I am a specialist in Chinese history interested in a wide range of topics, ranging from the gendered symbolism of revolutions to patterns of student protest, and from the way that globalization affects urban life and popular culture to American images of Asia. I am fascinated by seeing what light the past can shed on the present, and am committed to finding ways to reach and engage general as well as specialist audiences.
These diverse concerns have influenced my publications, including my first book Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (Stanford, 1991) and my more recent ones, such as Global Shanghai, 1850-2010 (Routledge, 2009) and China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2010, updated edition 2013, with contributions by UCI graduate student Maura Cunningham). It is also shows through in my teaching, my community outreach activities, and my past involvement in the Irvine-based group blog/electronic magazine, "The China Beat: Blogging How the East is Read"--some of the postings from which were incorporated, along with many other materials, in China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance, a 2009 book that I co-edited with Kenneth Pomeranz and Kate Merkel-Hess (formerly a UCI graduate student and then post-doc and now holder of a tenure-track job at Penn State).
I have contributed to many academic periodicals, including China Quarterly, Urban History, the Journal of World History, the Journal of Global History, and History Workshop Journal. I've also served for several years as one of the editors for the Oxford University Press “Pages from History” series, the goal of which is to produce high quality, document-based books for use in introductory classes, and worked as a consultant to the talented filmmakers of the Long Bow Group, whose documentary on Tiananmen, “The Gate of Heavenly Peace,” was shown on PBS, and whose documentary on the Cultural Revolution, “Morning Sun,” won a prize from the American Historical Association. In addition, during the last decade-and-a-half, I have routinely written commentaries and reviews for general interest magazines (e.g., Time and Newsweek, The Nation, and the TLS in London), newspapers (such as the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times), and websites (for example, I blog regularly for the Huffington Post). And I’ve sometimes been interviewed by and quoted by journalists, which has allowed me to get my opinions on historical issues and Chinese contemporary affairs across to readers of periodicals such as the Financial Times and the Economist and the audiences who listen to shows such as “Morning Edition” and "All Things Considered" on NPR. And last but not least, I'm now part of an exciting publication venture that began at UC Riverside, serving as co-editor of the Asia Section of the Los Angeles Review of Books.
I am still a relatively recent addition to the UCI History Department (arriving here in 2006), though no newcomer to the UC system. I came to UCI after spending fifteen years at Indiana University in Bloomington, where in addition to teaching I spent a year as the Acting Editor of the Bloomington-based American Historical Review (an experience I liked a great deal, which is one reason I sought one of my current positions—Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies) and served for three years as the Director of IU’s East Asian Studies Center. As for previous UC ties, I received my B.A. from UC Santa Cruz (in 1982) and my doctorate from UC Berkeley (in 1989), after a brief stint on the East Coast studying at Harvard (where I got a Master’s degree in 1984). And my previous teaching positions, in addition to IU and two years before that at the University of Kentucky, included a one-year visiting position at UC San Diego.
» China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, April 2010 and 2013.
» Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (co-edited with Angilee Shah). University of California Press, 2012.
» China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance (co-edited with Kate Merkel-Hess and Kenneth L. Pomeranz). Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.
» Global Shanghai, 1850-2010. Routledge, 2008.
» "Beijing Games Call to Mind Our Fair," Chicago Tribune, September 2, 2008.
» "What Would Mao Think of the Games?" The Nation (web exclusive), August 22, 2008.
» China's Brave New World--And Other Tales for Global Times. Indiana University Press, 2007.
» "New Ways in History, 1966-2006," History Workshop Journal, 64(1), 2007, pp. 271-294.
» Human Rights and Revolutions, second edition (co-edited with Greg Grandin, Lynn Hunt, and Marilyn B. Young). Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.
» Chinese Femininities Chinese Masculinities (co-edited with Susan Brownell). University of California Press, 2002.
» Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China (co-edited with Elizabeth J. Perry). Westview Press, 1992 and 1994 editions.
» Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai. Stanford University Press, 1991.