News and Updates

Shuang Chen’s book, State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China named a 2017 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

We are pleased to report that Shuang Chen’s book State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China was named a 2017 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. According to the Association of College and Research Libraries which includes 2400 universities and research institutions, publishes Choice, and makes the awards:

Every year in the January issue, in print and online, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community.

The list is quite selective: it contains approximately ten percent of some 6,000 works reviewed in Choice each year. Choice editors base their selections on the reviewer’s evaluation of the work, the editor’s knowledge of the field, and the reviewer’s record. The list was known as Outstanding Academic Books until 2000. The new name reflects an increase in reviews of electronic products and Internet sites.

In awarding Outstanding Academic Titles, the editors apply several criteria to reviewed titles:

  • overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
  • importance relative to other literature in the field
  • distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
  • originality or uniqueness of treatment
  • value to undergraduate students
  • importance in building undergraduate library collections.

Lee-Campbell Group at the Social Science History Association meetings in Montreal, November 2017

We will be participating in a number of sessions at the Social Science History Association meetings in Montreal from November 2 to November 4. We have 9 papers on the program presenting new results from three of our projects. Also, there will be an author meets critics session for Shuang Chen’s new book from Stanford University Press State-Sponsored Inequality The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China. James Lee and Cameron Campbell will be panelists on an author meets critics session for Richard von Glahn’s new book Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century.

The abstracts below are the original ones last winter. The papers have evolved somewhat.

Thursday, November 2, 8am-10am

The Other Road to Modernity: Comparative Perspectives on the Socialist Transformation of Agriculture in Eastern Europe and China

Xiangning Li. Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in two North China Towns in the Mid-twentieth Century.

Making use of a novel source of data, China Siqing Social Class Dataset (CSSCD), this paper analyzes the effect of state intervention on occupational structure and intergenerational occupational mobility in two towns, located in Hebei and Shanxi respectively, during the mid-twentieth century. We investigate the effects of a series institutional changes and political campaigns (the Three Antis & Five Antis movements), the collectivization of commercial enterprises, Socialist Education Movement, and others. These took place after 1949 and altered the occupational structure and the labor market in urban society. Town-level cities like the ones we study, with mixed urban-rural populations, represent the lowest level in the official urban administrative hierarchy, and have been largely ignored by previous researchers. Therefore, based on detailed retrospective information on occupation from administrative data from two towns compiled between 1965 and 1966, this paper intends to shed new light on the socialist state and socialist fluidity and between inequality and mobility. First, this paper will characterize some basic feature of the changing occupational structure before and after the founding of PRC, comparing different time periods. Second, mobility table analysis will be used to examine the link between father’™s occupation and son’€™s occupation. By further analyzing the effect of educational attainment on upward mobility, and how the family class labels (for the individual who has rural origins) intervened in the process of inter-generational occupational reproduction, this paper intends to re-assess the openness of the opportunity structure of urban Chinese society during the mid-twentieth century.

Matt Noellert, Long Xing, James Lee. Cleaning up Capitalism in the Chinese Countryside: A Study of 1960s Microdata.

Throughout the process of rural collectivization in the People’s Republic of China, the government repeatedly sought to stem the development of capitalism in Chinese society. This paper examines the results of one of the most systematic attempts to identify and correct “capitalist tendencies” – the social class registers recorded as part of the Four Cleanups campaign in the mid-1960s – to see whether or not government concerns about capitalism were justified. These registers record the detailed social, economic, and political histories of each household over the entire course of collectivization from before communist Land Reform in the 1940s to the People’s Communes in the 1960s. We have currently entered these data for over 15,000 households into a new dataset, the China Siqing Social Class Dataset (CSSCD), and employ a sub-set of the data in this paper. We begin by analyzing changes in the family class background and personal class labels recorded for each adult individual, which suggest that there were significant shifts in social status over the course of collectivization. We then analyze changes in household property to gauge the extent to which classes or individuals were becoming more “capitalist”, in the sense of private accumulation and class differentiation. The results of this Four Cleanups campaign played an important role in shaping the subsequent and more well-known Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, and this paper provides one of the first systematic studies of rural Chinese society during this transitional period.

