John Tseh-han Chen
Lecturer, Wm. Theodore de Bary Postdoctoral Fellow
Office: B-204 Heyman Center
Office Hours: R 2:00-4:00
John Chen’s first book project, The Worldliest Minority: A Global History of Muslims in Modern China, examines the transformation of Chinese Muslim (Hui) identity as empires across Asia gave way to nation-states. It shows how leading Chinese Muslims engaged extensively with modern Islamic thought from the Middle East and Indian Ocean, but also played crucial roles in China’s domestic and foreign policies toward Muslims. In this context, these leaders articulated a new vision of Chinese Muslims as a minority group uniquely connected to the outside world yet uniquely important and loyal to the Chinese nation. Using a wide range of Chinese and Arabic sources, this project rethinks the relationship between transnational mobility and national consolidation, and offers a connected, contingent, and non-monolithic view of both Islam and China.
Beyond the book project, Dr. Chen is interested in a variety of topics including Chinese Muslim pharmacies and materia medica trade, Islam and communism, and modern Chinese and Arabic thought. In terms of concepts and methods, he is especially interested in exploring new intersections between global history, area studies, intellectual history, and histories of science.
“Islam’s Loneliest Cosmopolitan: Badr al-Din Hai Weiliang, the Lucknow-Cairo Connection, and the Circumscription of Islamic Transnationalism.” ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies 3/2 (Spring 2018): 120-39.
“Medicine and Muslim Modernity in China.” Ottoman History Podcast. July 2, 2018.
“‘Just Like Old Friends’: The Significance of Southeast Asia to Modern Chinese Islam.” Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia (SOJOURN) 31/3 (November 2016): 685-742.
“Re-Orientation: The Chinese Azharites between Umma and Third World, 1938-55.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and Middle East (CSSAAME) 34/1 (Spring 2014): 24-51.