Associate Professor of History and International Affairs
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. It won the 2021 John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association.
Schluessel is currently pursuing two research projects: Saints and Sojourners explores the economic history of the Uyghur region from the 1750s through the 1950s as seen from below, through the records of merchants, farmers, and managers of pious endowments. It ties changes at the village level to shifts in the global economy in places as far away as Manchester and Tianjin. 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 has also completed 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.
Schluessel previously taught at the University of Montana in Missoula and spent the 2018–2019 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.