Li 李懷印

Professor of History and Asian Studies

3.202 Garrison Hall 
Department of History
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station B7000
Austin, TX 78712

Phone (512) 475 7910












Last modified 12/20/2013
















































































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Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing
The University of Hawaii Press, 2013

"This book offers a cogent, learned, and clearly written account of 20th-century Chinese historians' endeavors to make sense of their country's modern history in response to shifting political, ideological, and intellectual exigencies as well as to institutional developments, notably, the disciplinization of history." "This book should be read by all students of modern Chinese intellectual history, and offers food for thinking about history in general." - Choice

"Huaiyin Li contributes to our knowledge of Chinese historical writing on two levels: first, as a summary of major historical currents across the twentieth century, and second, as a critique of all the things that can go wrong with narrativizing history, even while Li ultimately calls for a new and better 'master narrative.'" "Li offers a thorough analysis of the generational and ideological shifts in twentieth-century historical writings." "Reinventing Modern China presents a nuanced analysis of history writing in China during the Maoist period and since." - The Journal of Asian Studies

"One of the refreshing things about UT-Austin Professor Huaiyin Li's latest book on historical writing in China, Reinventing Modern China, is that roughly three-fourths of the more than four hundred references cited are from Chinese publications. Many of them written by members of Li's own cohort, Chinese social scientists and historians who didn't enter academic circles until China's economic reform era in the 1980s. The rest of Li's Chinese sources cover a wide range of scholarship from the early twentieth century to the present. Not that he ignores Western scholarship on the subject; far from it. He delves deeply into Western accounts of modern China and theoretical works on history-writing to elucidate cross-cultural influences and contrasting interpretations of historical events." "Welcome too is the tight, logical organization of his arguments that Li offers. What could look like an unfathomable tangle of views and interpretations is made crystal clear, so that the specialist and generalist alike can grasp the arguments with ease." "A worthy project, indeed.  And Professor Li's book is an excellent place to begin the journey." - Pacific Affairs

Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008
Stanford University Press, 2009

(2009 Cecil B. Currey Book Award, the Association of Third World Studies; 2010 Hamilton Book Award, UT Austin)

"[A] compelling analysis of the evolution of state-society relations during China's Maoist and reform eras."  "The book is the product of impeccable scholarship, a combination of rigorous archival research and extensive fieldwork. Huaiyin Li's firsthand knowledge and personal connections have enabled him to probe a village community's "informal and often invisible structures", and he has persuasively demonstrated the critical role that those "subinstitutions" have played in determining the direction of Party-peasant relations in Qin village, a microcosm of village China, during the PRC's first 60 years." - The China Journal

"There is a burgeoning literature tracing change and continuity in post-revolutionary China. This book is among the best of that field. Using a rare, comprehensive collection of village accounts, records and cadres' diaries, a series of interviews conducted during lengthy visits over a period of 14 years, and a level of access and familiarity afforded him as a native-born villager, Huaiyin Li has reconstructed the political economic history of Qin village, in central Jiangsu, between the Maoist and post-Mao periods." "Well written, strongly argued and based on impressive analysis of fine-grained empirical evidence, this undoubtedly is one of the best case-studies of China's rural political economy in the latter part of the 20th century. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of political-economic trends throughout this turbulent period of history, and will serve as an important source of information for scholars and students alike." - East Asia: An International Quarterly

"Li's complex portrait of Qin village contributes an original, insightful, and well-documented study to a growing body of literature that is challenging common views of the past sixty years in China. The book delivers a real sense of village life throughout the different eras and the context to understand it, making it an excellent tool for teaching as well as for comparative research. Indeed, Li's well-grounded and theoretically-interesting research should be useful in refining comparative theories on the authoritarian institutions, social institutions, public political engagement, and economic development." - Perspectives on Politics

"I recommend the book for its ethnographic value. Six decades of political upheaval and socioeconomic transformation in rural China come alive in oral histories, the author's personal experiences and observations, local records, archives, and documents. The stories in the pages exhibit a high level of authenticity and readability. Through the lives of the ordinary villagers, Huaiyin Li leads us on a journey to experience village life and to witness history." - American Journal of Sociology

"The book is refreshing in its theoretical perspective, compelling in its arguments and meticulous in the extensive details it presents of peasants' lives and production in rural China." "Overall, Village China under Socialism and Reform is the most systematic and rigorous study of rural China to date, contributing significantly to the micro-history of rural China, collectivization of agriculture, economy and politics under collectives and post-Socialist China." - The China Quarterly

"Even though this is a micro-level analysis, the book recounts the major macro-level changes which occurred in China after the 1949 communist take-over, moving seamlessly from the national to the village level.  The book is very well organized and well presented.  Li outlines his central purpose and findings simply and cogently, and follows through with a systematic presentation of the evidence and analysis, all of which is done in exquisite prose." - Journal of Third World Studies

"In systematically documenting of these multifaceted aspects of daily life at the village level, and retrieving remaining records, Li contributes to the larger field of rural studies that argues for the urgent preservation of rural documents. This is a crucial effort for village level materials are rapidly disappearing in China, where as the memory of the collective era fades, once important documents are deemed useless and are being burned as firewood." - Enterprise and Society

"Based upon extensive use of rare local documentation as well as the author's intimate familiarity with his own local community, this well-crafted analysis of rural evolutionary transformation in east-central China deserves a wide reading." - Choice

"[T]his is a well designed and admirably executed work that sets a new standard for the study of the political economy of rural China. Readers will find it informative and inspiring." - Journal of Chinese Political Science

"The book is a sequel to the author's well-received 2005 monograph, Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936 (Stanford University Press). Together, these two extraordinarily detailed works have done a great deal to illuminate the interior dynamics of Chinese rural political economy in the late 19th and 20th centuries." - Journal of Asian History

Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936
Stanford University Press, 2005

"This book is a hugely informative study of the changing relation between villages and the state during the late Qing and early Republican periods based on the unusually abundant archives of Huailu County on the southwestern edge of the North China plain." "I came away from this volume enormously much better informed about exactly how rural taxation worked during this period, something that is essential to understanding the docuentary record of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century rural China.  This book is probably not the easist read for the nonspecialist, but for anyone hoping to do research in this field it will be essential reading." - China Review International

"The book's strength is its focus on Chinese rural society at the village level. The author based his research on local archives filled with documents related to litigation cases, taxation records, and petitions. Its analysis of peasant behavior, which reveals the informal government of the village communities at Huailu, is particularly lucid." - Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This is truly a well-written book on China's village governance, a very good example of combining theory, first-hand materials and sophisticated analysis." - Journal of Chinese Political Science








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