After growing up in the Minnesota, Lane J. Harris attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he received a B.A. in History. Upon graduation, Harris was selected by the United Board for Higher Education in China to teach English at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin, China for a year. Returning to the United States, he attended Washington University in Saint Louis where he earned a Master's degree in East Asian Studies with a concentration in Republican (1911-1949) Chinese history. For his Ph.D., Harris attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research focused on late imperial and Republican Chinese postal history. After spending a year in Nanjing researching postal history at the Second Historical Archives of China, Harris returned to the United States and moved to Ellensburg, Washington where he taught World History. He joined the faculty at Furman University in 2009. ​

Name Title Description


Seminar in Asian Studies

Capstone experience for majors in the discipline. Varied topics.


Chinese Studies Thesis

Guided research, translation, and writing on a topic in a field of Chinese Studies in which the student has had previous course work. The student will propose a thesis project to a faculty member in the field of Chinese Studies who by approving it becomes the thesis advisor.


Teaching About Asia

The purpose of this course is to work with SC teachers to enhance instruction on Asia throughout the curriculum, especially in world history, social studies, and geography courses. Themes covered include geographical determinants shaping the culture, history, and economic development of East Asia; the nature of East Asian society, politics, and culture; interaction among East Asian societies; and East Asian history in the context of world history.


Social History of Technology

Examine the social life of modern technologies from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present. Analyze and evaluate the historical interrelationships between technology, culture, and society, including the impacts and influences of technology from the telegraph to the bicycle and electricity to the internet. Engage in debates on the meaning of technology, the unintended consequences of social technology, the relationships between technology and the environment, and the links between race, class, gender, and technology.


Ancient and Imperial China

The history of Chinese civilization from its origins to 1600. Topics include: ideals of cultural unity and division, classical philosophy, religious beliefs and practices, formation of imperial institutions, economic and intellectual revolutions, conflict and accommodation with neighboring peoples, and epic transformations of state and society.


Modern China

China in the modern world. Examining major political, social and cultural transformations of the period from the late Qing dynasty to recent dramatic reforms in mainland China and on Taiwan.


Twentieth Century China

Investigating, interpreting and debating China's turbulent twentieth century experience. Following an intensive introduction to Chinese history and approaches to historical analysis, students will embark upon an examination of the extraordinary political, social and cultural transformations of this century through a series of case studies structured largely around sets of primary source documents.






Wars, Rebellions & Revolutions

An in-depth exploration and historical analysis of the political, social, economic, cultural, and military background of a particular period of warfare, rebellion, or revolution in world history. Topics vary.


Wars, Rebellions & Revolutions

An in-depth exploration and historical analysis of the political, social, economic, cultural, and military background of a particular period of warfare, rebellion, or revolution in world history. Topics will vary.


Urban History

In-depth historical analysis of cultural, economic, political, religious, technological, medical, & spatial factors intersecting at particular periods of urban development. Topics will vary.


Mongol Empire

The history of the Mongol Empire, the largest land empire in world history, from its ethnic origins in the 12th century, to its political and military expansion across Eurasia in the 13th and 14th centuries, to its political decline in the 15th century.


Interpreting the Past

The historian's craft and how history scholars think about and interpret the past. Exploration of topics, questions and methodologies used to write about history through reading historical works from a variety of times and places.

Current research projects

  • Book manuscript, "The Post Office and State Formation in Modern China, 1896-1949."
  • From Official Gazette (官報) to Public Report (公報): The Evolution of Government Publications in Late Qing and Republican China, 1890-1937.

