Ruochen Chen

Graduate Student in History
Status: Post-Qualification, ABD

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, focusing on modern China. My dissertation, entitled “The Ocean’s Child: Infrastructural Semicolonialism and the Making of the Modern Yangtze River”, restores the cultural shift of the Yangtze River from a natural barrier defending against potential threats from the sea to a thoroughfare connecting China to global industrial capitalism. Looking beyond diplomatic negotiations and commercial competitions, my project delves into the mundane affairs and ordinary lives, both Chinese and foreign, that maintained a set of seaborne infrastructure on the great river. Connecting riverine cities to seagoing ships, these unglamorous infrastructural innovations (take a guess on your own) were crucial to making the Yangtze a semicolonial space.


contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • One Brookings Drive
  • MSC: 1062-107-114
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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