James Carter, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of the History Department
Office: Barbelin 112-R
Phone: 610-660-1988
Email: jcarter@sju.edu

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

My research and teaching interests focus on the history of late-imperial and modern China. I'm particularly interested in interactions between China and the West during the modern period, focusing not on state-to-state relations, but the actions of individuals. This emphasis on individual actions frames the way I think about history, as a negotiation between broad, overarching trends and individuals' daily lives.


PhD, Yale University (1998)

MA, MPhil, Yale University (1994)

BA , University of Richmond (1991)

Courses Taught

HIS 154 - Forging the Modern World

HIS 350 - Exchange & Conquest in Modern East Asia

HIS 351 - Gender, Ideology, & Revolution in East Asia

HIS 352 - Late Imperial China

HIS 353 - Modern China

HIS 354 - Japan Since 1800

HIS 355 - Colonialism & Nationalism in Southeast Asia

HIS 358 - Contemporary China (SJU-China summer) 



Down to the Wire in Shanghai: A Day at the Races and the End of Old China. New York: W.W. Norton, forthcoming.

Heart of Buddha, Heart of China: The Life of Tanxu, a Twentieth-Century Monk. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Creating a Chinese Harbin: Nationalism in an International City, 1916-1932. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2002.

(with Richard Warren) Forging the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.(ed. with Cynthia Paces) 1989: End of the 20th Century. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

Book chapters

“The Rise of Nationalism and Revolutionary Parties, 1919-1937,” Chapter in Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

 “Looking for Lok To,” in Angilee Shah and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, eds., Chinese Characters: Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

(with Cynthia Paces), “One Revolution of the Earth.” Chapter in James Carter and Cynthia Paces, eds., 1989: End of the 20thCentury. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

“Touring Harbin's Pasts.” Chapter in Daniel Walkowitz and Lisa Knauer, eds., Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004: 149-166.

“A Tale of Two Temples: Nation, Region, and Religious Architecture in Harbin, 1928-1998.” Chapter in Place, Space, and Identity: Harbin and Manchuria in the Twentieth Century, a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly  (99:1, Winter, 2000): 97-115.

Journal Articles

“The Future of Harbin’s Past,” Itinerario 35, no. 3 (2011): 73-85; Korean version published in Journal of Manchurian Studies 9.

 “Buddhism, Resistance, and Collaboration in Manchuria,” Journal of Global Buddhism 10 (2009): 193-216.

 “Struggle for the Soul of a City: Nationalism, Imperialism, and Racial Tension in 1920s Harbin,” Modern China 27: 1 (January 2001): 91-116.

“New Additions to the Search Party: Using The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection,” Education About Asia 5:2 (Fall 2000): 19-22.

“Blue Skies, Black Snow, Red Tape: Archives in North Manchuria” Wall and Market 2: 1 (Spring 1997).

“A Subject Elite: The First Decade of the Constitutionalist Party in Cochinchina, 1917-1927” The Vietnam Forum 14 (Spring, 1994): 211-243.

Other publications

“‘This is Not That China Story’: Q&A With Michael Meyer, Author of In ManchuriaChinaFile  Feb. 4, 2015. http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/culture/not-china-story  

 “The East (Side) is Red” Los Angeles Review of Books China Blog. Dec. 10, 2014. http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/chinablog/east-side-red/   

“Shanghai Joyce,” (with Jeffrey Wasserstrom). Times Literary Supplement (Nov. 1, 2013): 15.

“Jogging the Memory,” Los Angeles Review of Books China Blog. Oct. 23, 2013. http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/chinablog/jogging-memory/

“Renewal of the Chinese Nation or Nationalism?” China-US Focus. Feb. 22, 2013 http://www.chinausfocus.com/culture-history/renewal-of-the-chinese-nation-or-nationalism/

“Taprooms and Temples: Beer, Buddhism and Tourism in China,” The National Interest. Nov. 28, 2011. http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/taprooms-temples-beer-buddhism-tourism-china-6192

“Harbin’s Past, Modern Style,” The China Beat, July 31, 2011, http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=3629  

“Basketbrawls Past and Present,” The China Beat, Oct. 15, 2010, http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=2755  

“Harbin,” in Melvin Ember and Carol R. Ember, eds., Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures: Cities and Cultures Around the World, Vol. 2: 317-323. Danbury, Conn.: Grolier, published under the auspices of the Human Relations Area Files at Yale University, 2002.


Grants and Awards

Tengelmann Award for Distinguished Research and Teaching (2015)

National Committee for US-China Relations, Public Intellectuals Fellow


I am currently writing a book set in Shanghai on the eve of World War II. Tentatively titled Down to the Wire in Shanghai, this book focuses on the last Champions' race at the Shanghai Race Club, on November 12, 1941. Using the racetrack as the center of the story, I branch out from there to explore and explain the interrelations among Shanghai's many different communities--national communities including Chinese, British, American, and Japanese, but also religious communities of Jews and Buddhists, and political communities of nationalists, communists, and collaborators--on the eve of the Japanese invasion.

Faculty Expert Profile

  • Expertise: Contemporary China’s Nationalism and Its Roots, Life Post-Tiananmen Square, Religion in China