Humanities and Arts

Contact Information

Salisbury Laboratories, 408B
Phone: +1-508-831-6739

Jennifer M. Rudolph

Jennifer Rudolph's main area of research is modern Chinese political history.  While her first book dissects institutional change in late imperial China, her second, which she is currently writing, examines the impact of historical interpretation on contemporary politics by analyzing the 17th-century figure of Zheng Chenggong.  Whether portrayed as a pirate, a Confucian god, a Chinese nationalist, or the Moses of Taiwan, Rudolph explores co-optations of Zheng Chenggong as a lens for analyzing identity politics in the Taiwan Strait. 

Professor Rudolph incorporates her research into her teaching, because she says doing so helps students realize that scholarship should be part of ongoing debate, and "it's just fun to merge teaching and research." For instance, Rudolph's work on Zheng Chenggong and how he is part of political debate in both Taiwan and China today helps her teach about nationalism. Her teaching interests are broad and include the political, social, environmental, and cultural history of China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

Rudolph has led the charge to start a China program at WPI. She and her team have created a China track for students at WPI, adding Mandarin language and China content courses to Humanities and Social Science offerings. Recognizing that global education at a STEM school requires multiple approaches, she, along with colleagues and students, has created modules for STEM courses utilizing case studies from China in order to further internationalize WPI’s overall curriculum.

Knowing that the best way to learn about a culture and global STEM is through direct experience, she founded and directs the Hangzhou Project Center, allowing students to complete their IQPs in mainland China.

Research Interests

  • Modern Chinese History
  • Taiwan History


  • AB with Honors, University of Chicago
  • MA, University of Washington
  • PhD, University of Washington

Featured Publications

  • Negotiated Power in Late Imperial China: The Zongli Yamen and the Politics of Reform, Cornell East Asia Series, Vol. 137. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University East Asia Program, 2008.
  • Coauthored with Hanchao Lu. “Mirrored Reflections: Place Identity in Taipei and Shanghai,” in Urban China in Transition, edited by John Logan, 161–181. London: Blackwell, 2007.
  • “Creating a Personnel Base: Zongli Yamen Efforts to Penetrate the Qing Hierarchy,” The Chinese Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall 2005): 202–229.

View a Complete List (.pdf, 287kb)

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