Since completing my first book The Chinese Sultanate  (Stanford, 2005) on the 19th century Panthay Rebellion, I have focused on writing the history of central Tibet's Muslim communities. Found in virtually every major city in central Tibet, large segments of Amdo and in smaller numbers even in Kham, Tibetan Muslims have played central role in Tibetan life for over three centuries. Funded by a Mellon Foundation grant, this work culminated in the publication in 2018 of Islamic Shangri-La (University of California, 2018 - available open access via Luminos). 

Recently, I have embarked on a new book-length project The Ascendency of High Asia: Chinese Warlordism, Ethno-territoriality, and Inter-Asian Hegemony, 1900-1950. This project positions Tibet, Xinjiang and Mongolia (an area I collectively refer to as High Asia) in wider inter-Asian religious, commercial, and ethnic geographies in the early 20th century. Research for this project was sparked initially under a Sydney China Fellowship and has continued while a Research Fellow at the Wilson Center's Kissinger Institute on China and the United States in Washington DC.

Currently, I am also in the final stages of completing a biography of Lin Zexu. Given Lin Zexu’s prominent role in the Opium War it is curious that there exists no book-length study of him in English. I am now completing a biography entitled Lin Zexu: Imperial China in a Globalizing World (Oxford University Press, under contract). This account of Lin’s life opens a window onto the many global challenges facing Qing China in a rapidly changing world.


Sources in Chinese History (2nd Edition). Co-authored with Yurong Yang Atwill. Routledge.

"Lhasa's Departed Past," #AsiaNow, Association of Asian Studies (October 8, 2018)

Boundaries of Belonging: Sino-Indian Relations and the 1960 Tibetan Muslim Incident,” Journal of Asian Studies 75(3) August 2016.

"A Tibetan By Any Other Name: The Case of Muslim Tibetans and Ambiguous Ethno-religious Identities” Cahiers d’Extrême Asie 23 2014: 31-61.