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 examines early Western involvement in and writings about chanoyu tea culture during the 1870s-1890s.
Rebecca Corbett is the Director, Special Projects for the Specialized Collections Portfolio, and Japanese Studies Librarian in the East Asian Library. She also holds an appointment as Senior Lecturer in History in the USC Dornsife Van Hunnick History Department.
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.
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 Chair of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Council of Conferences and AAS Board of Directors member (2023-2025).
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