photograph of Sigrid Schmalzer by Suzanne Bell Sigrid Schmalzer
Professor of History
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ph.D. in Modern Chinese History
and Science Studies,
University of California, San Diego, 2004

Contact Information:
History Department
Herter Hall 631
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Publications (Selected)


  • Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist China (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

    In 1968, the director of USAID coined the term “green revolution” to celebrate the new technological solutions that promised to ease hunger around the world—and forestall the spread of more “red,” or socialist, revolutions. Yet in China, where modernization and scientific progress could not be divorced from politics, green and red revolutions proceeded side by side.

    In Red Revolution, Green Revolution, Sigrid Schmalzer explores the intersection of politics and agriculture in socialist China through the diverse experiences of scientists, peasants, state agents, and “educated youth.” The environmental costs of chemical-intensive agriculture and the human costs of emphasizing increasing production over equitable distribution of food and labor have been felt as strongly in China as anywhere—and yet, as Schmalzer shows, Mao-era challenges to technocracy laid important groundwork for today’s sustainability and food justice movements. This history of “scientific farming” in China offers us a unique opportunity not only to explore the consequences of modern agricultural technologies but also to engage in a necessary rethinking of fundamental assumptions about science and society.

    Carla Nappi of the New Books Network interviewed Sigrid about this book. Listen to the podcast here.

  • The People's Peking Man: Popular Science and Human Identity in Twentieth-Century China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Winner of the 2009 Allan Sharlin Award from the Social Science History Association.

  • James A. Cook, Joshua Goldstein, Matthew D. Johnson, and Sigrid Schmalzer, eds., Visualizing Modern China: Image, History, and Memory, 1750-Present (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2015), with accompanying website

  • Alyssa Botelho, Daniel S. Chard, and Sigrid Schmalzer, eds., Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists, 1969-1989 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, forthcoming 2017)
Articles and Book Chapters

  • Madhumita Saha and Sigrid Schmalzer, “Green-Revolution Epistemologies in China and India: Technocracy and Revolution in the Production of Scientific Knowledge and Peasant Identity,” British Journal for the History of Science Themes, 1-23. published on line 23 March 2016.
  • "Youth and the 'Great Revolutionary Movement'of Scientific Experiment in 1960s-70s Rural China," in Jeremy Brown and Matthew Johnson, eds. Maoism at the Grassroots (Harvard University Press, 2015).

  • "Self-Reliant Science: The Impact of the Cold War on Science in Socialist China," in Naomi Oreskes and John Krige, eds. Science and Technology in the Global Cold War (MIT Press, 2014).

  • "Insect Control in Socialist China and the Corporate Unites States: the Act of Comparison, the Tendency to Forget, and the Construction of Difference in 1970s U.S.-Chinese Scientific Exchange," Isis 104.2 (2013): 303-329.

  • "Speaking about China, Learning from China: Amateur China Experts in 1970s America," Journal of American-East Asian Relations, December 2009.

  • "On the Appropriate Use of Rose-Colored Glasses: Reflections on Science in Socialist China," Isis 98.3:571-583, September 2007.

  • "Popular Science, A Useful and Productive Category after All", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 42.5 (2012): 590-600.

  • "The Very First Lesson: Teaching about Human Evolution in 1950s China," in Dilemmas of Victory, ed. Jeremy Brown and Paul Pickowicz (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007).

  • "Labor Created Humanity: Cultural Revolution Science on Its Own Terms," in The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History, ed. Joseph Esherick, Paul Pickowicz, and Andrew Walder (Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press, 2006).

  • "Fishing and Fishers in Penghu, Taiwan, 1895-1970," East Asian History 23:109-128, June 2002.

  • "Breeding a Better China: Pigs, Practices, and Place in a Chinese County, 1929-1937," The Geographical Review 92(1): 1-22, January 2002.

Conference and Website

  • "Science for the People: The 1970s and Today" (conference held 11-13 April 2014 at UMass Amherst; website preserves video of all speakers and panels along with archival materials documenting the history of the organization Science for the People)

This is not an official website of the University of Massachusetts.