Eric Schluessel

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Eric Schluessel

Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs

China, Central Asia, Social History, Imperialism


320 Phillips Hall , 801 22nd St NW Washington DC 20052

Areas of Expertise

China and Central Asia
Imperialism and Colonialism
Social History

Eric Schluessel is a social historian of China and Central Asia, and his work focuses on Xinjiang (East Turkestan) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Land of Strangers, his first monograph, uses local archival and manuscript sources in Chinese and Chaghatay Turkic to explore the ramifications of a project undertaken in the last decades of the Qing empire to transform Xinjiang’s Turkic-speaking Muslims into Chinese-speaking Confucians.

Schluessel is currently pursuing two research projects: Saints and Sojourners explores the economic history of the Uyghur region from the 1750s through the 1950s as seen from below, through the records of merchants, farmers, and managers of pious endowments. It ties changes at the village level to shifts in the global economy in places as far away as Manchester and Tianjin. Exiled Gods delves into Han Chinese settler culture and religion to illuminate the history of a diasporic community of demobilized soldiers and their descendants that spanned the Qing empire.

Thanks to grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, Schluessel is also completing a translation and critical edition of the Tārīkh-i Ḥamīdī of Mullah Mūsa Sayrāmī, which is an important Chaghatay-language chronicle of nineteenth-century Xinjiang.

Schluessel previously taught at the University of Montana in Missoula and spent the 2018–2019 academic year as a Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

Graduate Advising

I prepare students for comprehensive examinations in the fields of Modern China, Late Imperial China, and Inner Asia. I will happily run graduate readings courses or open a graduate section of my undergraduate courses according to interest.

Office Hours

Spring 2023 office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00–3:00 PM.

You can sign up for office hours by following this link.

China and Central Asia
Imperialism and Colonialism
Social History

HIST 3611 History of Modern China (Fall 2020, Fall 2021)

HIST 3601 Imperial China (Song–Qing) (Spring 2021)

HIST 2605W Graverobbers on the Silk Road (Spring 2021)

HIST 3601 Uyghur History (Fall 2021)

 “Representation and the Misidentification of Economic and Ethnoreligious Conflict in Republican Xinjiang,” Asian Ethnicity (2020), DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2020.1789447

Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia (New York: Columbia University Press 2020). Winner, 2021, John K. Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association.

Exiled Gods: Territory, History, Empire, and a Hunanese Deity in Xinjiang,” Late Imperial China (June 2020).

Water, Justice, and Local Government in Turn-of-the-Century Xinjiang,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 62, no. 4 (December 2019): 595–621.

An Introduction to Chaghatay: A Graded Textbook for Reading Central Asian Sources (Ann Arbor: Maize Books, 2018).

Hiding and Revealing Islamic Pious Endowments in Late-Qing Xinjiang,” The Muslim World 108, no. 4 (December 2018): 613–29.

(as 許臨君) “从城隍到戍卒:定湘王在新疆,” 历史人类学学刊 (重探「帝国」与「地方社会」 :华南研究与新清史的对话) (October 2017), 169–86.

With William Alford. “Legal History” in A Companion to Chinese History [Blackwell Companions to World History], edited by Michael Szonyi (Malden: Blackwell, 2017), 277–89.

Muslims at the Yamen Gate: Translating Justice in Late-Qing Xinjiang” in Kashgar Revisited: Uyghur Studies in Memory of Gunnar Jarring, edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Birgit Schlyter, and Jun Sugawara, (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 116–38.

The Law and the ‘Law’: Two Kinds of Legal Space in Late-Qing China,” Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident 40 (November 2016): 39–58.

The World as Seen from Yarkand: Ghulām Muḥammad Khān’s 1920s Chronicle Mā Tīṭayniŋ wāqiʿasi. Tokyo: NIHU Program Islamic Area Studies, 2014.

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016