(full CV and publications available here)

Professor of Humanities, Beijing Normal University

PhD, UCLA, 2001
MA, BA, University of Chicago, 1991


Fudan University, Development Inst.
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Australian National University
National Univ. of Singapore
Washington University St. Louis


Empire and the Meaning of Religion in Northeast Asia: Manchuria 1900–1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Sacred Village: Social Change and Religious Life in Rural North China (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005)

BOOKS (edited)

Out of the Archive: A Reader for fieldwork research on modern Chinese history. With Jan Kiely (Routledge, 2019)

Agricultural production and Rural transformation, with Huaiyin Li (Brill, 2016)

Asian Studies Review, Article symposium on NGO sector in China, December 2015

“New Perspectives in Chinese Folklore Studies,” Asian Ethnology, with Li Jing and Peng Mu, 2015

Casting Faiths: Imperialism and the Transformation of Religion in East and Southeast Asia (Palgrave, 2009)

RESEARCH ARTICLES (academic audience)

In progress

  • “Trends in China Food History: Commodity, Consumption and Cuisine” (state of the field introduction to Global Food History guest edited issue, in progress)
  • “Who ordered the beef? Government and local enterprise in China’s cattle industries, 1980-2000” (in progress, for 2020 book symposium)
  • “Confucianism in Trans-War and Cold War Asia,” Cao Xinyu and Thomas DuBois for Cambridge History of Confucianism, ed. Kiri Paramore (Cambridge University Press, under contract)
  • “Fast food for thought: Finding global history in a Beijing McDonald’s,” World History Connected, under review


  • “China’s old brands: Commercial heritage and creative nostalgia,” International Journal of Asian Studies, (forthcoming 2020)
  • “Milk From the Butterfly Spring: State and Enterprise in the Yunnan Dairy Industry 从蝴蝶泉来的牛奶:滇西乳品产业的发展与政企互动,” Rural China 中国乡村研究 17 (1): 87-110.
  • “Religious violence in early modern East Asia” in The Cambridge World History of Violence, Volume 3: AD 1500-AD 1800, ed. Robert Antony, Stuart Carroll, and Caroline Dodds Pennock. (Cambridge University Press)
  • “Religious violence in China since 1850” in The Cambridge World History of Violence, Volume 4: AD 1800-AD 2000, ed. Louise Edwards, Nigel Penn, and Jay Winter. (Cambridge University Press)
  • “Dairy,” “Cheese” and “Beef” (total 8,000 words) In Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisines, Sydney Cheung, ed. (forthcoming, Berkshire Publishing)


  • “Borden and Nestlé in East Asia, 1870-1929: Branding and retail strategy in the condensed milk trade” Business History.
  • Walking a production chain: An interdisciplinary approach to method and meaning” in Fieldwork in Modern Chinese History: A Research Guide. DuBois and Jan Kiely, eds. (Routledge)
    • Revised for Chinese publication as 杜博思:行走在生产链上《民间文化论坛》Liu Yiling, tr., (1) 2019, 33-40.
  • “China eats—Chinese Food Brands at the Hangzhou Innovation Forum” Alicia E and Thomas DuBois, Asia Pacific Journal <;
  • “Many roads from pasture to plate: A commodity chain approach to China’s beef trade, 1732-1931” Journal of Global History, 14 (1): 22-43.
  • “China’s dairy century – making, drinking and dreaming of milk” in Rotem Kowner, Guy Bar-Oz, Michal Biran, Meir Shahar, Gideon Shelach, eds., Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical and Ethical Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan): 179-211
  • “Conversations with Two (Possibly) Buddhist Folk Healers in China” in Pierce Salguero, ed. Buddhism & Medicine: An Anthology Vol 2: Modern and Contemporary Voices (Columbia University Press)
  • “Be a civilized citizen!” Corporate Social Responsibility and the new Chinese secular” Centre for Advanced Studies on “Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities” Working paper #8.


  • “In the Center of It All: Thoughts from the Edges of Empire” in From Chinggis to Qing: Empire in Asia: A New Global History, ed. Jack Fairey and Brian P. Farrell (Bloomsbury): 31-51
  • “Religious freedom in East Asia: Historical norms and the limits of advocacy” Journal of Religious and Political Practice 4 (2018): 46-60


  • “Big meat: The rise and impact of mega-farming in China’s beef, sheep and dairy industries” Alisha Gao and Thomas DuBois, Asia Pacific Journal <;
  • “Идеология и контроль: Инструменты авторитаризма в Японской Маньчжурии” [Ideology and control: Instruments of authoritarianism in Japanese Manchuria]” (Tr. L.A. Katz), Bereginya 2 (28) special issue on global fascism, ed. Alexander Bogdashkin, (2017): 291-302
  • “Welfare provision during the new Republic and the interwar period” in Handbook of Welfare in China, eds. Johanna Hood and Beatriz Carillo Garcia (Edward Elgar): 29-44.


