Xiaoshun Zeng (he/him/his)

Ph.D. Graduate
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Ph.D., History, University of Washington, 2022
M.A. History, Peking University, 2012
B.A., International Studies and Diplomacy, Peking University, 2009

I am a specialist in Chinese and East Asian history, and my research and teaching interests focus on the history of medicine and science, history of socialism, and ethnic minorities in China. I received my PhD from the University of Washington in 2022 and I am currently a visiting assistant professor in East Asian History at the University of Rhode Island.

My dissertation, “Diagnosing Minorities: Anti-Syphilis Campaigns and Nation-state Building on China’s Inner Asian Frontiers, 1949-1964,” studies the "Ethnic Health" (Minzu Weisheng 民族衛生) program during the first 15 years of the People's Republic. My research suggests that although the PRC state intended to utilize anti-syphilis campaigns to elevate the status of the minority population in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibetan regions and incorporate them into the socialist state-building project, the state nevertheless failed to achieve its desired results and further marginalized the Inner Asian ethnic minority groups in socialist China.

I conducted multisite archival and field research in Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), Chengdu (Sichuan Province), Beijing, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. My research and writing have been supported by grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC-IDRF), the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington.

In addition to research and teaching, I contribute content to public history. I write entries for Blackpast.org, an online reference center for African American history founded by Professor Emeritus Quintard Taylor at the University of Washington. I spoke at Episode 3 of the "One Wild World: Examining the Intersection of Animals, Humans and Habitats in a Global Pandemic" virtual speaker series organized by the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The episode was aired on October 15, 2020, and a recording is available here.

Before joining the doctoral program at the UW, I lived for eight years in Beijing, where I completed a BA in International Studies and an MA in History, and also worked as a translator and language instructor. I wrote an MA thesis on the history of a well-known Buddhist monastery in Beijing.


2019-2020 China Times Cultural Foundation Young Scholar Award Scholarship
2018-2019 Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship
2018-2019 Society of Scholars Fellow, Simpson Center for the Humanities, University of Washington
2018 American Historical Association Bernadotte Schmitt Grant
2016-2017 Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship
2016 Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship, University of Washington

Courses Taught

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