Waley-Cohen, Joanna

Joanna Waley-Cohen

Professor of History; Provost, NYU Shanghai

Professor Waley-Cohen received her B.A. (1974) and M.A. (1977) degrees in Chinese Studies from Cambridge University and her Ph.D. (1987) degree in History from Yale University. Her books include The Culture of War in China: Empire and the Military under the Qing Dynasty (2006); The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History (1999); and Exile in Mid-Qing China: Banishment to Xinjiang, 1758-1820 (1991). As Dean, Professor Waley-Cohen is responsible for recruitment of faculty, curriculum oversight, and intellectual development of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Profesor Waley-Cohen’s current scholarly projects include a study of daily life in China c.1800, and a history of culinary culture in early modern China. Her research interests include early modern Chinese history, especially Qing imperial culture and its ramifications; Chinese military culture; Chinese material culture; and the role of food in Chinese social and cultural life from 1500 to 1900. She works to test traditional assumptions about China against actual evidence and to locate China within global historical contexts.  She has taught Chinese history and civilization at NYU since 1992.

Professor Waley-Cohen has received many honors, including archival and postdoctoral fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies; Goddard and Presidential Fellowships from NYU; and an Olin Fellowship in Military and Strategic History from Yale.

Silver Dialogues Essay

Much of what we once thought we knew about China now seems little more than a set of stereotypes, yet the influence of this so-called knowledge has been pervasive. In many if not most cases, these stereotypes offer a very negative view of the Chinese past. These misconceptions often emerged first in the perspectives of outsiders, but the extraordinary success of the foreign powers in eroding the Chinese sense of national identity and self-confidence led many Chinese to accept what these outsiders said about China as accurate. Read More...