My most recent research and writing has been for my just completed manuscript on Lin Zexu: Imperial China in a Globalizing World (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Despite Lin Zexu’s prominent role in the Opium War, it is curious that there exists no book-length study of him in English. Tracing his life from his early life in Fuzhou (Fujian province) through his early career and the Opium War, the book ends with his years of exile in Xinjiang, Governor-General in northwest and southwest China, and retirement back in Fuzhou. Written for an undergraduate audience, this account of Lin’s life seeks to open a window onto the many global challenges facing Qing China in a rapidly changing world.
My earlier research focused on the 19th century Panthay Rebellion, culminating in my first book The Chinese Sultanate (Stanford, 2005) which has just been re-issued by Verso Books with a preface by Tariq Ali in 2023. After finishing my work on the Panthay Rebellion, I embarked on a study of Tibet's Muslim communities. Funded by a Mellon Foundation grant, this research allowed me to study Tibetan, carry out archival research in India, and to travel to Lhasa, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kathmandu to conduct oral interviews. The culmination of this work resulted in the publication of Islamic Shangri-La (University of California, 2018 - available open access via Luminos).
Collaborating with several Chinese colleagues, I am also co-authoring a book tentatively entitled The Yunnan Chronicles: A Field Guide to Yunnan’s Past meant to serve as a public-facing introduction to Yunnan. Adopting a method pioneered by MacGregor's History of the World in 100 Objects, this book highlights specific moments, individuals, and material objects in time in order to introduce Yunnan’s history in new and challenging ways.
Finally, I have also begun work on a volume on Tibet for Oxford University Press's What Everyone Needs to Know series seeking to offer a balanced and authoritative primer on the complex current event issues and concerns surrounding Tibetan society, culture and religion.
Lin Zexu: Imperial China in a Globalizing World. Oxford University Press. [Forthcoming – 2023]
"The Lhasa Uprisings of 1959 and 2008: Muslims in a Buddhist Land," in Eric Tagliacazzo and David Powers, eds. Islamic Ecumene: Comparing Global Muslim Societies Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press .
The Panthay Rebellion: Islam, Ethnicity and the Dali Sultanate in Southwest China, 1856-1873, Verso Books, (with new preface by Tariq Ali), 2023
Sources in Chinese History (2nd Edition). Co-authored with Yurong Yang Atwill. Routledge, 2021.