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Richard Von Glahn

Distinguished Professor

Contact Information

Office  9278 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-3087

Economic and social history of China, 10th-18th centuries; monetary history; comparative economic history; global economic integration, 1000-1800; East Asian maritime history, 1000-1800. 

After completing an undergraduate degree majoring in Chinese at Connecticut College, I pursued graduate study in Chinese history at UC Berkeley (M.A.) and Yale University (Ph.D., 1983). I held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard and the University of Rochester and an assistant professorship at Connecticut College before I joined the UCLA faculty in 1987. My primary field of research is the economic and social history of premodern China, with a particular focus on the period 1000-1700. My publications include four monographs in Chinese history, several edited books, and a co-authored textbook in world history. My research has been supported by a number of awards, including National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships (twice) and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  My most recent book is The Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2016). Among my current projects, I am co-editing (with Debin Ma of the London School of Economics) The Cambridge Economic History of China (scheduled for publication in 2020) and serving as a senior editor for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Asian History, an on-line resource for scholars. In addition, I continue to pursue research in Chinese monetary history, especially the interrelationship between China’s monetary system and wider spheres of monetary circulation within Asia and on a global scale, and have embarked on a new project on the economic history of maritime East Asia from the ninth to the eighteenth centuries.

In addition to teaching courses on all periods of Chinese history, I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in world history.


Ph.D., Yale University, 1983; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1977; B.A., Connecticut College, 1975


Selected Publications


The Country of Streams and Grottoes: Expansion, Settlement, and the Civilizing of the Sichuan Frontier in Song Times. Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1987. 

Fountain of Fortune: Money and Monetary Policy in China, 1000-1700. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996. 

The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History. Co-edited with Paul Jakov Smith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2003.

Monetary History in Global Perspective, 1470-1800. Co-edited with Dennis O. Flynn & Arturo Giráldez. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 2003. 

The Sinister Way: The Divine and the Demonic in Chinese Religious Culture. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. 

Crossroads and Cultures: A History of the World. Co-authored with Bonnie Smith, Marc van der Mieroop, and Kris Lane. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2012. 

The Economic History of China from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Recent Articles:

“State Formation in China from the Sui through the Song Dynasties.”  In The Cambridge History of the World, vol. 5, pp. 505-524.  Ed. Benjamin Z. Kedar and Merry Weisener-Hanks.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Chinese Coin and Changes in Monetary Preferences in Maritime East Asia in the 15th-16th Centuries.” In Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 57.5 (2014). 

“The Ningbo-Hakata Merchant Network and the Reorientation of East Asian Maritime Trade, 1150-1300.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 74.2 (2014) 

“Cycles of Silver in Chinese Monetary History.” In The Economic History of Lower Yangzi Delta in Late Imperial China: Connecting Money, Markets, & Institutions, pp. 17-71. Ed. Billy K.L. So. London: Routledge, 2012. 

“Household Registration, Property Rights, and Social Obligations in Imperial China: Principles and Practices.” In Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History, pp. 39-66 Ed. Keith Breckenridge and Simon Szreter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 

"La storia economica della Cina dal 221 a.C. al 1850 d.C.” In La civiltà cinese: dalle origini ai giorni nostri, volume 2, pp. 117-216. Ed. Mauritzio Scarpari. Turino: Einaudi, 2010. 

“Monies of Account and Monetary Transition in China, Twelfth to Fourteenth Centuries.” In Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 53.3 (2010). 

Current Courses by Term

2020 Fall Quarter

History of China: To 1000

Topics in World History

Teaching Apprentice Practicum