Michael J. Puett

Non-resident Long-term Fellow for Programmes in Anthropological and Historical Sciences
and the Languages and Civilizations of East Asia, SCAS.
Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology, Harvard University

Michael J. Puett is Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology at Harvard
University. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from the Department of Anthropology at the University
of Chicago.

Puett’s interests are focused on the inter-relations between history, anthropology, philosophy, and
religion, with the hope of bringing the study of China into larger historical and comparative frame-
works. His books include The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice
in Early China
(2001), in which he considers debates about the conditions under which it is acceptable
for humans to create anew, and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in
Early China
(2002), in which he reconstructs long-running debates in early China about the proper
relationship between humans and gods. He is the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller and
Bennett Simon, of Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (2008). In 2016,
Puett was elected foreign member of the ‘Class for humanities and for outstanding services to science’
of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

While at SCAS, he is completing a project on re-thinking approaches to global history.



This information is accurate as of the academic year 2020-21