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Mara Yue Du

Assistant Professor and Himan Brown Faculty Fellow

Mara Yue Du

Mcgraw Hall, Room 364

Educational Background

Ph.D. History, New York University, 2017
M.A. History, Peking University, 2011
B.A. Sociology, Peking University, 2008



Mara Du’s research focuses on the history of modern China (17th century – present), particularly on law, gender, and state-building. Her book manuscript in process, State Is Family: State-Sponsored Filiality and China’s Empire-to-Nation Transformation, explores how the Qing empire (1644-1911) legitimized itself and governed its subjects through the legalized cult of filial piety. In the first half of the twentieth century, builders of the Chinese Republic fundamentally altered the logic of state legitimation from “ruling all under Heaven through the principle of filial piety” to popular sovereignty. At the same time, the new Republic endeavored to separate adult citizens from familial authority in order to subjugate them to direct state control, with legal reforms of family relations playing a critical role in political and social reconstructions.


Law; Family Values; State Building; Nationalism.


  • History

Graduate Fields

  • History


Modern China


Fall 2020


“From Dynastic State to Imperial Nation: International Law, Diplomacy, and Conceptual Decentralization of China, 1860s-1900s,” Late Imperial China, forthcoming.

“Policies and Counterstrategies: State-Sponsored Filiality and False Accusation in Qing China,” International Journal of Asian Studies, 16.2 (2019), pp.79-97.

“Reforming Social Customs through Law: Dynamics and Discrepancies in the Nationalist Reform of the Adoptive Daughter-in-Law,” NAN NÜ: Men, Women and Gender in China 21.1 (2019), pp.76-106.

“Sun Yat-sen as Guofu: Competition over Nationalist Party Orthodoxy in the Second Sino-Japanese War,” Modern China 45.2 (2019), pp.201-235.

“Concubinage and Motherhood in Qing China (1644-1911): Ritual, Law, and Custodial Rights of Property,” Journal of Family History 42.2 (2017), pp.162-183.

“Legal Justice in Eighteenth-Century Mongolia: Gender, Ethnicity, and Politics in the Manchu-Mongol Marriage Alliance,” Late Imperial China 37.2 (2016), pp.1-40.