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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Stephen R. Platt




Office: Herter 636
Telephone: (413) 545-2785
Fax: (413) 545-1330

Degree: Ph.D., Yale University (2004)
Field of interest: Modern Chinese History

Graduate Courses Offered:
Comparative Nationalism
Writing History

Research Interests and Professional Activities:
Stephen R. Platt is a historian of late imperial China, specializing in the nineteenth century and China's foreign relations. He was a 2008-2010 fellow of the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and gives occasional talks on modern and contemporary China to audiences in education, government, and the general public. 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.

Platt is the author most recently of Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom, a military history of the Taiping Rebellion in global context published by Knopf. In 2012, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom won the Cundill Prize, the┬álargest international literary prize for a work on history. He is beginning research for a future book on the old China trade and the coming of the Opium War. He is also the author of  Provincial Patriots: The Hunanese and Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2007). Support for his research has come from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright program, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation.