Kenneth Pomeranz is University Professor of History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and in the College at the University of Chicago. He previously taught at the University of California, Irvine. His work focuses mostly on China, but also touches on comparative and world history. Most of his research is in social, economic, and environmental history, and he has also worked on state formation, imperialism, religion, gender, and other topics. He has written, edited, or coedited 11 books, including the prize-winning The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2000), The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853–1937 (University of California Press, 1993), and The World that Trade Created: Society, Culture, and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present (with Steven Topik, now in its 4th edition, Routlegde, 2018). Pomeranz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy, and was President of the American Historical Association in 2013. He was awarded the Dan David Prize for 2019, and the Toynbee Prize for World History for 2020, and is the only two-time winner of the American Historical Association’s Fairbank prize for the year’s best new book on East Asian history. His current projects include a book called Why Is China So Big? which tries to explain, from various perspectives, how and why contemporary China’s huge land mass and population have wound up forming a single political unit, a co-authored book on economic development in the Anthropocene, and a co-authored world history textbook for introductory college-level courses. He also serves as Faculty Director of the University of Chicago campus in Hong Kong, and as Faculty Curator of its heritage Interpretation Center, creating physical and online exhibits chronicling the history of the campus’ site on Mt. Davis and the larger history of Hong Kong.

Last Updated: February 16, 2022



Remembering Jonathan Spence

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Sherman Cochran & more
A few weeks after Jonathan Spence, the celebrated historian of China, died at Christmas, ChinaFile began collecting reminiscences from his classmates, doctoral students, and colleagues spanning the five decades of his extraordinary career as a...