Meet Our Researchers: Rebecca E. Karl

Meet Our Researchers: Rebecca E. Karl
Rebecca E. Karl teaches modern history at New York University in New York. She has studied and written widely on modern and contemporary China, social theory, feminism, twentieth-century political economy, and other related arenas. She is the President of the NYU chapter of the Association of American University Professors and works to protect academic freedom and the freedom to assemble and protest on campus; she is the co-founder of Critical China Scholars (, a collective of Euro-America-based scholars who think critically about the legacies of the Chinese revolution and global China relations today; and she is co-founding co-editor of, the website connected to the print journal positions, which publishes on issues of contemporary concern in Asian Studies generally. She is also on the editorial collective of positionsNotebooks: The Journal for Studies on Power, among others.
During the summer term of 2024, Rebecca Karl will serve as a visiting lecturer at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen, where she will be responsible for the seminar titled “The Chinese Cultural Revolution in Global Context.”
Focus: modern Chinese history, political economy, socialism in China, Mao Zedong Thought, feminism, intellectual history, conceptual history
Selected Publications:


  1. China’s Revolutions in the Modern World: A Brief Interpretive History. NY: Verso, 2020.

  2. The Magic of Concepts: History and the Economic in Twentieth-Century China. Duke University Press, 2017.

  3. Revolution and its Narratives: Socialist Literary and Cultural Imaginaries in China (1949-1966), co-translated and co-edited with Xueping Zhong, from the Chinese. (Original: Cai Xiang, Geming/ Xushi, Peking University Press 2010.) Duke University Press, February 2016.

  4. The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory, co-editor and co-translator with Lydia Liu and Dorothy Ko. Columbia University Press, March 2013.

 5. Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth Century World: A Concise History. Duke University Press 2010.

 6. Staging the World: Chinese Nationalism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Duke University Press 2002.

 7. Rethinking the 1898 Reform Period: Political and Cultural Change in Late Qing China, co-editor (with Peter Zarrow); Harvard University, Council on East Asian Publications 2002.

 8. Marxism beyond Marxism, co-editor (with Saree Makdisi and Cesare Casarino), Routledge 1996.

Recent Articles:

“Reading Modern Chinese Political Economy with Roberto Schwarz,” in Thomas Waller, ed., Roberto Schwarz and World Literature. (Forthcoming, Palgrave McMillan, 2024).

“He-Yin Zhen and Anarcho-Feminism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” in Jamie Zhao & Hongwei Bao, eds., Routledge Handbook for Chinese Gender and Sexuality. (Routledge 2024)

“Perspectives on China’s Revolutions and China Today,” in E. Friedman, K. Lin, et al, eds., The China Question: Toward Left Perspectives/ A Verso Report, NY: Verso, 2022.

“In the Realm of Comrades: Random Thoughts on the Centenary of the Chinese Communist Party (1921-2021).” Special issue of the China Quarterly, Fall 2021, 1-13.

Co-Editor/Co-writer (with Fabio Lanza), “A New Cold War?” special issue, 5; April 2021.

“Marxism, Feminism, and the Manifesto Form in Early 20th Century China,” episteme 3; October 2020.

“Serve the People: An Exemplary Socialist Text of 1944,” Reading the Postwar Future, eds. John Munro and Kirrily Freeman. London: Bloomsbury Press 2019.

“The Shadow of Democracy: An Essay on the Centenary of May Fourth,” Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 78:2 (May 2019): 379-387.