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Professor Emeritus
CB #3195


MA University of Chicago, 1962
PhD University of Chicago, 1969

Research Interests

Professor Kessler’s research interests ranged from dynastic developments in Qing China to foreign interaction with China in the twentieth century. Currently, he is collaborating with Burton Beers, Professor Emeritus of History at NCSU, on a monograph entitled “Branchhead Boys” and “The Good Earth”: Bright Leaf Tobacco in the Histories of China and America, 1905–1941. Based on both English and Chinese sources as well as numerous interviews with tobacco people who worked in China, it will highlight the role of tobacco leaf men from North Carolina in the transfer of bright leaf growing and processing technology to the Chinese.

Some Notable Publications

  • “The Revolutionary Adventures of a British Shanghailander, 1929–1950,” a series of three journal articles, 2009–2012
  • “Reconstructing Zhou Enlai’s Escape from Shanghai in 1931,” Twentieth-Century China (April 2009)
  • The Jiangyin Mission Station: An American Missionary Community in China, 1895–1951 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996)
  • “‘Hands Across the Sea’: Foreign Missions and Home Support,” in United States Attitudes and Policies Toward China: The Impact of American Missionaries (M.E. Sharpe, 1990)
  • K’ang-hsi and the Consolidation of Ch’ing Rule, 1661–1684 (University of Chicago Press, 1981)