Professor of History and East Asian Studies
John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
Office: Hall 208
Professor Smith offers courses on Chinese, East Asian, and comparative history, with a special focus on the social and cultural history of China from the tenth through the twentieth century. Recent courses include surveys of China in the mid-imperial (10th through 16th century) and late-imperial (17th through 20th century) eras, as well as seminars on warrior and outlaw sagas in China and Japan, modern Chinese political culture, and China’s place in global history.
Smith's scholarship is centered on the institutional, social, and cultural history of mid-imperial China, spanning the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1271-1368), and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties. He has written books and articles on state intervention in the Song economy, Chinese culture and society under Mongol rule, war and the northern frontier as a factor in political culture, and — most recently — on the great 16th century novel Shuihu zhuan (Water Margin) as a window onto the military subculture of North China from the 10th century onwards. In addition to co-editing Volume 5A of The Cambridge History of China, he is currently at work on a book project provisionally entitled "War and Political Culture in Mid-Imperial China: The Song Military and the Literati State."