(full CV and publications available here)

Professor of Humanities, Beijing Normal University

PhD, UCLA, 2001
MA, BA, University of Chicago, 1991


Fudan University, Development Inst.
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Australian National University
National Univ. of Singapore
Washington University St. Louis


Empire and the Meaning of Religion in Northeast Asia: Manchuria 1900–1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Sacred Village: Social Change and Religious Life in Rural North China (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005)

BOOKS (edited)

Out of the Archive: A Reader for fieldwork research on modern Chinese history. With Jan Kiely (Routledge, forthcoming 2019)

Agricultural production and Rural transformation, with Huaiyin Li (Brill, 2016)

Asian Studies Review, Article symposium on NGO sector in China, December 2015

“New Perspectives in Chinese Folklore Studies,” Asian Ethnology, with Li Jing and Peng Mu, 2015

Casting Faiths: Imperialism and the Transformation of Religion in East and Southeast Asia (Palgrave, 2009)

RESEARCH ARTICLES (academic audience)

“Borden and Nestlé in East Asia, 1870-1929: Branding and retail strategy in the condensed milk trade” (under review)

“Walking a Production Chain” in Out of the Archives, Kiely and DuBois ed. (Routledge 2019) “China’s dairy century – making, drinking and dreaming of milk” in Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Kowner, et al., eds. (Palgrave 2019)

“Many roads from pasture to plate: A commodity chain approach to China’s beef trade, 1732-1931” Journal of Global History (2019)

“Religious violence in early modern East Asia” Cambridge World History of Violence, Vol. 3 ⎯AD 1500- AD 1800, eds. Robert Antony, et al. (Cambridge, 2019)

“Religious violence in China since 1850” Cambridge World History of Violence, Vol. 4 ⎯ AD 1800-AD 2000, eds. Louise Edwards, et al. (Cambridge, 2019)

“Religious freedom in East Asia: Historical norms and the limits of advocacy” Journal of Religious and Political Practice (2018)

“Big meat: The rise and impact of mega-farming in China’s beef, sheep and dairy industries” Alisha Gao and Thomas DuBois, Asia Pacific Journal (2017)

“Before the NGO: Chinese charities in historical perspective” Asian Studies Review (2015) “Opiate of the Masses with Chinese Characteristics: Chinese scholarship on the meaning and future of religion” Religious Studies and Marxist Approaches to Religions in China, (2014)

“Public health and private charity in Manchuria, 1905-1945” Frontiers of History in China (2014)

“The salvation of religion? Public charity and the new religions of the early Republic” Minsu quyi (2011)

“Inauthentic sovereignty: Law and legal institutions in Manchukuo,” Journal of Asian Studies (2010)

“Manchukuo’s filial sons: States, sects and the transformation of graveside piety” East Asian History (2008)

“Rule of law in a brave new empire: Legal rhetoric and practice in Manchukuo,” Law and History Review (2008)

“Local religion and the cultural imaginary: the development of Japanese ethnography in occupied Manchuria” American Historical Review (2006)

“Imperialism, Hegemony and the Construction of Religion in East and Southeast Asia” History & Theory (2005)


Interviewed by/quoted in: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Berlingske (Denmark), Buzzfeed, Caixin, Canadian Broadcasting Service, Channel News Asia (Singapore), Chinasource, Christianity Today, The Economist, New York Times, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Time (Asia edition), Today (Singapore), Washington Post


2015-2019, Summers conducting fieldwork research in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan; 2016, Resident fellow at Chinese University of Hong Kong; 2013-2015, 2017, Academic residence in Australia; 2003-2012, Academic residence in Singapore, research summers in China and Japan 1997- 1999; Tianjin, doctoral research and fieldwork; 1996, Kanazawa, advanced Japanese language; 1992-1994, Shandong College of Chinese Medicine, English teacher 1990, Summer language program in Taiwan.


Chinese: very good speaking and reading; Japanese: conversational speaking, good reading; Russian: Basic speaking and reading


2019, Beijing Normal University research startup fund, 200,000CNY; 2015-2018 Australian Research Council, A$154,978; 2013 ANU Research School of Asia and Pacific, A$ 60,000; 2012 ANU Research School of Asia and Pacific, A$ 20,000; Singapore Ministry of Education, S$438,296. (member); 2010 NUS Faculty Research Grant, S$23,288; 2006 NUS Faculty Research Grant, S$12,466; 2005, NUS conference grant, S$30,000; 2004, NUS conference grant, S$30,000; 1997-1998, American Council of Learned Societies, $17,000.