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En Li

Assistant Professor of History
2021 Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year
Office Location: Howard 120

En Li (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2015):  I have been an Assistant Professor of Chinese History at Drake University since 2016. I am a historian of late imperial and modern China, with a focus of social and cultural history of China and overseas Chinese communities. My first book, Betting on the Civil Service Examinations: The Lottery in Late-Qing China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2023), highlights the significance of weixing, a highly organized lottery game where money was bet on surnames that would pass the Civil Service Exams, and reveals critical development with Chinese culture and society in the late nineteenth century.

As one of my many ideas about new writing projects, I have been tracing a case about how Hawaiian dance (or grass-skirt dance) first got introduced to urban centers in China between the 1920s and 1940s. I have published peer-reviewed articles and book reviews in various journals such as Frontier of History in ChinaEast Asian Journal of Popular CultureRecreation and Society in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and The Common Reader.

In 2018, I co-founded the Drake Faculty Writers’ Workshop (FWW) and have been working to bring sociality in scholarship and support scholarship-in-progress across campus. My course offerings include the histories of China, East Asia, and the world, as well as Asian good books and good movies. In my spare time, I love to search for the best xiaolongbao with my husband and children.  

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