In 2010, Jeffrey Wasserstrom was invited to speak as Keynote Speaker at the UCSC History Undergraduate Research Symposium. His return to UCSC was a fantastic opportunity for current undergraduate students to learn about his path to becoming a Professor of History at UC Irvine, with a specilization in China and East Asian Studies, and for faculty members to see what Jeff had been up to since graduating.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom graduated from UC Santa Cruz with honors in History in 1982, then received a Master's in East Asian Studies fromHarvard in 1984 and a doctorate in History from Berkeley in 1989. He has recently returned to California and the UC system, after a long period in the Midwest, and is currently a Professor of History at UC Irvine. He is the author of four books, including the just-published China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press), and has edited or co-edited five other volumes. A contributor to many academic journals, he has also written reviews and commentaries for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the Times Literary Supplement (London), and both Time and Newsweek. He is a past Associate Editor and for a year Acting Editor of the American Historical Review and is currently the Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. A frequent traveler to China, he has been interviewed about Chinese affairs by NPR, the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, and he served as aconsultant for two award-winning documentaries by the Long Bow Group, including "The Gate of Heavenly Peace," a film about the Tiananmen protests that aired on PBS as part of the "Frontline" series.
In his talk at the 2010 Symposium, "Undergraduate Research as a Ticket to Adventures in Asia and Asian Studies," he used his own UCSC undergraduate research experience, as well as that of some other Santa Cruz grads who have ended up living in Asia or doing work in Asian studies, as a starting point for reflections on the varied ways that senior theses can influence later work--in and beyond the classroom. He explored the unexpected resonances that early research experiences can have later in life, and discussed how much the field of history has changed since the early 1980s when he wrote his own thesis on a nineteenth-century Chinese popular uprising.