Shuang Chen

Associate Professor

Drop-in Hours: by appointment only

Shuang Chen earned a BA and MA in history from Peking University, and PhD in history from the University of Michigan. She joined the Department of History in 2010. As a historian of late imperial and modern China, her research interest encompasses social, economic, and political history, with an emphasis on exploring how the interplay of state and local institutions over the long term shaped modern Chinese society.

In her work, Shuang Chen applies a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods to central and local county archival documents such as memorials, edicts, and court cases as well as a large number of population and land registers. Her book, State-Sponsored Inequality: The Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China (Stanford University Press, 2017), explores the social economic processes of inequality in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century rural China. In addition, she has also published a set of articles and book chapters on the interaction between demographic behaviors, social stratification, and institutional context under the setting of frontier settlement. Her developing project is on changes in the concepts and customs surrounding property rights in Manchuria in late Qing and the early Republic, when the state land in this area was privatized.


Professor Chen teaches the following courses:

  • HIST:1602  Civilizations of Asia: China
  • HIST:2151  Introduction to the History Major -- Love and Friendship in Chinese Culture
  • HIST:4650  Chinese history from 1600 to 1927
  • HIST:4653  Law and Society in Late Imperial and Modern China
  • HIST:4655  China since 1927
  • HIST:7606  Readings in Chinses History (graduate seminar)

Awards and service

  • 2017, Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title, State-Sponsored Inequality.
  • 2013-14, Faculty research grant, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Iowa.
  • 2012-15, Subcontract for NICHHD grant “Multi-generational Demographic and Landholding Data: CMGPD-SC Public Release.” 1R01HD070985-01 (Dr. Cameron Campbell, University of California, Los Angeles, Principal Investigator).
  • 2012-13, The Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation of International Scholarly Exchange, Junior Scholar Grant.
  • 2013, The Flexible-load assignment, University of Iowa.
  • 2012, The Old Gold Fellowship, University of Iowa.




  • "Categorical Inequality and Gender Difference: Marriage and Remarriage in Northeast China, 1749-1913"
  • “Wealth Stratification and Reproduction in Northeast China, 1866-1907.”
  • “Vulnerability and Resettlement: Mortality Differences in Northeast China by Place of Origin 1870-1912 – Comparing Urban and Rural Migrants.”
Research areas
  • History of Late Imperial and Modern China
  • Social and Economic History
  • Social Stratification
  • Historical Demography
  • Chinese Law and Society
Shuang Chen
University of Michigan
Contact Information

162 Schaeffer Hall (SH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States