Modern Chinese Social and Cultural History; Nationalism and Transnationalism; History and Post-Structuralist Theory.
My interest in the social and cultural history of modern China has been evolving since the 1980s. My first book, Culture, Power and the State: Rural North China, 1900-1942 (Stanford 1988, 1991) (winner of the AHA's Fairbank prize and AAS's Levenson prize), presented some of the basic themes of this interest. Since then many of the issues have been developed principally in a course I teach every couple of years, entitled Civilization and Popular Culture in China. The course deals with the changing relationship between the state, elites and popular culture from the late imperial period until the present. More recently, many of these problems have been viewed through the lens of gender and sexuality.
A second area of interest deals with nationalism, imperialism, and transnationalism. I have written two books dealing with these problems: Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (University of Chicago Press, 1995, 1996) and Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003). Both books are concerned with the comparative understanding of nationalism. While the former deals with nationalism and the emergence of modern historical consciousness (mainly) in China, the latter seeks to understand the changing relationship between imperialism and nationalism in twentieth century East Asia through the study of Manchukuo, the Japanese puppet state in the Chinese northeast (1932-1945). Many of these problems continue to be explored in my graduate seminar entitled The East Asian Modern in the Twentieth Century.
I also teach courses which reflect my other interests in East Asia (such as Chinese Overseas) and in the philosophy of history (History and Theory). Other than the three books listed above, my recent essays include:
Decolonization: A Reader (edited volume). Routledge, 2003.
"Transnationalism and the Challenge to National Histories in Thomas Bender ed, Rethinking American History in a Global Age. Berkeley and Los Angeles: U California Press, 2002.
"Civilizations and Nations in a Globalizing World," in Dominic Sachsenmeier, Jens Reidel, Shmuel Eisenstadt, ed. Reflections on Multiple Modernities. Brill Academic Publishers, 2002.
"Postcolonial History," Sarah Maza and Lloyd Kramer eds, Companion to Historical Thought. Blackwell, 2002.
Interviews in Chinese
Wenhua, quanli yu minzu-guojia: Du Zanqi jiaoshou fanglu ji (Culture Power and the Nation State: Interview with Prof.Prasenjit Duara)
n.6 Xuehai Jiangsu Province Social Science Institute; Wo dui Zhongguo lishishehui de xingqu zhi genyuan (The Background of my Interest in Chinese Historical Studies) Zhonghua Dushubao, 2000.
12/20/2000 (Beijing); also 10/2000 interview in Chinese Academy of Social Science (Beijing)