Selected Publications

  • "Stumbling towards Empire: The Shanghai Local Post Office, the Transnational British Community, and Informal Empire in China, 1863-1897," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Spring 2018.
  • "Serving the National Interest: The Qiaopi Industry, the Chinese Post Office, and the Transnational Practices of the State, 1937-1945," in The Qiaopi Trade and Transnational Networks in the Chinese Diaspora, edited by Gregor Benton, Liu Hong, and Huimei Zhang (New York: Routledge, forthcoming in 2018).
  • The Peking Gazette: A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Chinese History (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
  • Translations of the Peking Gazette Online (electonic database). Brill, 2017.
  • Luo Zhitian, Shifts of Power: Modern Chinese Thought and Society 權勢轉移:近代中國的思想與社會, translated with Mei Chun (Leiden: Brill, 2017).
  • Aina the Layman 艾衲居士, "Jie Zhitui Sets Fire to His Jealous Wife" 介之推火封妒婦 & "On Shouyang Mountain, Shuqi Became a Turncoat" 首陽山淑齊變節, translated with Mei Chun, in Idle Talk Under the Bean Arbor: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Story Collection, edited by Robert E. Hegel, 9-22, 101-16 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017).
  • "Baojia," "New Life Movement," "Postal and Post Station Systems," and "Romanization of Language" in Encyclopedia of Chinese History, edited by Michael Dillon (New York: Routledge, 2016).
  • “What Happened to the Jianwen Emperor?: An Introduction and Translation of Chapters 2 & 29 of Illustrious Heroes, A Sequel 續英列傳." Co-authored with Mei Chun.  Renditions 86 (Autumn 2016): 74-90.
  • "Into the Frontiers: The Relay System and Ming Empire in the Borderlands, 1368-1449," Ming Studies 72 (November 2015): 3-23.
  • "The 'Arteries and Veins' of the Imperial Body: The Nature of the Relay and Post Station Systems in the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644," Journal of Early Modern History 19: 4 (2015): 287-310.
  • "Overseas Chinese Remittance Firms, the Limits of State Sovereignty, and Transnational Capitalism in East and Southeast Asia, 1850s-1930s," Journal of Asian Studies 74: 1 (February 2015): 129-151.
  • Luo Zhitian, Inheritance Within Rupture: Culture and Scholarship in Early Twentieth Century China 裂变中的传承——20世纪前期的中国文化与学术, translated with Mei Chun (Leiden: Brill, 2015).
  • "From Democracy to Bureaucracy: The Baojia in Nationalist China, 1927-1949," Frontiers of History in China 8: 4 (Winter 2013): 517-557.
  • "The 1876 Chinese Post Office Riot in Singapore," International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 63 (Spring 2013): 5.
  • "Defining the Nationalist Party Center: The Text and Context of Gan Naiguang's Outline of Sun Wenism," Southeast Review of Asian Studies 34 (2012): 87-113.
  • "Baojia," "Green Gang," and "New Life Movement" in Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, edited by Cheng Linsun (Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group, 2008), 158-60, 938-39, 1594-97.
  • "A 'Lasting Boon to All': A Note on the Postal Romanization of Place Names, 1896-1949," Twentieth-Century China 34: 1 (November 2008): 96-109.
  • "Standard Messages: Institutional Identity and Symbolism in Chinese Postal Flags, 1896-1949," Raven: A Journal of Vexillology 15 (2008): 81-106.
  • "Modern Times: The Meaning of Dates and Calendars in Modern China, 1895-1935," International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 49 (Summer 2008): 20.


  • Chihyun Chang, Government, Imperialism and Nationalism in China: The Maritime Customs Service and its Chinese Staff (New York: Routledge, 2013) in China Review International 20: 3/4 (2013): 297-301.
  • David Kenley, Modern Chinese History (Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies, 2012) in American Review of China Studies 15: 2 (Fall 2013): 78-80.
  • Eugenia Lean, Public Passions: The Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007) in China Review International 17: 3 (2010): 343-347.
  • Madeleine Zelin, The Merchants of Zigong: Industrial Entrepreneurship in Early Modern China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005) in The Historian 69: 2 (Summer 2007): 365-366.
  • Donna Brunero, Britain's Imperial Cornerstone in China: The Chinese Maritime Customs Service, 1854-1949 (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2006) in China Review International 13: 2 (Fall 2006): 366-370.
  • Scott Simon, Tanners of Taiwan: Life Strategies and National Culture (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2005) in Pacific Affairs 79: 3 (Fall 2006): 533-535.
  • Sun Lung-kee, The Chinese National Character: From Nationhood to Individuality (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe Incorporated, 2002) in China Review International 10: 2 (Fall 2003): 460-464.

