Denise Ho is an historian of modern China, with a particular interest in the history of the People’s Republic of China. Her dissertation, Antiquity in Revolution: Cultural Relics in Twentieth-Century Shanghai, studies how cultural relics, or wenwu, were defined from China’s Republican period (1912-1949) through the People’s Republic (1949-) into the present day. While China’s imperial rulers used cultural relics to demonstrate legitimate succession, the paradox facing any new regime in the twentieth century was that its claim to political legitimacy was based on both revolution and historical continuity. Taking Shanghai as its case study, “Antiquity in Revolution” examines this political tension through the authentication, nationalization, and display of cultural relics. This history of the city’s arts and monuments explores how such relics have produced and supported national narratives.
Before joining the history department at the University of Kentucky, Professor Ho was a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a teaching fellow at Harvard. At Harvard, she taught Chinese history in the Core curriculum, the history department, and the extension school, and has been awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.
Denise Ho has lived and studied extensively in China. From 2000-2002, she was a teacher at the Yali Middle School in Changsha, Hunan Province. In 2006-2007, she conducted her dissertation research at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences as a grantee of the Fulbright Fellowship. In 2010-2011, she will be a visiting researcher in the Faculty of Social Science, Hong Kong University, with the support of a Fulbright Junior Scholar Grant.
Areas of Specialization
Social and cultural history of modern China.Selected Publications
Professor Ho is currently preparing her manuscript, Antiquity in Revolution: Cultural Relics in Twentieth-Century Shanghai. In addition, she is writing an article entitled, “The Ideology of Cultural Things: Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution,” which uses archival material to explore how museum officials and cultural workers responded to the “Smash the Four Olds” campaign during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Her second book is a narrative history of modern China told through the lives of three generations of a family: Liang Qichao, Liang Sicheng, and Liang Congjie. These three biographies—of an intellectual-reformer, an architectural historian, and an environmental activist—will be used to trace the changes of modern Chinese history and to frame how China’s intellectuals sought to shape society.