University at Buffalo Department of History


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photo by Douglas K. Levere

Kristin Stapleton

Associate Professor

office: 525 Park Hall

phone: (716) 645-5645







PhD, Harvard
MA, Harvard
BA, Michigan


Field(s): Modern China, Comparative Urban History


Hub(s): Culture & Society; Politics; Transnational


Research Interests: Urban politics and administration, the history of Chinese family life, humor in history, the place of non-U.S. history in American intellectual life


Current Research: Among other projects, I am working on 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.


Selected Publications:


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


“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.

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

“Warfare and Modern Urban Administration in Chinese Cities.” To be published in the forthcoming conference volume edited by Wen-hsin Yeh, Sherman Cochran, and David Strand, from the essays presented at “Cities in Motion,” sponsored by the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California,
Berkeley, November 2002. Accepted for publication in 2007 by the University of California East Asian Institute.

“Generational and Cultural Fissures in the May Fourth Movement: Wu Yu (1872-1949) and the Politics of Family Reform.” To be published in the forthcoming conference volume edited by Hung-yok Ip, Kai-wing Chow, and Tze-ki Hon, from the essays presented at “In Search of Modernity: De-Centering the May Fourth Movement,” sponsored by Oregon State University, February 2003. Accepted for publication by Lexington Books in 2008.

“Outside the Gates: Chengdu’s Suburbs during the Qing and Early Republic.” In Senda Minoru, ed. Urban Morphology and the History of Civilization in East Asia. Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 2004, pp. 191-210.



Fellow in the Public Intellectual Program of the National Committee on U.S.– China Relations, 2005-2007.


Affiliations and other notes:


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 American Historical Association’s Committee on Graduate Education (2000-2004), which assessed the state of graduate education in history and issued a substantial report in January 2004, The Education of Historians for the 21st Century.

Member of the Board of Advisers of the Chinese Urban 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).

Research Associate of the Urban Studies Program of Sichuan University.

Member of the editorial board of the journal Education About Asia (since Spring 2004).

Asia book review editor for the Journal of Urban History (2001-2010).

China book review editor (modern history and social sciences) for the Journal of Asian Studies (2010- 2012)

University at Buffalo Main Web Site Depart of History Main Web Site