Joseph Esherick
Department of History
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive MC 0104
La Jolla , California , 92093-0104
(858) 534-8939
H&SS Room: 3070

Curriculum Vitae

Holder of the Hwei-chih and Julia Hsiu Chair in Chinese Studies, Esherick teaches modern Chinese history, specializing in the intersection of social developments and political movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A graduate of Harvard College (1964, summa cum laude ), with a Ph.D. from U.C., Berkeley (1971), he taught at the University of Oregon before coming to UCSD in 1990. Here he has chaired the program in Chinese Studies, served as chair of the Advisory Committee of the Institute for International, Comparative and Area Studies (IICAS) and received (together with Paul Pickowicz) the 2003 Chancellor's Associates Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. Beyond UCSD, he serves on the editorial boards of the China Quarterly, Modern China, Asia Major, and China Review International .



  • Modern China: The Story of a Revolution , co-authored with Orville Schell (Knopf and Vintage paperback: 1972).
  • Lost Chance in China: The World War II Despatches of John S. Service (Random House: 1974; Vintage paperback: 1975).
  • Reform and Revolution in China: the 1911 Revolution in Hunan and Hubei (University of California Press: 1976; paperback: 1986; Chinese translation: Zhong-hua Publishing House, 1982; second edition: University of Michigan Press: 2002).
  • The Origins of the Boxer Uprising , (University of California Press: 1987; Chinese translation: Jiangsu People's Press, 1994). Winner of 1987 John K. Fairbank Prize from American Historical Association; 1989 Joseph R. Levenson Prize from the Association for Asian Studies; and the 1989 Berkeley Prize from the University of California Press.
  • Chinese Local Elites and Patterns of Dominance (University of California Press: 1990), co-edited with Mary B. Rankin.
  • Chinese Archives: An Introductory Guide, co-edited with Ye Wa (Berkeley: University of California Institute of East Asian Studies, 1996).
  • Remaking the Chinese City: Modernity and National Identity, 1900-1950, edited volume. (University of Hawaii Pressm 2000).

Major Articles:

  • "Harvard on China: The Apologetics of Imperialism," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 4:4 (December 1972).
  • "1911: A Review," the lead article of a symposium on 1911 in Modern China 2:2 (April 1976).
  • "The 'Restoration of Capitalism' in Mao's and Marxist Theory," Modern China 5:1 (January 1979).
  • "From Feudalism to Capitalism: Japanese Scholarship on the Transformation of Chinese Rural Society," co-authored with Linda Grove, Modern China 6:4 (October 1980).
  • "Number Games: A Note on Land Distribution in Prerevolutionary China," Modern China 7:4 (October 1981)
  • "Acting Out Democracy: Political Theater in Modern China," co-authored with Jeffrey Wasserstrom. Journal of Asian Studies , November 1990.
  • "Founding a Republic, Electing a President: How Sun Yat-sen Became Guofu," in Harold Shiffrin and Eto Shinkichi, eds., China's Republican Revolution (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1994): pp. 129-152.
  • "Deconstructing the Construction of the Party-State: Gulin County in the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region," China Quarterly , No. 140 (December 1994): 1052-1079.
  • "Ten Theses on the Chinese Revolution," Modern China 21.1 (January 1995): 45-76
  • "Cherishing Sources from Afar," Modern China 24.2 (April 1998)
  • "Revolution in a Feudal Fortress: Yangjiagou Mizhi County, Shaanxi, 1937-1948," Modern China 24.4 (October 1998): 339-377
  • "War and Revolution: Chinese Society During the 1940s," Twentieth-Century China 27.1 (November 2001): 1-37

Current Research

  • An edited volume on the comparative study of the transition from empire to nation.
  • An edited volume on the Chinese Cultural revolution.
  • A monograph on the Ye familly and modern China-a study of changes in family life over the last two centuries.
  • A study of rural revolution in the northwest China Shan-Gan-Ning border region in the 1930s and 1940s.


  • HILD 11. East Asia and the West.
  • HIEA 130. History of the Modern Chinese Revolution: 1800-1911.
  • HIEA 131. History of the Modern Chinese Revolution: 1911-1949.
  • HIEA 167/267. Special Topics: Family History in China.
  • HIGR 210. Historical scholarship on Modern China.
  • HIGR 213. Sources on Modern Chinese History.
  • HIGR 215 A-B. Research Seminar in Modern Chinese History.