Derk Bodde (March 9, 1909 – November 3, 2003) was an American sinologist and historian of China known for his pioneering work on the history of the Chinese legal system.

Derk Bodde
Born(1909-03-09)March 9, 1909
DiedNovember 3, 2003(2003-11-03) (aged 94)
Academic work
DisciplineChinese history
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania

Bodde received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1930. He spent six years (1931-1937) studying in China on a fellowship. He earned a doctorate in Chinese Studies from the University of Leiden March 3, 1938.[1]The title description of his thesis is: China’s first unifier, a study of the Chín dynasty as seen in the life of Li Ssŭ (280?-208 B.C.) ... door Derk Bodde ... – Leiden : E.J. Brill, 1938. - viii, 270 p. front (facsim.) 24 ½ cm.[2] When the Fulbright scholarship program was initiated in 1948, Bodde was the first American recipient of a one-year fellowship, which he spent studying in Beijing.

He spent several decades as Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a president of the American Oriental Society (1968–69).


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jaarboek der Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden 1938. Promotiën - 20 September 1937 tot 18 September 1938 - Doctoraat Letteren en Wijsbegeerten, p. 149.
  2. ^ NUC: 0577262, DLC, ICRL.
  3. ^ Association for Asian Studies (AAS), 1985 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies; retrieved 2011-05-31


  • Le Blanc, Charles (2003). "Derk Bodde (1909–2003)" (PDF). Early China. 28: vii–x. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  • Martin, Douglas (November 13, 2003). "Derk Bodde, 94, a Longtime Scholar on China". New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  • Rickett, W. Allyn (October 2003). "In Memoriam: Derk Bodde (1909-2003)". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 123 (4): 711–13. JSTOR 3589964.