Eric Schluessel

Eric Schluessel portrait
Assistant Professor
Phillips Hall 320
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

China, Central Asia, social history, imperialism

Eric Schluessel is a social historian of China and Central Asia, and his work focuses on Xinjiang (East Turkestan) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Land of Strangers, his first monograph, uses local archival and manuscript sources in Chinese and Chaghatay Turkic to explore the ramifications of a project undertaken in the last decades of the Qing empire to transform Xinjiang’s Turkic-speaking Muslims into Chinese-speaking Confucians. Schluessel’s current project, Exiled Gods, delves into Han Chinese settler culture and religion to illuminate the history of a diasporic community of demobilized soldiers and their descendants that spanned the Qing empire.

Thanks to grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, Schluessel is also completing a translation and critical edition of the Tārīkh-i Ḥamīdī of Mullah Mūsa Sayrāmī, which is an important Chaghatay-language chronicle of nineteenth-century Xinjiang. Ongoing research builds off of this and other manuscript, documentary, and memoir sources to reconstruct an economic history of Xinjiang from below.

Schluessel previously taught at the University of Montana in Missoula and spent the 2018–2019 academic year as a Mellow Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016
M.A., Indiana University, 2007
M.A., School of Oriental and African Studies, 2005
B.A., Connecticut College, 2004


Representation and the Misidentification of Economic and Ethnoreligious Conflict in Republican Xinjiang,” Asian Ethnicity (2020), DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2020.1789447

Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia (New York: Columbia University Press 2020).

“Exiled Gods: Territory, History, Empire, and a Hunanese Deity in Xinjiang,” Late Imperial China (June 2020).

Water, Justice, and Local Government in Turn-of-the-Century Xinjiang,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 62, no. 4 (December 2019): 595–621.

An Introduction to Chaghatay: A Graded Textbook for Reading Central Asian Sources (Ann Arbor: Maize Books, 2018).

Hiding and Revealing Islamic Pious Endowments in Late-Qing Xinjiang,” The Muslim World 108, no. 4 (December 2018): 613–29.

(as 許臨君) “从城隍到戍卒:定湘王在新疆,” 历史人类学学刊 (重探「帝国」与「地方社会」 :华南研究与新清史的对话) (October 2017), 169–86.

With William Alford. “Legal History” in A Companion to Chinese History [Blackwell Companions to World History], edited by Michael Szonyi (Malden: Blackwell, 2017), 277–89.

Muslims at the Yamen Gate: Translating Justice in Late-Qing Xinjiang” in Kashgar Revisited: Uyghur Studies in Memory of Gunnar Jarring, edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Birgit Schlyter, and Jun Sugawara, (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 116–38.

The Law and the ‘Law’: Two Kinds of Legal Space in Late-Qing China,” Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident 40 (November 2016): 39–58.

The World as Seen from Yarkand: Ghulām Muḥammad Khān’s 1920s Chronicle Mā Tīṭayniŋ wāqiʿasi. Tokyo: NIHU Program Islamic Area Studies, 2014.

Classes Taught

HIST 3611 History of Modern China (Fall 2020)