FacultyPeter Lavelle

Assistant Professor 

Peter Lavelle

860 Gladfelter Hall
1115 W. Polett Walk


Late imperial and modern China, Environment, agriculture, Science and technology


Peter Lavelle is a historian of late imperial and modern China. His research focuses on topics such as the environment, science and technology, agriculture, and imperialism. He is currently writing a book which explores the intellectual and material dimensions of Qing state-building and colonialism in the nineteenth century. In this book, he examines the environmental significance of agricultural technology, geographical thinking, and land-use policies in the northwest of the Qing empire in the aftermath of Muslim rebellions. His other research interests include the history of Chinese agricultural and horticultural sciences and Chinese ideas about population in the late imperial period.

Dr. Lavelle received his Ph.D. in Chinese history from Cornell University. Before joining the faculty at Temple in 2014, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.

Selected Publications

  • “The Aesthetics and Politics of Chinese Horticulture in Late Qing Borderlands,” in Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Liu Ts’ui-jung (London: Routledge, 2014), 213-242.
  • “Cultivating Empire: Zuo Zongtang’s Agriculture, Environment, and Reconstruction in the Late Qing,” in China on the Margins, ed. Sherman Cochran and Paul Pickowicz (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University East Asia Program, 2010), 43-64.

Courses Taught

  • East Asian Environmental History (HIST 2680)
  • Contemporary China (HIST 3522)