Iris Ma

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs; Associate Teaching Professor

Iris Ma

Office of the Dean
1010U Jenkins Nanovic Halls
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-7408

Iris Ma

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs; Associate Teaching Professor


Literary and cultural history of late imperial China and the modern Chinese-speaking world; Chinese cinema; women’s and gender studies; history and storytelling


At the Keough School

Iris Ma serves as assistant dean for academic affairs and as a member of the dean’s leadership team, which oversees and directs the strategic planning of the Keough School. Ma also oversees the daily operation and supervises staff in both the graduate and undergraduate academic programs. She leads the course management team, which coordinates and is responsible for course planning, creation, and scheduling, and approves the course schedule each semester.

Ma also assists the associate dean for academic affairs in managing the faculty reappointment, promotion, and tenure processes. She serves on various Keough School committees as well as on university-level committees such as the University Academic Code and Policy Committee, University Code of Honor Committee, University Council for Academic Technologies. She is a faculty fellow of the Keough School’s Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.

Research and Publications

In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Ma teaches courses and conducts research on Chinese history and culture. She is a trained literary and cultural historian specializing in late imperial China and the modern Chinese-speaking world. Her work engages with questions related to gender, popular religion, Cross-Strait cultural exchange, and “Chinese-ness,” and investigates how the past has shaped and continues to influence the contemporary Chinese-speaking world.

Ma’s research examines Chinese narrative tradition and cultural products generated in print, on screen, and in cyberspace in an effort to better understand and explain how ideas, particularly popular perceptions of and responses to socio-political changes, were created, disseminated, and appropriated through popular writing and viewing. She has published articles in top peer-reviewed journals including Modern Chinese Literature and Culture and Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture ReviewHer chapter on the making of Taiwanese martial arts literature recently appeared in the edited volume Positioning Taiwan in a Global Context: Being and Becoming (Routledge, 2019). She is currently working on her first book, which examines the metamorphosis of Chinese martial arts literature and culture from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.


Prior to arriving at Notre Dame in 2019, Ma was a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and a visiting assistant professor at Southwestern University, where she conducted research and taught courses on China. In 2017, she taught Chinese history at Peking University in China.

Ma holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), an MA from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and a BA from Fudan University (Shanghai, China).