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About Stephen R. Platt

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 the spring of 2012. 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.


Present Professor, Department of History, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Research Interests

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Honors and Awards

  • Recipients of the 2013 Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Cundill Prize in History, 2012
  • Public Intellectuals Fellow, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, 2008–10
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2007
  • Theron Rockwell Field Prize, Yale University, 2004
  • Smart Family Foundation Prize for Nonfiction Writing, 2004
  • Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2003
  • Fulbright Grant, Taiwan, 2001–02


  • Comparative Nationalism
  • Writing History

Contact Information

Herter Hall, Rm 636
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst MA, 01003
Tel: 413-545-2785

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