Madeleine Zelin

Dean Lung Professor of Chinese Studies; Professor of History, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Department of History

Modern legal history and the role of law in the Chinese economy

Professor Zelin has pioneered the study of Chinese legal and economic history. Her book The Merchants of Zigong: Industrial Enterprise in Early Modern China (Columbia University Press, 2005), a study of the indigenous roots of Chinese economic culture and business practice was awarded the 2006 Allan Sharlin Memorial Prize of the Social Science History Association, the 2006 Fairbank Prize of the Association for Asian Studies and the 2007 Humanities Book Prize of the International Convention on Asian Studies.

In addition to teaching the advanced modern Chinese history survey and general graduate and undergraduate seminars and colloquia on modern Chinese history, Professor Zelin offers courses on Chinese legal and economic history and the history of industrialization. In addition to Merchants of Zigong and numerous articles and book chapters, Professor Zelin is author of The Magistrate’s Tael (University of California Press, 1984), and coeditor of Chinese law : knowledge, practice and transformation, 1530s to 1950s (Brill, 2015), Merchant Communities in Asia (Pickering & Chatto, 2015), New Narratives of Space in Republican Chinese Cities (Brill 2013), Contract and Property Rights in Early Modern China (Stanford University Press, 2004), and Nation and Beyond: Chinese History in Later Imperial and Modern Times (University of California Press, 2006), and translator of Mao Dun’s Rainbow (University of California Press, 1992).

Professor Zelin’s current research focuses on discursive, juridical and economic aspects of commercial law reform in the late Qing and early Republican period. Professor Zelin has been on the Columbia faculty since 1979.



Charles K. Armstrong