Madeleine Zelin

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Madeleine Zelin is Dean Lung Professor of Chinese Studies at Columbia University. At Columbia, Zelin is affiliated with the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Department of History, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, and the Columbia Law School.


Zelin received her B.A. from Cornell University in 1970 and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979. In 1979, she joined the faculty of Columbia University, where she teaches Chinese legal and economic history and the history of Chinese social movements. In the West, Zelin pioneered the study of Chinese legal and economic history.[1]

In 2005, Zelin published The Merchants of Zigong: Industrial Entrepreneurship in Early Modern China (Columbia University Press), a study of the indigenous roots of Chinese economic culture and business practice. The book was awarded the 2006 Allan Sharlin Memorial Prize of the Social Science History Association, the 2006 Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association, and the 2007 Humanities Book Prize of the International Convention on Asian Studies. She has also authored The Magistrate’s Tael: Rationalizing Fiscal Reform in Eighteenth-Century Ch'ing China (University of California Press, 1984), co-edited Contract and Property Rights in Early Modern China, (Stanford University Press, 2004), co-edited Nation and Beyond: Chinese History in Later Imperial and Modern Times (University of California Press, 2006), and translated Mao Dun’s novel Rainbow (University of California Press, 1992).[1]

Selected Publications[edit]

As translator:




  1. ^ a b WEAI: Zelin