You are here: Home / People / Kathlene Baldanza

Kathlene Baldanza

Kathlene Baldanza

Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies

201 Weaver
Office Phone: (814) 863-0131


  1. PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2010
  2. MA, University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  3. BA, Bryn Mawr College, 2001


I am a historian of China and Vietnam. You can find a podcast about my first book, Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia (Cambridge, 2016), here, or read an interview about it here. While researching that project, I frequently came across references to the pestilential miasma found in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. In my current research project, I explore the role of climate and disease in limiting both Chinese southern expansion as well as Vietnamese expansion to its northwest in the late imperial (15th-19th century) period. Other ongoing projects concern the history of the book in Vietnam, a nineteenth century shipwreck narrative, and connections between Korea and Vietnam in the early modern period.

Recent Publications:

“Publishing, Book Culture, and Reading Practices in Vietnam: The View from Thắng Nghiêm and Phổ Nhân Temples.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 2018.

“Books without Borders: Phạm Thận Duật (1825-1885) and the Culture of Knowledge in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Vietnam.” Journal of Asian Studies, August 2018.

Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Awards and Service:

Academy of Korean Studies Conference Grant (2018)

Penn State Humanities in the Digital Age Grant (2018)

Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Scholar grant (2017-2018)

Penn State Center for Humanities and Information Faculty Fellow (2017)

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016)

Penn State Institute of Arts and Humanities Resident Scholar Grant (2014)

ACLS Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society Conference Grant (2013)

Recent Courses:

HIST173 Vietnam in War and Peace

HIST174 - The History of Traditional East Asia

HIST177 – The Rise of Modern Southeast Asia
HIST 187 – Global Taiwan
HIST302W - Gender and Family Life in China