Department of History Faculty

Yusheng Yao, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History

Department Chair

 Mulan   Chinese palace   Chinese workers
Yusheng Yao grew up in Beijing, China. As a sixth grader, he welcomed the Cultural Revolution when it started in 1966 because it relieved his worry about the upcoming examination for entering middle school. Like millions of the Chinese youth of his generation, Yao was sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, where he worked in the fields at first and later on as a carpenter. Without opportunity for school education and ample Tiananmen Squaretime to kill in his spare time, Yao began to study English by himself in 1972. When the national examination for college was restored in 1978 after Deng Xiaoping came to power, Yao entered Peking University. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English literature in 1982 and 1984, he had taught in the English Department of Peking University for three years.

Yao came to the United States for graduate study on a Harvard-Yenching scholarship in 1987. He received his M.A. in American Studies in 1992 and Ph.D. in history in 1999 at the University of Minnesota. Yao enjoys teaching at Rollins, where small classes enable him to interact with students in and outside the classroom.
Yao's research interests is in the twentieth-century Chinese history, especially the issue of modernity and cultural identity. A unique feature of his class is his cross-cultural perspective and personal experience. He has published articles on modern Chinese history, literature, and contemporary politics in Modern China, the China Quarterly, Twentieth-Century China and the Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies.