Kristin Stapleton


Kristin Stapleton.

Kristin Stapleton


Kristin Stapleton



Asian History; Chinese History; Social and Cultural History; Political History; Transnational History; World History; Urban History


  • PhD, Harvard
  • MA, Harvard
  • BA, Michigan

Research Interests

Modern China, urban politics and administration, the history of Chinese family life, Chinese socialism, humor in history, the place of non-U.S. history in American intellectual life

Current Research

I continue to explore how twentieth-century Chinese literature reflects and represents history and am translating a novel about the experience of war written in western China in the late 1940s. As part of the Global Urban History Project, I study comparative urban reform movements worldwide, with a particular interest in the history of housing and policing in modern China. 

Selected Publications


The Modern City in Asia. Cambridge Elements, Global Urban History series. July 2022.

Fact in Fiction: 1920’s China and Ba Jin’s Family. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016.

司昆仑,  巴金《家》中的历史:1920年代的成都社会. 四川文艺出版社, 2019. Chinese edition of Fact in Fiction.

Civilizing Chengdu: Chinese Urban Reform, 1895-1937. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2000.

司昆仑, 新政之后:警察、军阀与文明进程中的成都 (1895-1937). 四川文艺出版社, 2020. Chinese edition of Civilizing Chengdu.

Kenneth Hammond and Kristin Stapleton, eds. The Human Tradition in Modern China. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, December 2007.

Rhoads Murphey, with Kristin Stapleton. East Asia: A New History. Fifth ed. Pearson Longman, 2009.

P. Karan and Kristin Stapleton, eds. The Japanese City. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1998.


“Liberation: A View from the Southwest,” in the Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Revolution, New York: Routledge, 2019: 60-73.   

“Ba Jin’s Fiction and The Family,” in the Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature, New York: Routledge, 2019: 48-58.

“Fiction: A Passport to the Asian Past,” Education About Asia 23, no. 3 (Winter 2018): 11-14.

“The Future of China’s Past,” in the Sage Handbook of Contemporary China, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2018: vol. 2, 1208-1226.   

Xuzhi Zhan and Kristin Stapleton. “Reborn from the Ruins: Urbanization by State Plan.” In Confronting the Challenges of Urbanization in China: Insights from Social Science Perspectives, edited by Zai Liang, Steven F. Messner, Youqin Huang, and Cheng Chen, 25–38. New York: Routledge, 2017.

“In Search of Frameworks for Productive Comparison of Cities in World History,” Journal of Modern Chinese History, Vol. 10, no. 2 (Fall 2016). DOI:10.1080/17535654.2016.1226020

“Urban Change And Modernity” in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Chinese Studies. Ed. Tim Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 22 April 2013.

“Chinese Cities, 1900 to the Present” in The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History. Peter Clark, ed. Oxford University Press, 2013: 522-541.

“What I Wish My College Students Already Knew about PRC History,” Social Education, vol. 74, no. 1 (January/February 2010): 12-16.

“Generational and Cultural Fissures in the May Fourth Movement: Wu Yu (1872–1949) and the Politics of Family Reform.” In Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm: In Search of Chinese Modernity, edited by Kai-wing Chow, Tze-ki Hon, Hung-yok Ip, and Don C. Price, 131–48. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2008.

“Warfare and Modern Urban Administration in Chinese Cities.” In Cities in Motion: Interior, Coast, and Diaspora in Transnational China, edited by Sherman Cochran and David Strand, 53–78. Berkeley: University of California East Asian Institute, 2008.

“Beijing, Olympic City,” Journal of Urban History, vol. 24, no. 6 (September 2008): 1013-102

“State of the Field: Chinese Urban History.” Co-written with Liu Haiyan of the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences. Special issue on Chinese urban studies, China Information XX (3), 2006.

“Hu Lanqi: Rebellious Woman, Revolutionary Soldier, Discarded Heroine, Triumphant Survivor.” Kenneth Hammond and Kristin Stapleton, eds. The Human Tradition in Modern China. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Blog Essay

“The Urbanization of Chinese Fiction,” The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association, December 2018.


  • UB Council on International Studies and Program’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education, 2019.
  • Fellow in the Public Intellectual Program of the National Committee on U.S.– China Relations, 2005-2007.
  • Fellow in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar “Late Ottoman and Russian Empires: Citizenship, Belonging and Difference.” June 8-27, 2014, Washington, D.C.
  • Fellow in the Freeman Foundation Symposium of the Salzburg Global Seminar: “Strengthening Cooperation Between the US and East Asia,” June 5-10, 2010, Salzburg, Austria.

Affiliations and Other Notes

  • Editorial Board member, Twentieth-Century China.
  • Co-director (along with Roger Des Forges and Ramya Sreenivasan) of a 2013 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers called “China and India: Comparisons and Connections.”
  • Member of the Board of Advisers of the Urban China Research Network, Lewis Mumford Center for Urban Studies, University at Albany (since 2002).
  • Association for Asian Studies. Member of the Program Committee (2003-2005).
  • Urban History Association. Member of the Board of Directors (1999-2002, 2016-2018).
  • Research Associate of the Urban Studies Program of Sichuan University.
  • Associate Editor of the journal Education About Asia.
  • Member of the Global Urban History Project.