Lan Wu


  • Associate Professor of History
  • on leave spring 2024
Lan Wu

Lan's research interests lie in the intersection of religion and state formation in early modern China. Her book, "Common Ground: Tibetan Buddhist Expansion and Qing China's Inner Asia," was published by Columbia University Press in August 2022. It approaches to Qing China from ground up and explores how marginal communities in Inner Asia availed themselves of state resources as the expanding empire took shape in the eighteenth century. Lan’s archival research trips have taken her to various libraries, archives, and monasteries in Asia and North America in recent years.

At Mount Holyoke College, Lan offers introductory courses on China and East Asia as well as specialized courses on gender and the Silk Road. She is affiliated with the Asian Studies Program.

Additional publications may be found on Lan Wu's website.

Areas of Expertise

Borderlands, ethnicity, and state formation in China; early modern empires, transnational history in East Asia; Buddhism in East Asia


  • Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A., Columbia University
  • BA East China Jiaotong University, PRC

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

Six Mount Holyoke College faculty members have been selected as recipients of the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship. The awards will fund travel to further advance their studies, leading to increased opportunities for students.

Erin Hancock ’20’s lifelong interest in weaving and folk arts came together when she found a 200-year-old loom in Mount Holyoke College’s Skinner Museum.

Recent Publications

Tuttle, G., & Wu, L. (2021). Tibetan Buddhist Vanguards among the Mongols and Manchus, 1576- 1638. Revue d’Etudes Tibétaine, (61), 276-299.

Wu, L. (Nov., 2023). An Epistolary Buddhist Network between Lhasa and Beijing in the 1740s. In Beyond the Silk and Book Roads (pp. 230–253). Brill.

Wu, L. (2022). Common ground: Tibetan Buddhist expansion and Qing China’s Inner Asia. Columbia University Press.

Recent Honors

Wu, L. On August 19, Lan Wu and Dr. Ling-Wei Kung from Taiwan's Academia Sinica organized an international workshop at Columbia University. The workshop brought together 11 scholars to explore the topic of border crossings during China's Ming period (1368-1644). The James P. Geiss & Margaret Y Hsu Foundation from NJ, USA funded the workshop while the Provost Office, particularly the Grant Office, sponsored it. The Modern Tibetan Studies Program of Columbia University also offered support. Lan expresses gratitude to all those who supported the workshop.

View More