Prasenjit Duara

Professor Emeritus of History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations
PhD 1983 Harvard University

Pransenjit Duara has retired and no longer directs BA theses or accepts new graduate students.

Field Specialties

Modern Chinese social and cultural history; nationalism and transnationalism; history and poststructuralist 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.

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).


Decolonization: A Reader (edited volume). New York: Routledge, 2003.

"Transnationalism and the Challenge to National Histories." In Rethinking American History in a Global Age, edited by Thomas Bender. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002.

"Civilizations and Nations in a Globalizing World." In Reflections on Multiple Modernities, edited by Dominic Sachsenmeier, Jens Reidel, Shmuel Eisenstadt. Brill Academic Publishers, 2002.

"Postcolonial History." In Companion to Historical Thought, edited by Sarah Maza and Lloyd Kramer. 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).