Rebecca Corbett

Director, Special Projects & Japanese Studies Librarian
USC Libraries East Asian Library (EAL)
Office: DML 115, MC: 1825

Research Areas

Rebecca Corbett’s research interests include the history and practice of Japanese tea culture (chanoyu), and early modern Japanese women’s history. In particular, her work has focused on reevaluating the role of women as practitioners and producers of Japanese tea culture historically. Her book Cultivating Femininity: Women and Tea Culture in Edo and Meiji Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2018) analyses privately circulated and commercially published texts to show how tea practice for women was understood, articulated, and promoted from the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries. Her current project is a biographical study of the Buddhist nun and artist Tagami Kikusha (1753-1826). This work will examine both her life in the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries, and the transmission of her work in modern Japan. Other interests include the role of traditional culture in modern Japan, and in shaping ideas about Japan internationally.


Rebecca Corbett is the Director, Special Projects for the Specialized Collections Portfolio, Japanese Studies Librarian in the East Asian Library, and Curator of the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection in Special Collections. 

As Director, Special Projects, Dr. Corbett supports the use of under-used archival and other primary collections at USC Libraries, particularly within the Music, East Asian, Cinematic Arts, and Special Collections Libraries, and ONE Archives, which together comprise the Specialized Collections Portfolio.

As Japanese Studies Librarian Dr. Corbett provides reference and liaison services to support research, teaching, and learning in Japanese Studies. As an historian, Dr. Corbett works particularly closely with faculty and students to build on our strength in the study of premodern history, religion, and culture through the Project for Premodern Japan Studies. She also works with colleagues in Special Collections to manage Japanese rare books housed at USC Libraries and has a particular interest in the history of the book as a material object in East Asia. 

As Curator of the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection Dr. Corbett provides research services, instruction, and collection management. 

Dr Corbett is an affiliate faculty member of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions & Culture and works with them to plan and host events of interest to the Japanese Studies community at USC. She is also a member of the Council on East Asian Libraries Committee on Japanese Materials (2020-2023), Librarian Representative (2020-2023) and member of the Executive Committee (2022-2023) on the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources ​​​.


Ph.D., Japanese Studies, The University of Sydney, 2009

B.A. (Hons), Asian Studies, The University of Sydney, 2004


Awards and Fellowships:

Japanese Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University, 2013-2015

Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), 2006-2007

Australian Postgraduate Award, The University of Sydney, 2004-2008

Subject Matter Expertise

  • Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection
  • Japanese Studies