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Kate Markel-Hess

Kate Markel-Hess

Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies

108 Weaver
Office Phone: (814) 865-0750


  1. PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2009
  2. BA, Yale University, 1999


I am a historian of modern China. My research turns around questions of how social and political identities took shape amidst nation-building and modernization. My first book, A New People: Rural Modernity in Republican China, considers how and why Chinese villagers were targeted for social and political reform in the interwar period. I am currently at work on a second book that examines the Chinese warlords who came into power in the 1910s and 1920s, examining the influence warlordism and the individual warlords themselves had on crucial issues of debate, from political legitimacy to the status of women and the marital ideal. My historical research has been augmented by my engagement with some of these same topics in contemporary China, including as editor of the academic group blog The China Beat and as co-editor of the volume China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance (an experiment in taking content from blog to book). My essays and reviews have also appeared in The Times Literary SupplementTwentieth-Century China, Current History, andHistory Compass, among others.

Recent Publications:

“Acting Out Reform: Theater and Village in the Republican Rural Reconstruction Movement.” Twentieth-Century China37.2 (May 2012): 161-180.

Co-editor with Kenneth L. Pomeranz and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom. China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.

“Reading the Rural Modern: Literacy and Morality in Republican China,” History Compass 7, no. 1 (2009): 44-54.

Awards and Service:

Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship, Mellon/ACLS (2009-2010)
Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Mellon/ACLS (2008-2009)
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant (2006-2007
Grant-in-Aid, Rockefeller Archive Center, Tarrytown, NY (2006)

Recent Courses:

HIST011 - World History II
HIST175 - The History of Modern East Asia 
HIST486 - Twentieth-Century China
HIST581 - Late Imperial and Modern China

Research Interests:

Modern China