Rong Wu

Dr Rong Wu


  • Position Governing Body Fellows Junior Research Fellows
  • School Arts & Humanities Department of East Asian Studies
  • Email
  • Twitter @wurong_1108

Rong is a historian of modern China. Her research looks at how global developments forged the modern Chinese state. In particular, she is interested in the studies of war, revolution, constitution-making and international relations of early Republican China.

Rong Wu

Rong is a Chiang Ching-kuo Postdoctoral Fellow and Affiliated Researcher at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Before moving to the UK, Rong received her BA and MA in International Studies at Peking University, during which time she developed an interest in international history. In 2020, she received her PhD in modern Chinese history at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Hans van de Ven, with a dissertation entitled, “Confronting the ‘European War’ in Early Republican China: ROC’s Constitutional Process and the First World War”.

Rong was a Grace and Thomas Chan scholar from 2013 to 2016 and a visiting scholar at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, in 2016. She is a member of the Association for Asian Studies, the British Association for Asian Studies and the Royal Asiatic Society.

With her background in both International Relations and Chinese history, Rong is interested in the interplay between global dynamics and developments in China in the early 20th century. More specifically, her research focuses on the early Republican era (1912-1928), a period between the end of China’s dynastic history and the rule of the Nationalist and Communist parties, which witnessed historical continuities and changes through successive regime changes and social and cultural transformations. By revisiting the close interaction between China and the outside world during this crucial stage in China’s metamorphosis from an empire to a modern nation-state, her research highlights the important role the “global” played in making China the country it is today.

Rong’s ongoing first book project revisits the constitutional process of the Republic of China in the global context of WWI. By highlighting the international context of early Republican China’s constitutional trajectory, it challenges the revolutionary narrative of modern Chinese history, which attributes the failure of the ROC’s constitutional experiment mainly to domestic causes. The reintroduction of China into WWI history also contributes to the ongoing efforts to restore the First World War from a “European War” to a truly global war.

Her postdoctoral project “Confronting Revolution: Britain’s China Policy and the Global Dimension of the Chinese Nationalist Revolution, 1923-1928” examines the global dimension of the Chinese Nationalist Revolution through the prism of the British empire’s China policy. It breaks away from the limits of national histories and the Moscow-centred revolutionary narrative and endeavours to present the Chinese Nationalist Revolution as a multi-faceted revolution where the transnational imperial, nationalist and Communist networks converged. Apart from providing a fresh perspective on the Chinese revolution, it will also contribute to the literature on the British empire, the Asian revolutions and the international Communist movement.

What's on

Inger Mewburn

Kicking the can down the road: How to create research impact in seven (not so easy) steps

06/06/2023 at 17.30

We hear terms like ‘research impact’ and ‘engagement’ all the time, but what does ‘impact’ and ‘engagement’ actually look like in practice?

selection of books written by Professor Inger Mewburn

Productivity workshops for researchers with Prof. Inger Mewburn aka The Thesis Whisperer

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Join Professor Inger Mewburn, also known online as the Thesis Whisperer, for one or both workshops to help increase your productivity: Getting sh!t done and Building a second brain (for writing)

'You' by Gavin Fry

Art Exhibition: 'Things Put Differently'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Things Put Differently' featuring Gavin Fry and works by Anthony Green and Mary Cozens-Walker.

Photo of artist Gurpran Rau holding a piece of her artwork

Art Exhibition: 'Patterns of Renewal'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

We're delighted to be the first to display Gurpran Rau's latest exhibition 'Patterns of Renewal', featuring a series of paintings created during lockdown inspired by her walks in the woods of Cambridgeshire.