Thursday, November 2, 12:30pm-2:30pm

Religious Practice in Historical Perspective

Ji Li. Rethinking Indigenization and Christianity in China: The Development of Catholicism in Northeast China Before 1952. (Li Ji has informed us that she will not be able to attend)

On October 22, 1951, Bishop André-Jean Vérineux, a missionary from the Mission Étrangères de Paris (MEP) and the last vicar apostolic of the Catholic Manchuria Mission, disembarked in Hong Kong. Together with five other missionaries, Vérineux and his colleagues were the last cohort of Catholic missionaries expelled from Shenyang, northeast China. Until then, the Catholic Church has been established in northeast China for more than a century since 1838 when Emmanuel-Jean-François Vérrolles became the first vicar apostolic of the newly founded Manchuria-Mongolia Mission. Based on my ten-year work on the development of Catholicism in northeast China before 1950s, this paper re-examines one of the key issues in the history of Christianity in China, namely, indigenization in terms of acculturation. It asks how to define indigenization in different historical periods and what indigenization means in different political contexts. Scholars of the field have argued that in the past four centuries, Christianity has in fact become an indigenous and resilient Chinese religion. However, other scholars, including myself, began to demonstrate that the nineteenth century has in fact witnessed the systematic development of a global Catholic Church in China. Relying on church records and missionary writings, this paper investigates the century-long development of Catholicism in northeast China and the creation and persistence of Catholic identity in a particular Catholic community. It argues that since the nineteenth century, the local religious identity was created, expressed, and persisted through institutionalized Catholic ritual performance; Christianity was indigenized in China essentially through the introduction of a globalized Catholic Church in the modern era.

Thursday, November 2, 2:45pm-4:45pm

Tertiary Education in Republican China
Chen Liang, James Lee. National, Regional and Local Student Enrollment in Seven National Universities in Republican China.
In Republican China, national, private and missionary universities shared distinct features in terms of student’s€™ social and spatial origins. Among national universities, there are national universities that recruit students nationwide, €œregional€ universities that recruit students in the adjacent provinces, and €œlocal universities that mainly recruit local students. This paper uses self-reported student registration cards to explore the similarities and differences among 567000 students from 8 national universities including: National Jiaotong University, National Chi Nan University, National Chekiang University, National Tsinghua University, National Peking University Medical School, National Hunan University, National Sun Yat-sen University and National Zhongzheng University. We find that even national universities tended to recruit largely local students, and the only exception is National Tsinghua University, which is the most prestigious national university in Republican China. The preliminary findings contribute to our understanding of social inequality and access to higher education in early and mid 20th century China.

Yunzhu Ren, Chen Liang, James Lee.  Tertiary Education in Republican China: Comparing Professional and non-Professional Students in 27 Republican Chinese Universities

With the systematic introduction of Western university education to China beginning from 1898 onwards, Republican Chinese universities were divided by such disciplinary majors as arts, science, engineering, medicine, business and law. This paper uses self-reported student registration cards to explore the differences in family background of over 110000 students from China University Student Dataset-Republic of China (CUSD-ROC), contrasting liberal arts majors (humanities and science) and professional majors (engineering, medicine, business and law). This paper also investigates the relationship between parental occupation and students’ choice of major, especially those from professional and business families. We find that students from merchants families predominate for most majors except for those in medical school, and that there is a strong relation between merchants’ families and business majors, as well as professional families and medical majors. The results shed light on the transitions from traditional learning to more practical and professional education and trends in intergenerational mobility in Republican China.

Chen Liang, Yuqian Wang, Yunzhu Ren, James Lee. Social and Geographical Origins of University Students in Republican Shanghai.

In Republican China, there were more universities in Shanghai than any other Chinese city. This paper uses self-reported student registration cards to explore the socioeconomic, geographic and high school origins of 35,000 undergraduates from 8 of these universities including: National Jiaotong University (1913-49)、Soochow University Law School (1918-52), Saint John’s University(1919-52), National Shanghai Institute of Business(1921-45), Utopia University (1930-52), National Chi Nan University(1933, 37, 40-49), the University of Shanghai (1936-52), and the Municipal Shanghai Institute of Industry (1945-56). We show that in spite of Shanghai’s reputation as an open city of opportunity, access to higher education was highly restricted, comparing students by university, major, gender, parental occupation, neighborhood, place of origin, high school, and in some cases religion and guarantor. We provide, in other words, a much more granular understanding of higher education and educated society in Republican China and Republican Shanghai in particular which we can compare in the future to other cities and other periods of Chinese history.

Thursday, November 2, 5pm-7pm

Careers and Migration in Europe and Asia

Cameron Campbell, Bijia Chen, Yuxue Ren, James Lee. Government employees in Qing China: career trajectories and geographic mobility, 1760-1911.

We will examine the interplay of geographic mobility and career trajectories among government employees in Qing China between 1760-1911. For geographic mobility, we will focus on circulation between posts in the central government in Beijing and posts in provinces and counties. We will examine how the characteristics of government employees shaped their chances of having an initial post in the central government in Beijing or out in the provinces or counties, and then how the location of initial and later posts interacted with employee characteristics to shape subsequent career trajectories. For this analysis, we will make use of a database of Qing government employees based on rosters published every three months until the end of the dynasty in 1911. Each roster lists between 13,000 and 15,000 officials. We currently have more than 1,054,657 records of 216,644 officials from 78 rosters, and anticipate having 1,800,000 on hand by November. While most of the rosters we have entered so far, by November we will also have rosters of military officials, and they will be incorporated into the analysis.

Lawrence Zhang, Bijia Chen, Cameron Campbell, James Lee. Ladders of Success in Late Imperial China: Careers of Office Purchasers and Exam Qualifiers in the Qing Civil Service.

The often-used phrase “€œLadder of Success” describes the path for individuals during late imperial China to first pass through the civil service examination system and then become an official. However, what happened to these individuals who actually entered the civil service? Moreover, how did they fare against other kinds of new entrants in the civil service, especially those who purchased their positions in government? Using newly digitized data from the quarterly published jinshenlu, which are lists of concurrently serving officials in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) civil service, this paper seeks to compare the career trajectories of individuals who entered the civil service through the examination system with those who entered through purchase. By linking the jinshenlu data with lists of individuals who earned their examination degrees and those who bought their positions, it will show the differences in career patterns for these two groups of individuals who had different claims to office. Significantly, the additional information available in the list of buyers and the examination degree holders yields important information about the background of these individuals, and yields more granular analysis of the socioeconomic background of sub-groups of officials who may have had particular successes in the civil service. Preliminary results from this research show that the pathway to office, especially higher level office, was far more complex and multivariate than the literature commonly assumes. Success in the civil service examination was the end of one ladder, but it was only the beginning of another.

Friday, November 3, 8am-10am

Author meets critics: State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification, by Shuang Chen

This book explores the social economic processes of inequality in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century rural China. Drawing on uniquely rich source materials, Shuang Chen provides a comprehensive view of the creation of a social hierarchy wherein the state classified immigrants to the Chinese county of Shuangcheng into distinct categories, each associated with different land entitlements. The resulting patterns of wealth stratification and social hierarchy were then simultaneously challenged and reinforced by local people. The tensions built into the unequal land entitlements shaped the identities of immigrant groups, and this social hierarchy persisted even after the institution of unequal state entitlements was removed. State-Sponsored Inequality offers an in-depth understanding of the key factors that contribute to social stratification in agrarian societies. Moreover, it sheds light on the many parallels between the stratification system in nineteenth-century Shuangcheng and structural inequality in contemporary China.

