News and Updates

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:

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.

Some disclaimers:

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.

Also, it doesn’t work with Firefox.

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:

Stanford University Press Publishes Shuang Chen’s New Book “State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China”

Shuang Chen’s book State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China, published by Stanford University Press, was on display for the first time at the publisher’s stand at the 2017 Association for Asian Studies meeting in Toronto. To learn more about the book, please see the publisher’s website.

Here is a picture of the book at the stand:


New Article by Hao Dong, James Lee, and Co-authors Published in Evolution and Human Biology

Hao Dong and James Lee, along with their co-authors Satomi Kurosu, Matteo Manfredini, and Wenshan Yang, published their article “Kin and birth order effects on male child mortality: three East Asian populations, 1716–1945” in the March 2017 issue of Evolution and Human Biology.  Using data from several historical East Asian populations, including Taiwan, the CMGPD-LN dataset for northeast China, and Japan, they examine how family context and birth order shape mortality chances in these specific populations and discuss the implications for our understanding of human behavior overall.

The paper is available via Open Access: