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Director of Asian Studies, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies

Research Topics

  • Modern China
  • East Asia
  • Legal History
  • Economic History
  • Diplomatic History

Current Research Project

In the Shadows of the Bamboo Curtain: Underground Economies across Greater China during the Cold War”

This project presents a transnational history of the Greater China economy—Communist China, Nationalist Taiwan, British Hong Kong, and Portuguese Macao—during the Cold War from 1945 to 1991. It reconstructs a vast world of informal connections and shadow economies forged by actors like front companies, merchants, fishermen, and travelers. Besides revealing a hidden history overlooked by research on high diplomacy, this project examines the creative ways actors negotiated a tangled web of domestic strictures and international embargoes to truck, barter, and exchange. Analyzing how the Cold War cordon was constructed, enforced, and violated, it engages with key issues in international, Chinese, and economic history while rethinking the dynamic interplay between geopolitics and everyday life.

Recent News/Publications/Talks

Affiliated Research Center:

Undergraduate Research Projects:

  • Julia Harvey (CSSH), “Unsustainable Practices: How China and America Caused the Scrap Trade Panic,” Asian Studies Capstone, Fall 2019
  • Seaton Huang (CSSH), “Mobile Payments and Wealth: An Analysis of Structural Inequality in China in the Wake of Widespread Technological Development,” Asian Studies Capstone, Spring 2019
  • Theresa Jacobs (CSSH), “Understanding Dissent in the People Republic of China: Analyzing the Possibilities and Limitations of Public Dissent in China,” Asian Studies Honors Project, Fall 2014

Past Research Topics: