Matthew Hamm received a PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University in 2018 and an MA in Asian Studies from UBC in 2011. His dissertation research explored how philosophers of China’s Warring States period (475-221 BCE) articulated and propagated comprehensive philosophical programs for how individuals should live their daily lives.
His current research project at UBC explores how philosophers of the succeeding Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) developed those philosophical ways of life into guiding theories of state and society. In particular, the project focuses on those theories’ concern with anthropogenic influence on the world. It argues that a dialogue between Han theoretical frameworks and current debates over the “Anthropocene” (the claim that human influence has created a new geological epoch) may lead to the generation of novel solutions for contemporary environmental issues.