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JM Chris Chang

Public Humanities Fellow, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University

Asia in Action Fellow, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2018–2021)

email address [email protected]
Headshot of JM Chris Chang

JM Chris Chang is a historian of modern China, having received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 2018. His research focuses on issues of bureaucracy, archive, surveillance, and political culture in 20th century China. His current project is a history of file-keeping and bureaucratic paperwork as understood through the dossier system, the socialist institution of comprehensive files on individual Chinese subjects. The project examines how the paper routines of the dossier consumed the bureaucratic profession and became the material for everyday political acts. His work utilizes what are known in the field as 'garbage sources'--files previously discarded from official archives that have since resurfaced in book and paper markets. The use of this sourcebase has informed a broader interest in the material culture and afterlife of government paper. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council and the ACLS/Mellon Foundation.

In 2021-22, Chris will be serving in a dual role as the Public Humanities Fellow for SOF/Heyman and the Asia in Action Fellow for the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. He will use his experience with unconventional archives to support public humanities research and contribute toward undergraduate and graduate projects.