David A. Bello Elizabeth Lewis Otey, Professor of East Asian Studies, Director of East Asian Studies

David A. Bello

Newcomb Hall 206


Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University, 2002-03

Ph.D. in Chinese History, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2001

Certificate in Chinese Studies, Nanjing University-The Johns Hopkins University Center for Chinese and American Studies, Nanjing, 1993

M.A., Area Studies, Far East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1989

B.A. in History, magna cum laude, University of Dayton, 1985


Qing China, 1644-1912

Borderland Environmental History


Chinese history (borderland, gender, environmental)

Japanese history (imperialism)

Selected Publications


Across Forest, Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Opium and the Limits of Empire, Drug Prohibition in the Chinese Interior, 1729-1850. Harvard Council on East Asian Studies, 2005.



“Cultivating Torghut Mongols in a Semi-Arid Steppe.” Journal of Chinese History, 2.2 (July, 2018): 355-72.

“Consider the Qing Locust.” East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine, 48 (2018): 49-80.

“Transformation through Inundation: Riziculturing Muslim Identity in Qing Dynasty Khotan.” In Ts’ui-jung Liu, Andrea Janku, and David Pietz, eds., Landscape Changes and Resource Utilization in East Asia: Perspectives from Environmental History. (Routledge, 2018).

“Milk, Game or Grain for a Manchurian Outpost: Providing for Hulun Buir’s Multi-Environmental Garrison in an Eighteenth-Century Borderland.” Inner Asia, 19.2 (2017): 240-73.

“Relieving Mongols of their Pastoral Identity: The Environment of Disaster Management on the 18th Century Qing China Steppe.” Environmental History, 19.3 (July, 2014): 480-504.

“The Cultured Nature of Imperial Foraging in Manchuria.” Late Imperial China, 31.2 (December, 2010): 1-33.

“To Go Where No Han Could Go for Long: Malaria and the Qing Construction of Ethnic Administrative Space in Frontier Yunnan.” Modern China, 31.3 (July 2005): 283-317.

“The Venomous Course of Southwestern Opium: Qing Prohibition in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou in the Early Nineteenth Century.” The Journal of Asian Studies, 62.1 (November 2003): 1109-42.


Web-Based Publications

“Environment, Demographics and Economy in Qing China.” In the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Oxford University Press, Sept., 2021.

“Environmental Change and Chinese Empire.” In the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Oxford University Press, Feb., 2020.

“Environmental Issues in Pre-modern China.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. Oxford University Press, March, 2014; updated 2018.

“Opium as a Historical Commodity.” In Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange. Adam Matthew Digital, 2012.


Review Essays

“Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Some Peoples without Others.” Judd C. Kinzley’s Natural Resources and the New Frontier: Constructing Modern China’s Borderlands and Niansheng Song’s Making Borders in Modern East Asia: The Tumen River Demarcation, 1881-1919, Twentieth Century China 45.2 (May 2020): 218-224.

“Such Stuff as Qing Borderlands Are Made On.” Kwangmin Kim’s Borderland Capitalism: Turkestan Produce, Qing Silver, and the Birth of an Eastern Market and Jonathan Schlesinger’s A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule, in Cross-Currents: East Asian Culture and History Review, 23 (June 2017): 158-69.

Current Research

Environmental history of the Qing empire, with a focus on its borderlands