Professor Helen Dunstan, FAHA
PhD (Cambridge), MA (Oxford) MCoun (ACU)
Room 840 A18 Brennan-MacCallum Building
+61 2 9351 5516
I am a historian of premodern China, with a primary focus on economic thought and economic policy in the first half of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). I am particularly interested in the processes through which the central government made economic-policy decisions, and in the interplay between motives of very different kinds in such decision-making. While much of my research to date has focused on state intervention in the grain trade, my interests have now shifted to (1) provincial finance in the Qianlong reign; and (2) cross-cultural difference in the experience and expression of emotion.
Other topics on which I have worked include the southwest-Shanxi salt industry, particularly in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Chinese environmental history, post-1980 Chinese reportage, and eighteenth-century autobiographical texts. I enjoy teaching East Asian gender history, and have always been fascinated by the anthropological study of Chinese society.
- Economic thought and policy in late imperial China
- Provincial finance in eighteenth-century China
- Making Sense of the Accounts: Provincial Finance in Mid-Qing China
State or Merchant? Political Economy and Political Process in 1740s China. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Asia Center, 2006. 523 pp.
Conflicting Counsels to Confuse the Age: A Documentary Study of Political Economy in Qing China, 1644–1840. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 1996. 363 pages.
Note: all studies in Chinese are published under my Chinese name, 鄧海倫 / 邓海伦.
“Inconvenient Confucianism and the Construction of Heroes in Recent Chinese Reportage: A Banned Investigation into China's Peasantry”. Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 22, no. 1 (2010): 1–58.
“If Chen Yun Had Written about Her ‘Lesbianism’: Rereading the Memoirs of a Bereaved Philanderer.” Asia Major 20, no. 2 (2007): 103–22.
“Qianlong shisan nian zai jiantao一changping cang zhengce gaige he guojia liyi quanheng” 乾隆十三年再检讨一一常平仓政策改革和国家利益权衡 (1748 re-examined: raison d’état and policy change towards the ever-normal granaries). Qingshi yanjiu 清史研究 66 (2007): 1–11. Translation drafted by Wang Jiang.
“Shilun liuyang zisong zhidu zai Qianlong chao de yishi feichu” 试论留养资送制度在乾隆朝的一时废除 (On the Qianlong-period suspension of the system of reception centers and assisted passage home for famine refugees). In Tian you xiongnian: Qingdai zaihuang yu Zhongguo shehui 天有凶年：清代灾荒与中国社会 (Heaven sends some bad years: natural disasters and Chinese society during the Qing dynasty), ed. Li Wenhai and Xia Mingfang (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2007), pp. 112–45.
“Tunhu yu jihuang: shiba shiji gaoji guanliao zouzhe zhong suo fanying tunhu de juese” 囤户与饥荒: 18世纪高级官僚奏折中所反映囤户的角色 (Famine and the hoarder: the role of hoarders as reflected in the memorials of eighteenth-century senior officials). In Ziran zaihai yu Zhongguo shehui lishi jiegou 自然灾害与中国社会历史结构(Natural disasters and social structure in Chinese history), ed. Institute of Chinese Historical Geography, Fudan University (Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2001), pp. 211–33.
“The ‘Autocratic Heritage’ and China's Political Future: A View from a Qing Specialist.” East Asian History 12 (1996): 79–104. Actual publication date: 1998.
“Official Thinking on Environmental Issues and the State's Environmental Roles in Eighteenth-Century China.” In Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History, ed. Mark Elvin and Liu Ts'ui-jung (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 585–614.
- Published also as “Shiba shiji Zhongguo guanfang dui huanjing wenti de kanfa yu zhengfu de juese” in Jijian suo zhi: Zhongguo huanjing shi lunwen ji, ed. Elvin and Liu (Taibei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Economics, 1995), vol. 2, pp. 877–916. Translation by Yang Junfeng.
“‘Orders Go Forth in the Morning and are Changed by Nightfall’: A Monetary Policy Cycle in Qing China, November 1744–June 1745.” T'oung Pao (International Journal of Chinese Studies) 82 (1996): 66–136.
“Safely Supping with the Devil: The Qing State and its Merchant Suppliers of Copper.” Late Imperial China 13, no. 2 (1992): 42–81.
“Wang Yuan’s Pingshu: A Late Seventeenth-Century Utopia.” Papers on Far Eastern History 35 (1987): 31–78.
Chinese social and cultural history-all periods
East Asian gender history (China, Japan, Korea)
The political, economic and environmental history of late imperial China (1368-1911)
Undergraduate subjects offered in 2010
- HSTY1090 History of Chinese Culture
- HSTY2685 Gender and Historical Change: East Asia
- HSTY2683 Violence in Chinese History
Undergraduate subjects planned for 2011
- HSTY2640 Twentieth Century China
- HSTY2673 Lived Experience in Modern China
- Beyond Orientalism (Honours seminar)
I am best equipped to supervise projects in the history of the Ming and Qing dynasties, preferably within the time-span 1368 to 1800. However, I am also willing to consider well-developed proposals for thesis research on periods both earlier and later than this, and I would be happy to serve as associate supervisor, as appropriate, on topics that fall outside my immediate research interests, including comparative history.