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Justin Jacobs

Assistant Professor
Department of History

  • Justin Jacobs is a historian of modern China. His research concerns the legacy and inheritance of Chinese empire during the twentieth century. His first book manuscript, Empire Among Empires: Xinjiang and the Modern Chinese State, examines these themes against the backdrop of six decades of Han rule along the Muslim borderlands of northwestern China. He is currently working on a new book project, “Desert Sahibs: Aurel Stein and the Plunder of China” (http://dryhten.wordpress.com), which aims to reframe Western archaeological expeditions to China within a dual context of global and domestic Chinese history.
  • Degrees

    PhD, University of California, San Diego
    MA, University of Washington
    BA, University of Washington

  • CAS - History
  • Battelle Tompkins - 153
  • On leave. Email for appointment.

  • (202) 885-2170 (Office)
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Summer 2014

  • Fall 2014

    • HIST-296 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Cultural History of China
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

"Nationalist China's 'Great Game': Leveraging Foreign Explorers in Xinjiang, 1927-1935," Journal of Asian Studies 73, no. 1 (February): 43-64.

"Langdon Warner at Dunhuang: What Really Happened?" The Silk Road 11 (2013): 1-11.

"Preparing the People for Mass Clemency: The 1956 Japanese War Crimes Trials in Shenyang and Taiyuan," China Quarterly 205 (March 2011): 152–72.

"The Many Deaths of a Kazak Unaligned: Osman Batur, Chinese Decolonization, and the Nationalization of a Nomad," American Historical Review 115, no. 5 (December 2010): 1291–1314.

"Confronting Indiana Jones: Chinese Nationalism, Historical Imperialism, and the Criminalization of Aurel Stein and the Raiders of Dunhuang, 1899–1944," in China on the Margins, ed. Sherman Cochran and Paul G. Pickowicz (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010), 65–90. 

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Chinese, Uighur)



AU Expert

Area of Expertise: modern Chinese history, Xinjiang Province, minority governance in China

Additional Information: Justin Jacobs
is interested in how the multiethnic peoples of China became incorporated into a Han-dominated state during the twentieth century. For his dissertation, he conducted a year of field research in China, Taiwan, and the mostly Muslim province of Xinjiang, supported by a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. He is the author of three peer-reviewed articles on modern Xinjiang, and has also written on Japanese war crimes trials in China during the early Mao years. He teaches courses on Chinese, Japanese, and Inner Asian history.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.