Dr. Zeng specializes in the economic, business, and industrial history of modern China and the world. He is also interested in digital humanities and computational data analytics. His current book project, Engineering Modern China: Industrial Factories and the Transformation of the Chinese Economy in the Long Twentieth Century, is the first to analyze the remarkable transformation of the Chinese factory economy from the late Qing to post-Mao eras. His writings have been published in leading academic journals such as World Development and edited volumes by Cambridge University Press and Routledge. Dr. Zeng is the founder of The Chinese Factory Project (https://chinesefactory.org/), a digital humanities and data analytics initiative that collects and publicizes archival materials and quantitative datasets on the history of China’s industrial development. Recently, he launched "Computational Humanities Lab" (ch.pubpub.org) a cutting-edge teaching and research platform that explores the intersection of humanistic inquiry and computational methods.
Dr. Zeng actively engages in academic service and professional activities. At Duke Kunshan, he has served on committees and boards concerning a variety of academic and ethical issues, such as curriculum development, faculty search and reappointment, grant review, and sexual misconduct. Beyond campus, he has convened workshops, organized panels, served as chair and discussant at professional meetings as well as reviewed book and article manuscripts for Columbia University Press and multiple leading academic journals. He is an Editorial Board member (2023-2027) of Enterprise & Society: The International Journal of Business History, the official publication of the Business History Conference.
Dr. Zeng has an interdisciplinary educational background and working experience. He holds his Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.Phil. in Social Science from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and a Bachelor in Engineering (Food Science and Technology) from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Before joining Duke Kunshan, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian History at the University of Pittsburgh from 2018 to 2020.