Wensheng Wang

faculty profile photo

Associate Professor

Ming-Qing China

Office: Sakamaki B204
Phone: (808) 956-4233
Email: wensheng@hawaii.edu

BA, MA Wuhan University, 1998, 2001;
MA, PhD University of California, Irvine, 2006, 2008

Professor Wang is a historian of late imperial China, specializing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His research interests include empire building, cultural politics, intellectual change, social movements, popular religion, maritime interactions, and foreign relations. He is the author of White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Crisis and Reform in the Qing Empire (Harvard University Press, January 2014). Professor Wang is beginning research for a second book on the transformative power of Confucian ideology and its interactions with the Qing state before the Opium War. More specifically, it explores the cultural politics enacted by different intellectual networks and official groups as they coped with a dramatic combination of crises from the 1780s to the 1830s. With a strong interest in world history, Professor Wang aims to place the China-centered history in a broader context, both through making comparisons and through examining the empire’s connections with other parts of the world.

Courses Taught

Civilizations of Asia; East Asian Civilizations; Local History of Late Imperial China; China in World History; The Chinese Revolution; Graduate Seminar on Late Imperial China

Representative Publications


White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Crisis and Reform in the Qing Empire. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, January 2014.


“Parallels and Connections: Consumption, Environment, and State Formation at Both Ends of Eurasia, 1500-1900AD,” World History Studies 2 (2015): 102-122.

“Prosperity and Its Discontents: Contextualizing the Social Protest during the late Qianlong Reign,” Frontier of History in China 6 (2011): 347-369.

“Social Crises and Political Reform during the Jiaqing Reign of Qing China, 1796-1810s,” in From Early Tang Court Debates to China’s Peaceful Rise, ed. Friederike Assandri and Dora Martins. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009, pp.33-52.

“Political Culture 1800-1900,” in Encyclopedia of Modern China, ed. David Pong. Farmington Hills: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009, pp.146-148.

Book Reviews

The Art of Doing Good: Charity in Late Ming China by Joanna Handlin Smith, China Review International 16 (2009): 266-270.

The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties by Timothy Brook, Journal of World History 23 (2012): 170-174.

Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty by Ho-Fung Hung, The China Journal 68 (2012): 245-247.

China’s Last Empire: the Great Qing by William Rowe, The China Journal 71 (2014): 285-288.

The Qing Opening to the Ocean: Chinese Maritime Policies, 1684-1757 by Gang Zhao, Bulletin of the Pacific Circle 32 (2014): 14-16.

Translated Works

Kenneth Pomeranz, “The Economics of Respectability: Rural Incomes, Instability and Gender Norms in Late Imperial China,” Research on Women in Modern Chinese History 14 (2006): 205-241.

Selected Fellowships and Grants

  • 2007 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Early Career Fellowships)
  • 2005 Pacific Rim Research Program Grant, University of California President Office
  • 2002 Chancellor’s Fellowship, University of California, Irvine