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Roger V. Des Forges

office: 558 Park Hall
phone: 645-8409


A.B. in Public & International Affairs, Princeton, 1964

Ph.D. in History, Yale, 1971


Chinese History, Asian History, World History


Culture and Society, Politics

Courses Regularly Taught

UGC 111: World Civilizations
HIS 182: Asian Civilizations
HIS 391: China and the World
HIS 481 A Chinese Dynasty: Qing, 1644-1911
HIS 485: China in the Twentieth Century
HIS 552: Readings in Recent Chinese History (1644 to present)
HIS 581: East Asian Historiography
HIS 612: Research in Chinese History

Research Interests

Chinese cultural, political, and social history; Chinese myth, history, and historiography; the founding and consolidation of the Qing dynasty; Chinese history and civilization in comparative and global perspectives

Current Research

myth and history in the founding of the Qing dynasty with particular reference to the central plain

Selected Publications

Chinese Walls in Time and Space: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, edited by Roger Des Forges, Minglu Gao, Liu Chiao-Mei, Haun Saussy, with Thomas Burkman. Ithaca: Cornell East Asia Series, 2010.

“Tales of Three City Walls in China’s Central Plain,” Chapter 2 in Roger Des Forges, Minglu Gao, Liu Chiao-mei, and Haun Saussy, eds., “Chinese Walls in Time and Space: A Multi-disciplinary Perspective.”

Time and Space in Chinese Historiography: Concepts of Centrality in the History and Literature of the Three Kingdoms,? in The Many Faces of Clio: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Historiography, Q. Edward Wang and Franz L. Fillafer, eds. (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007): 210-232.

The Asian World, 600-1500, co-authored with John S. Major (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)

“Toward Another Tang or Zhou? Views from the Central Plain in the Shunzhi Reign,” in Time, Temporality, and Imperial Transition: East Asia from Ming to Qing, Lynn A. Struve, ed. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005): 73-112.

Cultural Centrality and Political Change in Chinese History: Northeast Henan in the Fall of the Ming (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003);

(with Luo Xu), “China as a Non- Hegemonic Superpower?: The Uses of History among the China Can Say No Writers and Their Critics,” Critical Asian Studies, 33.4 (December 2001): 483-507;

“States, Societies, and Civil Societies in Chinese History,” in Timothy Brook and Bernard Frolic, eds., Civil Society in China (Armonk, N. Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1997): 68-95;

with Luo Ning and Wu Yenbo, co-editors, Chinese Democracy and the Crisis of 1989: Chinese and American Reflections (Albany: SUNY Press, 1993);

The Legend of Li Yen: Its Origins andImplications for the Transition from Ming to Ch’ing in Seventeenth Century China, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 104.3 (1984): 411-36;

“The Story of Li Yen: Its Growth and Function from the Early Ch’ing to the Present,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 42.2 (1982): 535-587

Hsi-liang and the Chinese National Revolution (Yale, 1973)


UB Council on International Studies and Programs award for outstanding contributions to international education, 2007

Several articles published in Chinese in leading scholarly journals in the PRC and the ROC, 1985-1994;

Second place in Porter Prize for doctoral dissertation closest to publication, Yale, 1971

Herrick Prize for outstanding senior thesis in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton, 1964

Affiliations and Other notes

At Buffalo: Research associate in the Baldy Center of the Law School; Chair, Asian Studies Advisory Council, College of Arts and Sciences.

At Harvard; associate of the Fairbank Center and the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

In China: associate of the Institute of History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, and Institute of History, Henan Academy of Social Sciences, Zhengzhou; visiting professor at Sichuan Normal University, Nanchong, and Research Associate of the Center for Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development, Henan University, Kaifen, 2006-.