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Stephen R. Platt

Professor of History

Portrait of Stephen R. Platt

(413) 545-2785

Herter Hall 636

Professor Stephen R. Platt holds a Ph.D. from Yale University (2004), where his dissertation won the Theron Rockwell Field prize. He is a historian of late imperial China, specializing in the nineteenth century and China's foreign relations. At UMass, he teaches courses on modern Chinese history from the 17th century to the present day, as well as seminars on US-China relations, comparative nationalism, and the writing of history. 

Professor Platt’s most recent book is Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom (Knopf, 2012), a military history of the Taiping Rebellion in global context that won the 2012 Cundill Prize, the largest international literary prize for a work on history. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom was also a Washington Post notable book, a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice, a Foreign Policy “favorite read,” and a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He is also the author of Provincial Patriots: The Hunanese and Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2007). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Chinafile, the Atlantic online, the Wall Street Journal, and Late Imperial China, among other venues. He is currently writing a book on the old China trade and the coming of the Opium War.

Research Areas

History of Modern China
Chinese foreign relations

Courses Recently Taught

  • China in the 19th Century
  • Comparative Nationalism
  • Writing History