School “Value and Equivalence”, Germany
2014PhD in Chinese Studies, University of Cologne (summa cum laude), Germany
2009 - 2014Research Associate and PhD Candidate in Chinese studies, Universities of Bonn and Cologne, Germany
2008M.A. in Chinese Studies and International Public Law, University of Cologne, Germany
My Commitment to AGYA
Member of the AGYA Steering Committee since 2023
Member in Charge of the Working Group 'Common Heritage and Common Challenges' since 2023

On a personal note

Must read in my discipline:
Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China by Craig Clunas

Favourite novel:
Blumenberg by Sybille Lewitscharoff

The scientist from my country you should know:
Luise Straus Ernst, Art History (murdered in Auschwitz 1944)