Sherman Cochran is the Hu Shih Professor of Chinese History Emeritus at Cornell University. He began to learn Chinese immediately after graduating from college when he went to Hong Kong on the Yale-in-China program and lived and worked there for two years (from 1962 to 1964). He then returned to Yale for graduate work, and after serving in the U.S. Army, he completed his Ph.D. in Chinese History under the supervision of Jonathan Spence in 1975.

In 1973, Cochran took his first academic job in the History Department at Cornell, and he taught there until his retirement in 2012.

As a scholar, he has been best known for his work in Chinese business history. He has authored, co-authored, or edited nine books and more than 40 articles, and he has written another 40 conference papers and delivered 120 public lectures. Three of his books and several of his articles have been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

His accomplishments as a teacher and scholar have been well recognized. Cornell has given him the Clark Award for being an outstanding teacher and the Carpenter Award for excellence as an advisor of students. For his books he has also received prizes, most recently the Joseph Levenson Book Prize for Chinese Medicine Men: Consumer Culture in China and Southeast Asia (Harvard University Press, 2006), which the Association for Asian Studies selected in 2008 as the best book of the year in the history, culture, society, politics, or economy of China since 1900. His latest book is The Lius of Shanghai (co-authored with Andrew Hsieh, Harvard University Press, 2013).

Last Updated: February 3, 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...