  • “Chinese Agriculture and Rural Development Reexamined: Western and Chinese Perspectives.” Huaiyin Li and Thomas DuBois, Introduction to idem., eds. Agricultural production and Rural transformation, Volume 1 of “Historical Studies of Contemporary China” (Brill): 1-24
  • “Local Religion and Festivals” in eds. Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely and John Lagerwey, Modern Chinese Religion, 1850-present (Brill): 371-400


  • “Before the NGO: Chinese charities in historical perspective,” Asian Studies Review 39 (4): 541-552


  • “Public health and private charity in Northeast China, 1905-1945,” Frontiers of History in China, (4): 506-533
  • “Chinese folk rituals” in eds. Bryan Turner and Oscar Salemink, Handbook of Asian Religions (Routledge): 209-218
  • “Opiate of the Masses with Chinese Characteristics: recent Chinese scholarship on the meaning and future of religion.” Chi Zhen and Thomas DuBois, Introduction to Lü Daji and Gong Xuezeng, eds. Religious Studies and Marxist Approaches to Religions in China, trans. Chi Zhen, Volume 4 of “Selected Research on Modern Chinese Religions” series (Brill): 1-20
  • Prepublication version as Asia Research Institute Working Paper 213


  • “The salvation of religion? Public charity and the new religions of the early Republic,” Minsu quyi, 172: 73-126
  • Revised for publication in Charities in the Non-Western World: The Development and Regulation of Indigenous and Islamic Charities, eds. Rajeswary Ampalavanar Brown and Justin Pierce, (Routledge): 115-146
  • Introduction to Ma Xisha and Meng Huiying, ed. Folk Religions and Shamanism. Volume 1 of “Selected Research on Modern Chinese Religions” series. Part 1 tr. Chi Zhen and Thomas DuBois (Brill): 1-18


  • 杜博思:从局外人到局内人:一个历史学家眼中的乡村调查 [From outsider to insider: a historian’s view of rural fieldwork], 《中国社会科学报》2010年
  • “Inauthentic sovereignty: Law and legal institutions in Manchukuo,” Journal of Asian Studies, 69 (3): 749-770
  • “Religion and the Chinese State: Three Crises and a Solution,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64 (3): 344-358


  • 杜博思:神靈、教派、香頭——地方文化中的宗教知識 [Spirits, sects and xiangtou – religious knowledge in local culture],《民俗研究》4期,2009年
  • “The transformation of religion in East and Southeast Asia – paradigmatic change in regional perspective” (Book introduction) in ed. DuBois, Casting Faiths,: 1-19
  • “Japanese media and Manchurian Cultural Community: Religion in the Shengjing Times, 1907-1944” in ed. DuBois, Casting Faiths: 217-238


  • “Manchukuo’s filial sons: States, sects and the transformation of graveside piety,” East Asian History, Vol. 35
  • Revised for Chinese publication as 杜博思:滿洲國’的孝子:國家,宗教,以及守墓行為的適應性演變《民俗研究》3期, 2010年


  • “Rule of Law in a Brave New Empire: Legal Rhetoric and Practice in Manchukuo,” Law and History Review, Vol. 26 (2): 285-317
  • “Local religion and the cultural imaginary: the development of Japanese ethnography in occupied Manchuria,” American Historical Review, Vol. 111 (1): 52-74
  • Revised for Chinese publication as 杜博思:思想之帝国:满洲民俗学与亚洲社会科学的长期变迁《民俗研究》2012年


  • “Imperialism, Hegemony and the Construction of Religion in East and Southeast Asia” History & Theory, Vol. 44 (4), Theorizing Empire theme issue: 113-131
  • Reprinted in Ashgate International Library of Essays on Rights, ed. Lorenzo Zucca (Ashgate, 2015)


    • “Village Community and the Reconstruction of Religious Life in Rural North China” in ed. John Lagerwey, Religion and Chinese Society: The Transformation of a Field (Paris: Ecole Français d’Extrême-Orient and Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Press): 837-868


Interviewed by/quoted in: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Berlingske (Denmark), Buzzfeed, Caixin, Canadian Broadcasting Service, Channel News Asia (Singapore), Chinasource, Christianity Today, The Economist, New York Times, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Time (Asia edition), Today (Singapore), Washington Post


2015-2019, Summers conducting fieldwork research in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan; 2016, Resident fellow at Chinese University of Hong Kong; 2013-2015, 2017, Academic residence in Australia; 2003-2012, Academic residence in Singapore, research summers in China and Japan 1997- 1999; Tianjin, doctoral research and fieldwork; 1996, Kanazawa, advanced Japanese language; 1992-1994, Shandong College of Chinese Medicine, English teacher 1990, Summer language program in Taiwan.


Chinese: very good speaking and reading; Japanese: conversational speaking, good reading; Russian: Basic speaking and reading


2019, Beijing Normal University research startup fund, 200,000CNY; 2015-2018 Australian Research Council, A$154,978; 2013 ANU Research School of Asia and Pacific, A$ 60,000; 2012 ANU Research School of Asia and Pacific, A$ 20,000; Singapore Ministry of Education, S$438,296. (member); 2010 NUS Faculty Research Grant, S$23,288; 2006 NUS Faculty Research Grant, S$12,466; 2005, NUS conference grant, S$30,000; 2004, NUS conference grant, S$30,000; 1997-1998, American Council of Learned Societies, $17,000.