Selected Conference Presentations & Invited Talks

  • "A Mutiny, a Riot, and a Rebellion: The Coolie Trade, Returned Chinese Merchants, and the Small Swords Uprising of 1853," Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, Washington, DC, 22-25 March 2018.
  • "The Peking Gazette: A Source for Nineteenth-Century Chinese History," 56th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, University of Mississippi, 13-15 January 2017.
  • "The Overseas Chinese State: Wartime Emergencies and the Transnational Practices of the Nationalist State." Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Seattle, 31 March-3 April 2016.
  • "'A Godsend to the Treaty Ports': The Municipal Council Local Post Office System, 1863-1897," 64th Annual Midwest Conference of Asian Affairs, Washington University in St. Louis, October 16-18, 2015.
  • "Serving the National Interest: The Qiaopi Industry, the Chinese Post Office, and the Transnationalization of the State, 1937-1945," at the Conference on the Qiaopi Industry in China and Overseas, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 9-10 October 2015.
  • "The Post Office and State Formation in World Historical Time," at the International Communication Association Preconference "Communications and the State: Toward a New International History," San Juan, Puerto Rico, 21 May 2015.
  • "Moving into the Frontier: The Relay System and Ming Empire in the Borderlands, 1368-1449," Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Chicago, 26-29 March 2015.
  • "The Subao 蘇報 Case, Sir Robert Hart, and the Origins of Modern Censorship in China," International Communication Association National Conference, Seattle, Washington, 22-26 May 2014.
  • "Post Imperial: The Creation and Abolition of 'Alien Post Offices' in Treaty-Port China, 1843-1923," Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, January 2014.
  • "Asia's First Republic: The Birth and Development of the Modern Chinese State," invited talk at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, 24 October 2013.
  • "'The Comity of Nations': The Chinese Post Office, International Law, and the Universal Postal Union, 1896-1923," ASIANetwork Conference, 12-14 April 2013.
  • "Networking Empire, Nation, and Colony: The Qiaopiju Business Firm and Its Transnational Remittance Network, 1870-1950," Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, San Diego, 21-24 March 2013.
  • "Spreading the Word: Postal Subsidies of Newspapers, Magazines, and Books," Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, 51st Annual Conference, January 13-15, 2012.
  • "Modern Mail Bodies: Uniforms and Behavioral Regulations for Chinese Postal Workers, 1896-1949," Bodies Conference, University of South Carolina, February 25-27, 2010.
  • "Interstate Commerce: The Qiaopiju, Transnational Networks, and Colonial Modernity," Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Asian Studies 38th Annual Conference, October 31-November 1, 2009.
  • "Language, Prestige, and Power: Debates about Romanization Systems for Chinese, 1860-1940," American Association for Chinese Studies 51st Annual Conference, October 16-18, 2009.
  • "Refuse to Deliver: Postal Censorship of Foreign Media in Republican China, 1911-1937," Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC), June 13-15, 2008. 
  • "Chinafication: The Deployment of a Discusive Stratagem in the Guomindang's Baojia Discourses, 1927-1949," Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, March 4-7, 2004.
  • Freeman Foundation grant for the South Carolina Center for Teaching about Asia graduate seminar, 2014-2015.
  • Furman Advantage Fellowship for a project entitled "Overseas Chinese, Trans-Pacific Remittance Networks, and the Creation of a Diasporic Economy, 1850-1930," Summer 2014.
  • Furman University Humanities Development Fund grant.
  • Selected to participate in the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Summer Teaching and Learning Workshop at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, 3-8 June 2013.
  • Furman Advantage Fellowship for a project entitled: "From Official Gazette (官報) to Public Report (公報): The Evolution of Government Publications in Late Qing and Republican China, 1890-1937," Summer 2012.
  • History Department Fellowship, University of Illinois, 2007-08.
  • Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship, Fall 2006-Summer 2007.
  • Institute for International Research at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Nanjing, People's Republic of China, Junior Fellow, Fall 2006.
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the Center for Global Studies of International Programs and Studies, University of Illinois, 2005-2006.
  • Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Summer 2005.;Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, Washington University in Saint Louis, 2001-2002.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Washington University
Drake University

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