Publication Date

April 24, 2019

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, Perspectives Daily


  • Asia

Patrick Fuliang ShanPatrick Fuliang Shan is a professor in the history department at Grand Valley State University. He lives in Allendale, Michigan, and has been a member of the AHA since 2003.

Alma maters: PhD, McMaster University, 2003

Fields of interest: Chinese history

Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today? I have been a historian for over 30 years, teaching and doing research on Chinese history in China, Canada, and the United States.

What do you like the most about where you live and work? Now, I am a professor teaching Chinese history at Grand Valley State University in Western Michigan. What I like most here is the fact that my colleagues are very friendly and supportive.

What projects are you currently working on? I am working on a project titled “Li Dazhao: China’s First Communist,” which will be a biography of Li Dazhao, who was the first communist in China. In this project, I will not only trace Li’s path to communism but also interpret China’s great transformation from empire to republic.

Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how? No. My interests have always been the same: modern Chinese history. In the past decades, I have published scholarly articles, two monographs, and other forms of literature on modern Chinese history.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members? As for modern Chinese history, I think one of the best books I myself have read in the past decades is Joseph Esherick’s The Origins of the Boxer Uprising.

What do you value most about the history discipline? History as a discipline is essential to human knowledge, without which humans will be lost in this rapidly changing age of information explosion and will become short-sighted in their perspectives. Although history as a discipline encounters challenges, it must be supported and further developed in the decades to come.

Why is membership in the AHA important to you? The AHA is a great platform for me to gain useful information about history as a discipline. As an active member, I read the AHA journal (American Historical Review) and Perspectives on a regular basis. Also, I present papers at the AHA annual meetings.

Do you have a favorite AHA annual meeting anecdote you would like to share? The presidential address is always one of my favorite moments at the AHA annual conference. The outgoing president usually does an excellent job of presenting his/her first-rate scholarship while introducing his/her lifelong career. Of course, I enjoy attending AHA panels where I can meet scholars and retrieve new scholarly information.

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, Perspectives Dailyfeatures a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

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Matthew Keough
Matthew Keough

American Historical Association