JM Chris Chang

Lecturer in East Asian Languages and Cultures Columbia University

JM Chris Chang is a historian of modern China, having received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 2018. His research focuses on issues of bureaucracy, archive, surveillance, and political culture in 20th century China. His current project is a history of file-keeping and bureaucratic paperwork as understood through the dossier system, the socialist institution of comprehensive files on individual Chinese subjects. The project examines how the paper routines of the dossier consumed the bureaucratic profession and became the material for everyday political acts. His work utilizes what are known in the field as 'garbage sources'--files previously discarded from official archives that have since resurfaced in book and paper markets. The use of this sourcebase has informed a broader interest in the material culture and afterlife of government paper. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council and the ACLS/Mellon Foundation.