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Armin Selbitschka

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Armin Selbitschka (December 5, 1975 in Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm) is a German Sinologist and archaeologist. He specializes in Chinese archeology and ancient Chinese history and he is particularly interested in social history and transcultural movement processes dating from the Shang Dynasty (approximately c. 1600 - 1046 B.C.E. ) until through the Yuan Dynasty (1279 -1368).[1]


After serving an apprenticeship as an electronic engineer (specializing in telecommunication) with Siemens in Munich (1992 to 1996) and alternative civilian service with Bavarian Red Cross (Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz) between 1996 to and 1997, Armin Selbitschka attended the upper vocational school (Bavaria) in Scheyern (1997 to 1999), in order to acquire his university entrance qualification (Abitur).

Beginning in 1999, he studied Sinology, Chinese art and archaeology, European pre- and early history (archaeology) as well as Japanology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). In 2005, he graduated with earning a Magister Atrium degree in Sinology. Between 2001 and 2002, he spent a semester at Sichuan University and took part in an archaeological teaching excavation in Farchant near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2002.

In 2008, Armin Selbitschka received a PhD in Sinology from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He was supported by a scholarship of the Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg ) “Forms of Prestige in Ancient Cultures” that was funded by the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG). His doctoral thesis was supervised by Thomas O. Höllmann, Hans van Ess, and Amei Lang.

Between 2008 and 2015, Armin Selbitschka was a fixed-term assistant professor (in the position of “Akademischer Rat auf Zeit”) at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) / visiting scholar at Stanford University (2012 to 2014). In the fall of 2015, he became Assistant Professor of Ancient Chinese History and Global Network Professor at New York University (NYU) campus in Shanghai and was simultaneously affiliated with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW). In 2018, Armin Selbitschka was appointed Professor (Chair) of Ancient Chinese History and Archaeology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

Armin Selbitschka has been a scout in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Henriette Herz scouting program since the end of 2021. He also received several short-term fellowships, for research stays at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing, as well as third-party funding for a research collaboration with members of the University of Cambridge.

Armin Selbitschka is a board member of the Society for the Study of Early China and the Early Medieval China Group. He is also on the editorial board of the book series Marco Polo: Studies for Global Europe-Asia Connections that is, published at Ca’ Foscari in Venice.

He has published numerous articles (peer review) in internationally highly regarded journals such as World Archeology, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Early China, Early Medieval China, Asia Major, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska museet), Asian Perspectives and Oriens Extremus. His work has also appeared in some German popular science outlets such as Antike Welt and a special volume of Damals.

Publications (Selection)[edit]

  • „Astana, Jiaohe and other Turfan Cemeteries: The Movement of People, Ideas, and Objects in Gaochang Kingdom (442-640)“. In The World of the Ancient Silk Road. Edited by Xinru Liu. London: Routledge, 2023 [2022], S. 276-292.
  • „Die Mär von den ‚Barbaren‘: Das chinesische Mittelalter“. In China: Das Reich der Mitte von den Anfängen bis heute. Hrsg. von DAMALS: Das Magazin für Geschichte und Kultur. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2020, S. 33-44.
  • „Tribute, Hostages, and Marriage Alliances: A Close Reading of Diplomatic Strategies in the Northern Wei Period“. Early Medieval China 25 (2019): 64-84.
  • „‚I Write, Therefore I Am‘: Scribes, Literacy and Identity in Early China“. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 78.2 (2018): 413-476.
  • „Sacrifice vs. Sustenance: Food as a Burial Good in Late Pre-Imperial and Early Imperial Chinese Tombs and Its Relation [to] Funerary Rites“. Early China 41 (2018): 179-243
  • „Genuine Prestige Goods in Mortuary Contexts: Emulation in Polychrome Silk and Byzantine Solidi from Northern China“. Asian Perspectives 57.1 (2018): 2-50.
  • „The Pitfalls of Second-hand Information: On the Traditionalist Dogma in Chinese Excavation Reports“. Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 79-80 (2018 [2020]): 31-72.
  • „The Early Silk Road(s)“. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Edited by David Ludden. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • „A Tricky Game: A Re-evaluation of Liubo 六博 Based on Archaeological and Textual Evidence“. Oriens Extremus 55 (2016) [2018]: 105-166.
  • „Miniature Tomb Figurines and Models in Pre-imperial and Early Imperial China: Origins, Development, and Significance“. World Archaeology 47.1 (2015): 20-44.
  • „Early Chinese Diplomacy: Realpolitik vs. the so-called Tributary System“. Asia Major, Third Series, 28.1 (2015): 61-114.
  • “Prestigegüter entlang der Seidenstraße? Archäologische und historische Untersuchungen zu Chinas Beziehungen zu Kulturen des Tarimbeckens vom zweiten bis frühen fünften Jahrhundert nach Christus”. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010. = Asiatische Forschungen 154.
  • „Moxing mingqi suo miaohui de Han dai Lingnan diqu de richang shenghuo“ 模型明器所描繪的漢代岭南地區的日常生活. In Xi Han Nanyue guo kaogu yu Han wenhua 西漢南越國考古与漢文化. Hrsg. von Zhongguo Shehui Kexueyuan Kaogu Yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古研究所und Guangzhou shi Wenwu Kaogu Yanjiusuo 廣州市文物考古研究所. Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2010, S. 177-205
  • „Von anständigen Kindern und fliegenden Kranichen. Wandmalereien in mongolenzeitlichen Gräbern Chinas“. Antike Welt 35.1 (2004): 3-9.



  1. Selbitschka, Armin. "Armin Selbitschka Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Institute of Sinology LMU. Retrieved 11 December 2023.

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