Wang Liping

Dr Wang Liping

Honorary Assistant Professor


Dr Wang earned her PhD degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, ‘Ethnicizing the Frontier: Imperial Transformation and Ethnic Confrontations in China-Inner Mongolia, 1890s-1930s’, was completed in 2013. She is now turning this into a book manuscript. The volume examines forms and causes of Mongol-Han confrontation in Inner Mongolia during the Chinese imperial transition, and questions general theories of empire to nation transition in an historical examination of the Chinese case. Her alternative approach focuses on the maintenance and dissolution of the relations that sustained crosscutting identities on the frontier.

In addition, Wang has also been working on transnational movement of knowledge in modern academic disciplines, the indigenization of that knowledge, and the creation of a knowledge regime dealing with ethnicity in Republican China (1912-1949).

She is now embarking on a project that compares patterns of luxury trade binding various frontiers to the Chinese imperial center in the 17th century. Her future research includes a comparative study of how elites mediated minority politics under the Qing and how they do so in contemporary China. These studies uncover path dependence that links contemporary Chinese society to its imperial legacies and the dramatic transformations it underwent throughout the long 20th century.

Her research has been published in The American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and The Annals: The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Before joining the University of Hong Kong she was Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. She was visiting assistant professor at Haverford College in 2013-2014.

Courses taught


PhD Sociology
The University of Chicago

MA Sociology
Peking University

BA Sociology
Peking University

Research interests

Political sociology
Social theory
Comparative historical sociology
Ethnic studies
Sociology of knowledge and culture
Modern and contemporary China

Current research

Mongol-Han confrontation in Inner Mongolia during the Chinese imperial transition

Transnational movement of knowledge in modern academic disciplines

Frontier luxury trade in 17th century China

Elite mediation of minority politics in Qing and contemporary China

Selected publications

Journal articles:

2015 “From Masterly Brokers to Compliant Protégées: The Frontier Governance System and the Rise of Ethnic Confrontation in China-Inner Mongolia, 1900-1930.The American Journal of Sociology. 120 (6),1641-1689.

2014 “’State, Relational Governance and Nomads’ Sedentarization: Land Reform in Inner Mongolia, 1900-1911.Comparative Studies in Society and History. 56(3): 714-744.

2011 “Interlocking Patrimonialisms and State Formation in Qing China and Early Modern Europe.The Annals: The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. 636:164-181. (First author, written with Julia Adams.)

Book reviews:

2015 Review of Qinghai Across Frontier: State- and Nation-Building under the Ma Family, 1911-1949, by William Brent Haas. Tibetan and Himalayan Dissertation Reviews (online).


2011 “Bridging the Gap Between China and Europe.”(Podcast, with Julia Adams)

In Chinese:

2006 “From Trauerspiel to Asceticism: a Comparison of Walter Benjamin’s Theory of German Tragedy and Max Weber’s Theory of Science.” Society and Thought, Vol.6, 308-382.

2004 “The Sacredness of Society: an Interpretation of Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.” Society and Thought, Vol.4, 517-535.

2002 “The ‘Stranger’ in Georg Simmel’s Texts.” Society and Thought, Vol. 2, 398-424.


2002. Weber, Mariane. Max Weber: A Biography. (Chapters 14-16). Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe.

In preparation:

“Disunifying the Nation: Modern Disciplines and Knowledge Transplantation in China, 1912-1949.”

“Sovereignty of Boundaries in European and Chinese/Mongolian Empires.” (with Julia Adams)

“Legal Pluralism or Crossing Jurisdictions? Legal Practices in China-Inner Mongolia and its Modern Transformation.”

See all publications in HKU Scholars Hub →

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