Skip to main content

Qian Zhu

Assistant Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University
DKU Faculty


I am holding a Ph.D in History from New York University. As a historian of modern China and a theorist of everyday life, my research is on the intellectual history of China in the late 19th century and 20th century. I am particularly interested in how Chinese non-Marxist leftists understood everyday life and conceptualized it in regards of human emancipation, modernization, democracy and mass politics in the early 20th century. My research projects include Chinese feminism, leftism, and new village movement in the 20th century China. Beyond my specific field of modern China, I am working through feminism and gender, cultural politics, the theory of everyday life, urban studies and labor history. My publications include women's singleness in China, histories of migration in East Asia in the first half of the 20th century, and mass education movement in the 1930s China. My book manuscript addresses intellectual conceptualization of new life and the new life movement in China and how the social movement responded to the global capitalism, leftism and the Chinese revolution seeking for anti-fascism, anti-colonialism, democracy and the nation-state building in the first half of the 20th century in China and in Southeast Asia. My second book project focuses on the new village movement and how it related to the state policy of urbanization, governance, citizenship and how it helped us to understand socialist and post-socialism urbanism in 20th century China.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University · 2018 - Present DKU Faculty
Assistant Professor of the Practice of DKU Studies at Duke University · 2023 - Present DKU Studies

Education, Training & Certifications

New York University · 2011 Ph.D.