Field: United States
Advisor: Mae Ngai
An Americanist originally from Shanghai, China, Chengji is interested in “United States in the World”. Her research focuses on twentieth century US history from a transnational perspective. Her current project explores the long term implications of Theodore Roosevelt's policies in the Pacific world, notably the American remission of Boxer Indemnity Fund to China, which provided channels of transnational cultural exchanges and cultivated the most eminent generation of Chinese intellectuals. Delving into transnationalism on an individual basis, she aspires to challenge nation-centric historical narratives by showing how the trans-Pacific exchange of people, ideas and commodity revealed neglected facets of US history.
Before joining the Columbia community, she finished her undergraduate work in Tsinghua University and M.A degree in American history of Peking University. Her bachelor thesis “The Readership, Reception and Transnational Impact of Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 edition of Democracy in America” earned UA International Award. Her M.A. thesis explored the cosmopolitan Quaker Thomas Paine’s transatlantic experiences in Britain, France and the United States, and examined the marginalization of Paine after the American Revolution; that research also leads her way to Jefferson Center at Monticello as an international fellow.
Involved in scholarly dialogues of both China and America, Chengji published reviews, translations and interviews (with American historians of all sorts) in the Chinese academia, and has recently been involved in developing a website to promote American history studies outside the United States. Prospective international students who aspires to explore possibilities of studying American history at Columbia are highly encouraged to contact her.