Robert Joe Cutter, Ph.D.

Professor, Chinese, Retired
Headshot of Robert Cutter


Robert Joe Cutter is a native of Yuma, Arizona. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Arizona. In 1983, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. From 1983 until 2005, he was a professor in the department of East Asian languages and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he served for a time as department chair and as director of the Center for East Asian Studies. In 2005, he moved to Arizona State University. At ASU he served for 11 years as founding director of the School of International Letters & Cultures. He is an emeritus professor of both UW-Madison and ASU. Cutter has also been active in his field of Chinese studies and among other posts, is a past president of the American Oriental Society, one of the oldest scholarly organizations in the U.S. His primary field of teaching and research is early medieval Chinese literature.

Research interests

  • Early and medieval Chinese literature and history, with special emphasis on the writings of the Han and early medieval periods

Recent publications

  • “San guo zhi 三國志.” In Early Medieval Chinese Texts: A Bibliographic Guide, edited by Cynthia Chennault et al. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2015.
  • “Shen Who Couldn’t Write: Literary Relationships at the Court of Liu Jun.” In Reading Medieval Chinese Poetry: Text, Context, and Culture, edited by Paul W. Kroll. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
  • “Letters and Memorials in the Third Century: The Case of Cao Zhi.” In Handbook of Chinese Letter Writing, edited by Antje Richter. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
  • “Gastropoetics in the Jian’an Period: Food and Memory in Early Medieval China.” Early Medieval China 24 (2018): 1–23.

Courses taught

Arizona State University

  • ASU 101: The ASU Experience
  • CHI 120: Introduction to Chinese Culture
  • CHI 307: Introduction to Literary Chinese
  • CHI 321: Chinese Literature
  • CHI 413: Introduction to Classical Chinese
  • CHI 494: Special Topics
  • CHI 500: Research Methods
  • CHI 514: Advanced Classical Chinese
  • CHI 598: Special Topics
  • CHI 691: Seminars
  • CHI 799: Dissertation
  • LIA 394: Special Topics
  • LIA 494: Special Topics
  • SLC 492: Honors Directed Study
  • SLC 493: Honors Thesis
  • SLC 590: Reading and Conference
  • SLC 690: Reading and Conference
  • SLC 691: Seminars


  • E Asian 201: Third-semester Chinese
  • E Asian 202: Fourth-semester Chinese
  • E Asian 322: First-year Classical Chinese
  • E Asian 350: Introduction to Taoism
  • E Asian 363: Introduction to Confucianism
  • E Asian 351: Survey of Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 352: Survey of Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 371: Topics in Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 651: History of Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 652: History of Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 682: Senior Honors Thesis
  • E Asian 701: Proseminar in Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 799: Reading for Research
  • E Asian 699: Directed Study
  • E Asian 951: Seminar in Chinese Literature
  • E Asian 990: Thesis Research
  • Litrans 261: Survey of Chinese Literature in Translation
  • Litrans 262: Survey of Chinese Literature in Translation

University of Colorado

  • CHIN 1051: Masterpieces of Chinese Literature in Translation
  • CHIN 3220: Readings in Classical Chinese
  • CHIN 4811: Worlds of Ancient and Medieval Chinese Poetry
  • CHIN 5220: Ancient Poetry


  • Ph.D., Asian languages and literatures (Chinese), University of Washington, 1983
  • M.A., oriental studies, University of Arizona, 1971
  • B.A., oriental studies, University of Arizona, 1969