Susan Fernsebner

Susan Fernsebner
Professor of History
Office: Monroe 227
Phone: 540.654.1473

Susan Fernsebner is a specialist in modern Chinese history and has worked and studied extensively in both Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. Her research focuses on modern China, and particularly on themes of colonialism, exhibition and public spectacles, as well as the history of childhood.

Dr. Fernsebner has published articles and essays in journals such as The Journal of Asian Studies, Late Imperial China, and Postcolonial Studies, among others. Her research has been supported by fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University, the Baird Society Resident Scholars award at the Smithsonian Institution, and the Jepson Fellowship from the University of Mary Washington.


  • Ph.D.,  University of California, San Diego, 2002.  History.
  • M.A., Stanford University, 1993. East Asian Studies.
  • B.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1990. History.
FSEM100C6: Toys as History
FSEM100: Digital Identities
History 141: Asian Civilizations I
History 142: Asian Civilizations II
History 299: History Methods
History 324: Chinese History through Film
History 364: History of Japan
History 365: Late Imperial China
History 366: Modern China
History 368: Gender in Chinese History
History 466: A Cultural History of Late 20th Century China
History 471: History of Childhood
History 471: Minecrafting the Ming



“When the Local is the Global: Case Studies in Early 20th Century Chinese Exposition Projects.” In Expanding Nationalisms at World Fairs: Identity, Diversity And Exchange, 1851-1915, edited by David Raizman and Ethan Robey. New York: Routledge, 2017.

“Contextualizing the Visual (and Virtual) Realities of Expo 2010.” In Visualizing China: Image, History, and Memory, 1750-Present, ed. James A. Cook, Joshua Goldstein, Matthew D. Johnson, and Sigrid Schmalzer, pp. 279-293. New York: Lexington Books, 2014.

“儿童游戏:中华民国早期的娱乐观念” [Child’s Play: Notions of Amusement in Early Republican China] in 《儿童的发现—现代中国文学及文化中的儿童问题》, ed. Andrew Jones and Lanjun XU. Peking University Press, 2011.

Expo 2010: A Historical Perspective,” The Journal of Asian Studies 69.3 (August 2010): 669-676.

“Shanghai 2010: The World Expo,” in John E. Findling and Kimberly Pelle, eds., The Encyclopedia of World’s Fairs and Expositions (Jefferson: McFarland Press, 2008).

Objects, Spectacle, and a Nation on Display at the Nanyang Exposition of 1910,” Late Imperial China 27.2 (December 2006): 99-124.

A People’s Playthings: Toys, Childhood and Chinese Identity, 1909-1933,” Postcolonial Studies 6.3 (November 2003): 269-293.

Late Imperial China,” Teaching Module for Children and Youth in History, Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.

Interviews, Podcasts, and Elsewhere

Featured guest. “Nationalism at the Toy Box.” With Good Reason, “Gift Wrapped America” (10 Dec 2021).

Featured guest. “DH & Teaching East Asia, with Susan Fernsebner,” for the DH East Asia Podcast with Amanda Shuman, Maggie Greene, and Alan Christy (Podcast 5, December 12, 2016)


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