After spending the first eighteen years of my life in Iowa City, I wanted to go as far away from home as possible. When I got to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, I told a first-year advisor that I might want to learn Chinese or Japanese. He told me that Lewis & Clark's Chinese teacher was excellent. I followed his advice and a few weeks later I had a Chinese name, Zhou Jierong 周杰荣, and had embarked on a journey that led to the Harbin Institute of Technology (1997) and Tsinghua University (2000-2001) for language training, and to the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences (2004-2005) for dissertation research. In between, I studied Spanish in the Dominican Republic and worked at an NGO in Mexico City. I moved to Burnaby in 2008 after completing my PhD at the University of California, San Diego. Between 2014 and 2021 I served as an editor of Cambridge Studies in the History of the People’s Republic of China, a book series published by Cambridge University Press.
June Fourth: The Tiananmen Protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021
Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015
City Versus Countryside in Mao's China: Negotiating the Divide
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012, paperback released in 2014
Shengli de kunjing: Zhonghua renmin gongheguo de zuichu suiyue
Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2011
Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People's Republic of China
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010
- “PRC History in Crisis and Clover,” in “The Maoism of PRC History: Against Dominant Trends in Anglophone Academia,” ed. Aminda Smith and Fabio Lanza, special issue, Positions: Asia Critique 29, no. 4 (November 2021): 689–718.
- "Reluctant and Illegal Migrants in Mao's China: Civil Defense Evacuation in the Tianjin Region, 1969–1980," Journal of Chinese History 5, no. 2 (July 2021): 333–349.
- “High Stakes: Teaching Tiananmen to Chinese Students in Canada,” PRC History Review 4, no. 2 (August 2019): 29–31.
- “Special Powers” and “Men’s World,” in Perry Link, Jeremy Murray, and Paul G. Pickowicz, eds., China Tripping: Anecdotes, Vignettes, and Reflections from Lives Lived with China (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), 117–120, 130–133.
- “A Policeman, His Gun, and an Alleged Rape: Competing Appeals for Justice in Tianjin, 1966–1979,” in Daniel Leese and Puck Engman, eds., Victims, Perpetrators, and the Role of Law in Maoist China: A Case-Study Approach (De Gruyter, 2018), 127–149.
- "Moving Targets: Changing Class Labels in Rural Hebei and Henan, 1960–1979," in Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. Johnson, eds., Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism (Harvard University Press, 2015), 51-76.
- “Spatial Profiling: Seeing Rural and Urban in Mao’s China,” in James Cook, Joshua Goldstein, Matthew D. Johnson, and Sigrid Schmalzer, eds., Visualizing China: Image, History and Memory in China, 1750-Present(Lexington Books, 2014), 203-218.
- “Rural Life,” in S. A. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism (Oxford University Press, 2014), 455-470.
- “When Things Go Wrong: Accidents and the Legacy of the Mao Era in Today’s China,” in Perry Link, Richard Madsen, and Paul G. Pickowicz, eds., Restless China (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), 11-36.
- “Teaching Tiananmen: Using Wikipedia in the Undergraduate Classroom to Write about Recent History,” Perspectives on History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association (April 2012): 18-19, co-authored with Benedicte Melanie Olsen.
- “Great Leap City: Surviving the Famine in Tianjin,” in Kimberley Ens Manning and Felix Wemheuer, eds., Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China’s Great Leap Forward and Famine (University of British Columbia Press, 2011), 226-250.
- “Finding and Using Grassroots Historical Sources from the Mao Era,” Dissertation Reviews, December 15, 2010.
- "Rebels, Rent, and Tao Xu: Local Elite Identity and Conflict during and after the Taiping Occupation of Jiangnan, 1860-1884," Late Imperial China, vol. 30, no. 2 (December 2009): 9-38.
- "Burning the Grassroots: Chen Boda and the Four Cleanups in Suburban Tianjin," Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 26, no. 1 (2008): 50-69.
- "From Resisting Communists to Resisting America: Civil War and Korean War in Southwest China, 1950-1951," in Jeremy Brown and Paul G. Pickowicz, eds., Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People's Republic of China (Harvard University Press, 2007), 105-129.
- "Staging Xiaojinzhuang: The City in the Countryside, 1974-1976," in Joseph W. Esherick, Paul G. Pickowicz, and Andrew Walder, eds., The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History (Stanford University Press, 2006), 153-184.
Areas of Graduate Supervision
Asian History, Oral History
Current Graduate Students:
- Zoe Guo
- Alina Luo
- Le Tao
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taiwan Fellowship, 2019
- SSHRC Small Grant, 2018
- Scholarly Digitization Fund Grant, SFU Library, 2018
- David See-Chai Lam Centre Grant, 2018
- Teaching and Learning Development Grant, 2018
- SFU Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017
- Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2014-2015
- Honourable Mention, Wallace K. Ferguson Book Prize, Canadian Historical Association, 2013
- Cormack Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2013
- SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2010-2013
- SSHRC Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences Grant, 2009-2010
- Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2006-2007
- Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, 2004-2005
- Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2004-2005
- Harry S. Truman Scholarship