Zhao Ma

Associate Professor of Modern Chinese History and Culture, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Arts & Sciences


    I was born and grew up in Beijing. I received my Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University in 2007, and joined the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Washington University in 2011. My first book, Runaway Wives, Urban Crimes, and Survival Strategies in Wartime Beijing, 1937-1949, was published by Harvard University Asia Center in 2015. It uses criminal case files to explore lower-class women’s role in remaking wartime Beijing’s social and moral order. I am currently writing a new book, Seditious Voices in Revolutionary China, 1950-1953. It examines the relationship between rumor-mongering and political propaganda during the Korean War campaign, and offers a lens through which to study the transformation of urban informational space against the backdrop of war fever and emerging revolutionary politics in Mao’s China. At Washington University, I teach courses on 20th-century Chinese history, city and women, material culture, historical landscape, socialist culture, and US-China relations since 1949.

    Besides researching and teaching at Washington University, I have been a Public Intellectual Program (PIP) Fellow at the National Committee on US-China Relations since 2014. As a PIP fellow, I have opportunities to participate in the meetings with government officials of United States and China and joined the U.S. congressional delegation to visit China. I have also been working closely with public media, including writing op-eds for Chinese newspapers, giving interviews to New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and PBS, and speaking frequently at Voice of America on topics of Chinese politics, society, and US-China relations.

    I am now living in Clayton, MO, with my wife Patty and our beautiful 8-year-old son, Kai. Outside of classroom and public outreach works, my main mission is to take Kai to visit the natural history museums around the world to explore the magnificent and mysterious world of dinosaurs.