Huaiyin Li

ProfessorPh.D., 2000, University of California, Los Angeles

Professor, Director of Center for East Asian Studies
Huaiyin Li


  • Phone: 512-475-7910
  • Office: GAR 3.202
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000


Modern Chinese history; Contemporary Chinese economy, society, and politics; Imperial China; Chinese culture and religion; Gender and family; Agrarian studieS; Comparative studies of development and globalization


Huaiyin Li is Professor of History and Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.  He received his M.A. from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in 1987 and Ph.D. from UCLA in 2000.


Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008
.  Stanford University Press, 2009. (winner of 2009 Cecil B. Currey Book Award, the Association of Third World Studies; 2010 Robert W. Hamilton Book Runner-up Award, UT Austin; 2010 CHUS Award for Academic Excellence)

Village Governance in North China: Huailu County, 1875-1936.  Stanford University Press, 2005.

Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing.  University of Hawaii Press, 2012.


Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing

The University of Hawaii Press, 2013

"This book offers a cogent, learned, and clearly written account of 20th-century Chinese historians' endeavors to make sense of their country's modern history in response to shifting political, ideological, and intellectual exigencies as well as to institutional developments, notably, the disciplinization of history."

"This book should be read by all students of modern Chinese intellectual history, and offers food for thinking about history in general." - Choice

"Huaiyin Li contributes to our knowledge of Chinese historical writing on two levels: first, as a summary of major historical currents across the twentieth century, and second, as a critique of all the things that can go wrong with narrativizing history, even while Li ultimately calls for a new and better 'master narrative.'" "Li offers a thorough analysis of the generational and ideological shifts in twentieth-century historical writings." "Reinventing Modern China presents a nuanced analysis of history writing in China during the Maoist period and since." - The Journal of Asian Studies

"One of the refreshing things about UT-Austin Professor Huaiyin Li's latest book on historical writing in China, Reinventing Modern China, is that roughly three-fourths of the more than four hundred references cited are from Chinese publications. Many of them written by members of Li's own cohort, Chinese social scientists and historians who didn't enter academic circles until China's economic reform era in the 1980s. The rest of Li's Chinese sources cover a wide range of scholarship from the early twentieth century to the present. Not that he ignores Western scholarship on the subject; far from it. He delves deeply into Western accounts of modern China and theoretical works on history-writing to elucidate cross-cultural influences and contrasting interpretations of historical events." "Welcome too is the tight, logical organization of his arguments that Li offers. What could look like an unfathomable tangle of views and interpretations is made crystal clear, so that the specialist and generalist alike can grasp the arguments with ease." "A worthy project, indeed.  And Professor Li's book is an excellent place to begin the journey." - Pacific Affairs

Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008

Stanford University Press, 2009

(2009 Cecil B. Currey Book Award, the Association of Third World Studies; 2010 Hamilton Book Award, UT Austin)

"[A] compelling analysis of the evolution of state-society relations during China's Maoist and reform eras."  "The book is the product of impeccable scholarship, a combination of rigorous archival research and extensive fieldwork. Huaiyin Li's firsthand knowledge and personal connections have enabled him to probe a village community's "informal and often invisible structures", and he has persuasively demonstrated the critical role that those "subinstitutions" have played in determining the direction of Party-peasant relations in Qin village, a microcosm of village China, during the PRC's first 60 years." - The China Journal

"There is a burgeoning literature tracing change and continuity in post-revolutionary China. This book is among the best of that field. Using a rare, comprehensive collection of village accounts, records and cadres' diaries, a series of interviews conducted during lengthy visits over a period of 14 years, and a level of access and familiarity afforded him as a native-born villager, Huaiyin Li has reconstructed the political economic history of Qin village, in central Jiangsu, between the Maoist and post-Mao periods." "Well written, strongly argued and based on impressive analysis of fine-grained empirical evidence, this undoubtedly is one of the best case-studies of China's rural political economy in the latter part of the 20th century. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of political-economic trends throughout this turbulent period of history, and will serve as an important source of information for scholars and students alike." - East Asia: An International Quarterly

"Li's complex portrait of Qin village contributes an original, insightful, and well-documented study to a growing body of literature that is challenging common views of the past sixty years in China. The book delivers a real sense of village life throughout the different eras and the context to understand it, making it an excellent tool for teaching as well as for comparative research. Indeed, Li's well-grounded and theoretically-interesting research should be useful in refining comparative theories on the authoritarian institutions, social institutions, public political engagement, and economic development." - Perspectives on Politics

"I recommend the book for its ethnographic value. Six decades of political upheaval and socioeconomic transformation in rural China come alive in oral histories, the author's personal experiences and observations, local records, archives, and documents. The stories in the pages exhibit a high level of authenticity and readability. Through the lives of the ordinary villagers, Huaiyin Li leads us on a journey to experience village life and to witness history." - American Journal of Sociology

"The book is refreshing in its theoretical perspective, compelling in its arguments and meticulous in the extensive details it presents of peasants' lives and production in rural China." "Overall, Village China under Socialism and Reform is the most systematic and rigorous study of rural China to date, contributing significantly to the micro-history of rural China, collectivization of agriculture, economy and politics under collectives and post-Socialist China." - The China Quarterly

"Even though this is a micro-level analysis, the book recounts the major macro-level changes which occurred in China after the 1949 communist take-over, moving seamlessly from the national to the village level.  The book is very well organized and well presented.  Li outlines his central purpose and findings simply and cogently, and follows through with a systematic presentation of the evidence and analysis, all of which is done in exquisite prose." - Journal of Third World Studies

"In systematically documenting of these multifaceted aspects of daily life at the village level, and retrieving remaining records, Li contributes to the larger field of rural studies that argues for the urgent preservation of rural documents. This is a crucial effort for village level materials are rapidly disappearing in China, where as the memory of the collective era fades, once important documents are deemed useless and are being burned as firewood." - Enterprise and Society

"Based upon extensive use of rare local documentation as well as the author's intimate familiarity with his own local community, this well-crafted analysis of rural evolutionary transformation in east-central China deserves a wide reading." - Choice

"[T]his is a well designed and admirably executed work that sets a new standard for the study of the political economy of rural China. Readers will find it informative and inspiring." - Journal of Chinese Political Science

"The book is a sequel to the author's well-received 2005 monograph, Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936 (Stanford University Press). Together, these two extraordinarily detailed works have done a great deal to illuminate the interior dynamics of Chinese rural political economy in the late 19th and 20th centuries." - Journal of Asian History

Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936

Stanford University Press, 2005

"This book is a hugely informative study of the changing relation between villages and the state during the late Qing and early Republican periods based on the unusually abundant archives of Huailu County on the southwestern edge of the North China plain." "I came away from this volume enormously much better informed about exactly how rural taxation worked during this period, something that is essential to understanding the docuentary record of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century rural China.  This book is probably not the easist read for the nonspecialist, but for anyone hoping to do research in this field it will be essential reading." - China Review International

"The book's strength is its focus on Chinese rural society at the village level. The author based his research on local archives filled with documents related to litigation cases, taxation records, and petitions. Its analysis of peasant behavior, which reveals the informal government of the village communities at Huailu, is particularly lucid." - Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This is truly a well-written book on China's village governance, a very good example of combining theory, first-hand materials and sophisticated analysis." - Journal of Chinese Political Science

Biographical Sketch


2012- Professor, University of Texas at Austin
2009-12 Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin
2006-09 Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin
2006 Promoted to Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia
2001-06 Assistant Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia


2000 Ph. D., History, University of California, Los Angeles
1987 M. A., History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
1984 B. A., History, Soochow University


Modern Chinese history
Contemporary Chinese economy, society, and politics
Imperial China
Chinese culture and religions
Chinese historiography
Agrarian studies
Comparative studies of development and globalization


2012-13 The Institute for Historical Studies Fellowship, UT Austin
2012-14 Humanities Research Award, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin
2012-12 Research Grant, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange
2010 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award, University of Texas at Austin
2010 CHUS (Chinese Historians in the United States) Award for Academic Excellence
2010 Research Grant, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange
2009 Cecil B. Currey Book Award, the Association of Third World Studies
2009 Liberal Arts IT Grant, University of Texas at Austin
2008 Dean's Fellow, University of Texas at Austin
2008 Grant of the Lee Hysan Visiting Scholar Scheme, CUHK
2007 Research Grant, University of Texas at Austin
2007 Research Grant, Pacific Basin Research Center, Soka University of America
2007 Summer Research Assignment, University of Texas at Austin
2006 Fellow of the Jack S. Blanton, Sr. Chair in History, UT Austin
2006 Research Board Grant, University of Missouri System
2005 Center for Arts and Humanities Grant, University of Missouri-Columbia
2005 Summer Research Fellowship, University of Missouri-Columbia
2004 Research Council Small Grant, University of Missouri-Columbia
2004 Research Council Grant, University of Missouri-Columbia
2002 Post-doctoral Research Grant, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (USA)
2002 Summer Research Fellowship, University of Missouri-Columbia
2002 Grant for Internationalizing MU Curriculum, University of Missouri-Columbia
2001 Research Board Grant, University of Missouri System
1999 Young Scholar Award, China Times Cultural Foundation (USA)
1998 Ou Jou Yi Scholarship, Sun Yat-sen Cultural and Educational Foundation



In English:

Village Governance in North China: Huailu County, 1875-1936. Stanford University Press, 2005.

Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro History, 1948-2008. Stanford University Press, 2009 (Winner of 2009 Cecil B. Currey Book Award, the Association of Third World Studies; winner of the 2010 CHUS Award for Academic Excellence; winner of Robert W. Hamilton Book Runner-Up Award, University of Texas at Austin).

Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2012.

"Remaking China: Geopolitics, fiscal-military strength, and state transformation, 1600-1950" (book manuscript in progress)

"China under Mao: a new interpretation" (book manuscript in progress).

In Chinese:

Chonggou jindai Zhongguo: Zhongguo lishi xiezuo zhong de xiangxiang yu zhengshi (Chinese translation of Reinventing Modern China). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2013.

Xiangcun Zhongguo jishi: jitihua he gaige de weiguan licheng (Chinese translation of Village China under Socialism and Reform). Beijing: Falu chubanshe, 2010.

Huaibei cunzhi: wan Qing he Minguo shiqi de guojia yu xiangcun (Chinese translation of Village governance in North China). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2008.


In English:

*"Rewriting Modern Chinese History in the Reform Era: Changing Narratives and Perspectives in Chinese historiography." Storia della Storiografia (accepted).

*"From Revolution to Modernization: The Paradigmatic Transition in Chinese Historiography in the Reform Era." History and Theory, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 336-360, October 2010.

*"Between Tradition and Revolution: Fan Wenlan and the Origins of the Marxist Historiography of Modern China," Modern China, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 269-301, May 2010.

*"Cultural Transition and Village Discourse in Twentieth-Century China." In William L. Ascher and John M. Heffron, eds, Cultural Change and Persistence: New Perspectives on Development, pp. 113-132. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.


*"Confrontation and Conciliation under the Socialist State: Peasant Resistance to Agricultural Collectivization in China in the 1950s," Twentieth-Century China, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 73-100, April 2008.

*"The First Encounter: Peasant Resistance to State Control of Grain in East China in the Mid-1950s," The China Quarterly, No. 185, pp. 145-162, March 2006.

*"Everyday Strategies for Team Farming in Collective-era China: Evidence from Qin Village," The China Journal, No. 54, pp. 79-98, July 2005.

*"Life Course, Labor Remuneration, and Gender Inequality in a Chinese Agrarian Collective," The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 277-303, April 2005.

*"Family Life Cycle and Peasant Income in Socialist China: Evidence From Qin Village," The Journal of Family History, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 121-138, January 2005.

*"Power, Discourse, and Legitimacy in North China Villages: Disputes Over the Village Head Office in Huailu County in the 1910s and 1920s," Twentieth Century China, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 73-110, April 2003.

*"Village Regulations at Work: Local Taxation in Huailu County, 1900-1936," Modern China, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 79-109, January 2000.

"Chinese Archives Information on the Web." The Chinese History Research Site at UCSD, 2001

(Book review) Xiaorong Han, Chinese Discourses on the Peasant, 1900-1949. The Chinese Historical Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 392-395, Fall 2006.

In Chinese:

*"Chuantong Zhongguo de shiti zhili: yi Huailu xian de tianfu zhengshou weili" (Substantive governance in traditional China: land taxation in Huailu county." In Philip Huang ed., Zhongguo falu shehui yu wenhua (Law, society, and culture in China), Beijing: Falu chubanshe (forthcoming).

*"Zhongguo xiangcun Zhili zhi chuantong xingshi: Hebei sheng Huailu xian zhi shili" (The pattern of rural governance in traditional China: the case of Huailu county, Hebei province). Zhongguo xiangcun yanjiu (Rural China), Vol. 1, pp. 64-111, 2003.

*"Wan Qing ji Minguo shiqi Huabei cunzhuang zhong de xiangdi zhi" (The xiangdi system in North China villages: 1875-1936). Lishi yanjiu (Historical research), No.6, pp. 75-88, December, 2001.

* "Ershi shiji zaoqi Huabei xiangcun de huayu yu quanli" (Discourse and power in North China villages in the early twentieth century). Ershiyi shiji (Twenty-first century), No. 55, pp. 33-44, October, 1999.

*"Zhongguo wenhua chuantong yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua" (Chinese cultural tradition and China's early modernization). In Luo Rongqu ed., Geguo xiandaihua bijiao yanjiu (Modernization of nations: a comparative study). Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe, 1993.

"Zhongguo xiandaihua sixiang de zaoqi licheng" (The evolution of Chinese perceptions of modernization: the early stage). Beijing daxue xuebao (Journal of Beijing University), No. 2, 1993.

"Xiandaihua-fazhan lilun de Zhongguohua wenti chutan" (Towards the Sinification of modern development theories). Shehui kexue yanjiu (Social sciences research), No. 6, 1993.

"Luetan Zhongguo jingyan yu xiandaihua lilun de fanshi chuangxin" (The Chinese experience and modernization theories: paradigmatic implications). Shixue lilun yanjiu (Historiography Quarterly), No. 2, 1993.

"Ping xiandaihua-fazhan lilun de liangda duili fanxing" (Contrasting paradigms in the studies of modern development: a critical review). Jiangsu shehui kexue (Social sciences in Jiangsu), No. 2, 1993.

"Ruxue chuantong yu Zhang Jian de yisheng" (Confucian tradition and industrialism: the life of Zhang Jian, 1853-1926). Xuehai, No. 1, 1992.

"Xinhai geming qian Zhang Jian de shiye fazhan jihua jiqi shibai" (Industrialism in China on the eve of the 1911 Revolution: Zhang Jian and his enterprises). Jiangsu shixue (Jiangsu history), No. 4, 1990.

"Zhengzhi xiandaihua: xianxingzhe yu houlaizhe zhijian de bijiao" (Political modernization: a comparison between first-comers and latecomers). Jianghai xuekai (Jianghai academic journal), No. 5, 1989.

"Guowai zhengzhi xiandaihua yanjiu zhong de bijiao shixue liupai" (The "comparative history" approach in the studies of political development). Zhengzhixue yanjiu (Journal of political science), No. 6, 1988.

"Rujia lunli yu Zhongguo jindai zibenzhuyi" (Confucian ethics and capitalism in modern China). Zhexue tantao (Philosophical exploration), No. 4, 1988.

"Yifu lilun he shijie tixi lilun shuping" (Dependency and world system theories: a review). Guowai shehui kexue (Western social sciences), No. 7, 1988.

"Zhongguo zhengzhi xiandaihua de lishi toushi" (China's political modernization in historical perspective). Jianghai xuekan (Jianghai academic journal), No. 5, 1988.

"Xiandaihua yu chuantong: cong duili dao shentou" (Beyond tradition and modernity: a critical review of Western studies on China's modernization). Shehui kexue pinglun (Social sciences review), No. 11, 1986.

中 文 版


1984 年 获苏州大学历史系学士学位

1987 年 获中国社会科学院研究生院近代史系硕士学位

2000 年 获美国加州大学洛杉矶校区历史系博士学位

2001-2006 年 密苏里大学哥伦比亚校区历史系助教授

2006 年 晋升密苏里大学哥伦比亚校区历史系副教授

2009-2012 年 德州大学奥斯丁校区历史系副教授

2012 至今 德州大学奥斯丁校区历史系教授


  乡村中国纪事:集体化和改革的微观历程(斯坦福大学2009年英文版;法律出版社2010年中文版) (本书获第三世界研究协会2009年最佳图书奖、留美中国历史学会2010年杰出学术奖;2010年度德州大学奥斯汀校区汉密尔顿专著奖)

  华北村治:晚清和民国时期的国家与乡村(斯坦福大学2005年英文版;中华书局 2008年中文版)


《中国现代化的历史进程》(合著) (安徽人民出版社1994)


  传统中国的"实体治理": 以获鹿县的田赋征收为例

  学术中国 学术周刊 2006年1月B

  黄宗智主编,中国乡村研究 第一辑, 2003

历史研究, 2001, 6

  二十一世纪, 55, 1999 

  社会科学研究, 1994, 6  
  (复印报刊资料 中国政治, 1994, 1)
  (哲学动态, 1994, 1)

史学理论研究, 1993, 2



北京大学学报 哲学社会科学版, 1993, 2 

  学海, 1992, 1  

学海, 1992, 5  
  (复印报刊资料 中国近代史, 1992, 11

  (复印报刊资料 出版工作、图书评介, 1991, 5)

  从"现代化论""帝国主义论": 国外中国现代史研究动向综述
  (复印报刊资料 中国现代史,1990年,第12)




  国外政治现代化研究中的"比较史学" 流派述评 
  政治学研究, 1988, 6


  江海学刊, 1988, 5
  (复印报刊资料 中国近代史, 1988, 10)

  社会科学评论, 1986, 11
  (复印报刊资料 文化研究, 1987, 2)
  (复印报刊资料 社会学, 1987, 2)

  中学历史, 1984年,第5期

  历史知识, 1983, 2  

  知识窗, 1982, 5