For more information about the book, see the page at Stanford University Press:

Friday, November 3, 10:15am-12:15pm

Assortative Mating and Legislative Effects on Marriage Patterns

Long Xing, Cameron Campbell, Matt Noellert, Xiangning Li, James Lee. Education, Class and Marriage in Rural Shanxi, China in the Mid-Twentieth Century.

This paper examines the consequences of political, economic and social change in mid-twentieth century China for patterns of assortative mating by both education and class. Traditionally in China, marriages were arranged by parents, and ideally matched families of similar socioeconomic status. However, the first law of the People’s Republic of China was a new marriage law, passed in 1950, which promoted free choice and forbade arranged marriages and other interference by families in the marriage decisions of their children. We investigate the effects of this law and other changes on assortative mating in China by using novel administrative data compiled in rural Shanxi Province in North China in the mid-1960s, which records both the education and family class background of spouses. Our findings that patterns of assortative mating differed according to whether status was measured with class label or education complicate current pictures of assortative mating that rely solely on educational attainment. Furthermore, in comparing marriages before and after the 1949/50 divide, we also find that educational homogamy and female hypergamy increased in intensity, as did class homogamy.

Saturday, November 4, 3:15pm-5:15pm

James Lee and Cameron Campbell will be panelists in the author meets critics session for Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century, by Richard von Glahn.

New Article on Changes in the Social and Geographic Origins of China’s Educated Elites (1865-2014) Published in 《社会学研究》

Lee-Campbell group members Chen Liang, Hao Dong, Yunzhu Ren and James Lee published an article 江山代有才人出——中国教育精英的来源与转变 (Social Transformation and Elite Education: Changes in the Social and Geographic Origins of China’s Educated Elites 1865-2014) in the May 2017 issue of 《社会学研究》 (the Chinese-language journal Sociological Studies). Using data from the China Government Employee Database-Qing (CGED-Q) and the China University Student Dataset – Republic of China and Peoples Republic of China (CUSD-ROC and CUSD-PRC) they contrast the profound changes in social and geographic origins of China’s educated elite in four distinct periods: 1865-1905, 1906-1952, 1953-2003, and 2004-2014. They conclude that these fundamental transformations reflect the ability of the Chinese system of educational testing to legitimate new elites in different eras with different recruitment criteria, rather than merely to reproduce the intergenerational transmission of existing elites, as is the case of elite education in many other parts of the world.

The English and Chinese language abstract as well as a PDF of the paper (in Chinese) are available for download here:

New Online Search Function for Records of Officials in the 缙绅录 Made Publicly Accessible

We’ve made it possible to search the database of records for Qing officials that we are constructing from the 缙绅录, which was a sort of personnel directory published every three months (!) during the Qing, and listed approximately 13,000-15,000 officials each time, depending on the edition. We also have some editions of 中樞備覽 which list military officials. To learn more about the China Government Employee Database – Qing (CGED-Q), including our plans for the future, please visit our project page. We also have a paper in Chinese describing the database.

If you would like to look anyone up, perhaps an ancestor who served as an official, or someone you are already conducting research on, please give it a try: Note that at present, it doesn’t work with Firefox.

All we ask is that if you have additional information on whoever you search for, please provide some details and your contact information in the form that shows up below the search results. We are particularly interested in years of birth and death, and names of ancestors.

We were inspired to do this because we had already begun fielding informal requests from people who asked us if we could find their ancestors, and wanted to make this more widely available.

Fu Siwei, a PhD student in computer science who is working with us on visualization of these and other historical databases, did this search facility as a side project. Lawrence Zhang, Bijia Chen, and other members of the research group provided a lot of feedback on various iterations.

Right now we’re only allowing for lookup of individuals. Following our standard practice, we will begin making the data publicly available, period by period. Our first release will be of late Guangxu and early Xuantong material, sometime in 2018.

Disclaimers and caveats

We’re still entering data. Right now our coverage of the early 20th century and late 19th century is the most complete. Coverage before the middle of the 19th century is pretty spotty.

It’s in Chinese, and for the search, you need to enter traditional Chinese, since that’s the way the original data is.


Review Article by Song and Campbell on Multi-generational Data for Social Science Research Published in Annual Review of Sociology

Xi Song and Cameron Campbell’s review article of multi-generational microdata for social science research published in the Annual Review of Sociology is now available as a preview, with publication scheduled for this summer:

This comprehensive review introduces the major sources of multi-generational, longitudinal data that can be analyzed in the study of demographic and stratification processes. The emphasis is on data that are already available publicly, or by application. The review also surveys major research questions in the study of multi-generational processes, and the methods used for analyzing these data.



Computer Scientists Use CMGPD to Develop Visualization Tools for Genealogical Data

Qu Huamin (HKUST Computer Science) and collaborators have been using the China Multigenerational Panel Dataset-Liaoning to test and showcase visualization tools they have been developing for multidimensional genealogical data. Multidimensional refers to the fact that the genealogical data not only identify ancestors and kin, but describe additional characteristics. They recently published a paper describing these tools and the results of applying them to CMGPD in the IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems: While developing their tools and testing them with the CMGPD, they have consulted frequently with members of the Lee-Campbell Group not only about the data, but the needs of likely users. This collaboration between historians, social scientists, and computer scientists is an example of the sort of cross-disciplinary interaction and engagement that is common at HKUST.

The tools that Professor Qu and his collaborators are developing allow for the visualization of these characteristics, highlighting ancestors or kin with specified traits, while at the same time organizing the presentation as a traditional family tree. This allows for visualization of patterns within families, for example, whether certain outcomes are more apparent in specific family branches, or whether lineage experienced changes in specific time periods.

Matt Noellert awarded Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship

Matt Noellert was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Program in China Studies for the 2017-18 academic year. This fellowship supports an  academic year released from teaching to engage in research and preparation of an academic monograph on China.

See the list of 2017 awardees.

Matt will use this fellowship to complete his book manuscript, “Beyond Fanshen: New Perspectives on Communist Land Reform from Northeast China, 1946-1948.”


Cameron Campbell named as Changjiang Scholar at Central China Normal University

Cameron Campbell was named a Changjiang Scholar (长江学者) at Central China Normal University (华中师范大学) with the title of Visiting Professor of early modern and contemporary Chinese history (中国近现代史 讲座教授), 2016-2019. This is the highest academic honor conferred on individual scholars by the PRC Ministry of Education.  Only a limited number of overseas scholars are recognized every year, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

Campbell is the second member of the Lee-Campbell research group to be honored as a Changjiang Scholar.  From 2006-2009, James Z. Lee was also a Changjiang Scholar at Peking University in the department of Sociology.

Campbell and other members of the Lee-Campbell Group will work with CCNU to advance training and research in quantitative history, with an emphasis on the construction and analysis of big social science datasets.

See the official announcement from the Ministry of Education, and 2016 list of names. Campbell is listed under his Chinese name, 康文林.

Here is an announcement from Central China Normal University.

The Wikipedia entry for the Changjiang Scholar program provides a brief introduction to the program in English.

University of Washington Press Publishes Paperback Edition of Li Ji’s “God’s Little Daughters: Catholic Women in Nineteenth-Century Manchuria”

Li Ji’s book God’s Little Daughter’s has now been published in paperback by University of Washington Press. Congratulations Li Ji! For more information about the book, please see its page at the University of Washington Press website.

Here is a picture of the paperback on display at the publisher’s stand at the 2017 Association for Asian Studies in Toronto: