Dr. Yan Gao
Research Associate in the Global Asia Initiative of the Duke University Center for International & Global Studies
Dr. Yan Gao is a historian of late imperial and modern China and works at the juncture of social and environmental history. She grew up in Wuhan of Central China, a place where people need to live with extensive water-related issues and problems, and that living experience became the original incentives for her to investigate the history of water control in China. After spending a few years studying World History in China, she came to the U.S. for doctorate studies in Chinese history. She obtained her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and taught at a few institutions around the world, including Qatar, Bangladesh, and Memphis, TN. In 2016, she spent seven months in Germany at the Rachel Carson Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München on the Carson fellowship, indulging herself in the field of environmental history and environmental humanities in general. Earlier this year, she spent a month at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin for a Local Gazetteers project.
At the Global Asia Initiative, she will be working with Dr. Prasenjit Duara to organize seminars, workshops and conferences on Inter-Asia topics, and especially focusing on environmental humanities. She is also completing the first book manuscript with a tentative title “Yangzi Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Jianghan Plain in Late Imperial and Modern China” and transitioning to a second project on the history of Yangzi from a global perspective.