Kristin Stapleton


Kristin Stapleton.

Kristin Stapleton


Kristin Stapleton



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

Contact Information

525 Park Hall

Buffalo NY, 14260

Phone: (716) 645-5645


  • 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 have just completed a book on the 1931 best-selling novel Jia (Family) by the Chinese New Culture activist and anarchist Ba Jin, comparing how the novel represents the city and people at its center to what we can learn about them from historical records. I am beginning work on a study of how socialism came to be understood in urban China in the 1950s.

Selected Publications


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

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

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.


“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.


  • 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

  • Chief editor, Twentieth-Century China.
  • Executive Secretary of the New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS)
  • 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.
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal Education About Asia (since Spring 2004).