Global Asia Initiative Welcomes Yuan Chen

October 22, 2021

By Rohini Thakkar

Yuan Chen
Yuan Chen

This Fall, the Global Asia Initiative (GAI) in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) welcomed Dr. Yuan Chen as a postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Humanities. Yuan Julian Chen received her PhD from the Department of History at Yale University. Before joining Duke, she was a Visiting Professor at Boston College teaching classes on early China and food history. Her current research focuses on the history of environment in premodern and early modern East Asia. She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled "Kaifeng: What it Took to Feed, Furnish, and Fortify the World's Largest City, 900-1200." It explores the environmental changes of Middle Period of China from the view of Kaifeng, China's imperial capital, and its ecological and economical connections with its diverse supplying regions in China and beyond.

Dr. Chen's work has been published in the Journal of Early Modern History, the Journal of Chinese History, the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, and Chinese Culture. Her research has been supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. She speaks Chinese and Japanese and reads Classical Chinese and Tangut. Her teaching interests include Chinese history, Tokugawa Japan, early modern global history, environmental history, and the Silk Road.

At the Global Asia Initiative, in cooperation with FHI, she will be working with Dr. Prasenjit Duara to organize seminars, workshops and conferences on Inter-Asia topics, and especially focusing on environmental humanities. At FHI, apart from presenting her research, she will also co-direct (with another Franklin postdoc) a working group for early career visiting scholars.