Maps, foreign loans, and East Asian History are my specialty. In my research and teaching, I explore the financial and spatial history of capitalism, with China as my corner stone. I have taught fourteen different Asia-related courses and have completed a book manuscript on China’s foreign borrowing from America. As a teacher-scholar, I have also systematically tested the integration of scientific map-making into undergraduate research and have attracted 252 students from 51 majors to experiment outside their comfort zones.
Awards and Grants
- [2016-18] Student Course Development Projects Grant, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of Rochester.
- [2015-17] Working Group Grant, Central New York Humanities Corridor Program, “The Chinese Quest for Modernity.”
-  American Council of Learned Society, ACLS Fellowship.
-  Abraham J. Karp Teaching Award, University of Rochester.
-  Faculty Research Grant, Fordham University.
-  An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship, Fairbank Center, Harvard University.
GIS Mapping Projects
Running theme: the spatial history of capitalism (in China)
- [Fall 2019] China in Africa: The Socialist and Capitalist Stories
- [Fall 2019] The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: 1943 and Now
- [Spring 2019] The Historical Silk Road and the Current “Belt and Road” Initiative
- [Fall 2018] Empires on Railways: Great Britain, the U.S., and China
- [Spring 2018] The World That Trade Created: Fifteen Global Commodities
- [Spring 2018] How Did China Get So Big?: 24 Historical Periods
- [Fall 2017] The Yellow and Yangtze Rivers: A Water Story
- [Spring 2017] Rich China, Poor China: Twelve Chinese Macro Regions
- [Fall 2016] Mapping China’s Economic Miracle, 1970s-2000s
Participants: 198 students from 51 undergraduate majors. Creative works viewable here: http://zhang.digitalscholar.rochester.edu/mapping/
Other Digital Projects
[2015, 2016, 2018] Visualizing Traditional China
Students picked up Adobe Creative Suite to create a personal “living history” of distant land. Creative works viewable here: http://zhang.digitalscholar.rochester.edu/china/
[2016-19] Debating Japan: A Class Project
Students confronted current dilemmas on camera and shared their arguments and evidence online in a vivid intellectual confrontation. Site: http://zhang.digitalscholar.rochester.edu/japan/
Graduate Research Fields
I offer the following fields for graduate research: Chinese History, Economic History. For more information on our MA and PhD programs, see our graduate program page.
I am not accepting new graduate student advisees for our MA and PhD programs.
Courses Offered (subject to change)
- HIST 140: Traditional East Asia
- HIST 142: Traditional China, Syllabus
- HIST 143: Modern China 1600-present, Syllabus
- HIST 145: Modern Japan
- HIST 236A: Digital History: Twelve Chinese Macro Regions
- HIST 236B: Digital History: The Yellow and Yangtze Rivers
- HIST 244: China in Africa: The Socialist and Capitalist Stories
- HIST 246A: Digital History: The World That Trade Created
- HIST 246B: Empire on Railways: Britain, the U.S., and China
- HIST 246C: The Silk Road, Old and New
- HIST 246(W): Seven Global Pandemics and the Recovery, Syllabus
- HIST 293: China and the U.S. since 1900
- HIST 342W: Rich China, Poor China
- Dollar Loans and the Fabled Chinese Market: A Sovereign Debt Story, 1890s-1979 (under review).
- “How to Put a Face on History,” Perspectives on History (American Historical Association), Volume 57:8, November 2019, pp.17-19.
- [Book Review] Elisabeth Köll, Railroads and the Transformation of China,Business History Review, Volume 93, Issue 2 (Summer 2019), 411-413. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007680519000758
- [Book Review] David Pietz, The Yellow River: The Problem of Water in Modern China, Journal of Asian Studies, Volume 74, Issue 4 (November 2016), pp.1125-1127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911816001352
- “It Never Rains in America?” Review Essay on Sheldon Garon, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves, Reviews in American History 42:4 (December 2014), pp.756-764. DOI: 10.1353/rah.2014.0109
- "Reform is A Bonus: The Networking of Upper-Level Officials in the Last Decade of the Qing Dynasty." In Sherman Cochran and Paul G. Pickowicz eds., China on the Margins (Cornell University Press, 2009), pp. 102-149. Link: https://eap.einaudi.cornell.edu/publication/china-margins
- "To Be Somebody: Li Qinglin, Run-of-the-Mill Cultural Revolution Showstopper." In Joseph W. Esherick and Andrew G. Walder, eds., The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History (Stanford University Press, 2006), pp.211-239. Link: https://www.sup.org/books/extra/?id=9400&i=Table_of_Contents_pages&p=2