Liping Bu

Dr. Liping Bu is chair and professor of history. Her research interests include international relations and cultural diplomacy, public health, modernization and nation-building. She teaches modern Chinese and Japanese history as well as 20th-Century America. She received her PhD in history and policy from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 after studies at Peking University and Smith College. She has published five books and more than 30 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on a wide range of subjects of international education and cultural relations, and public health and modern society. Her new book, Public Health and the Modernization of China, 1865-2015, was published in 2017.

Professor Bu has received prestigious fellowships and grants, including NIH grant, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Rockefeller Archive Center grant, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. At Alma College, she received Barlow Award and Posey Award for Faculty Excellence, and the Service Learning Fellow Award.

Professor Bu has been invited to speak at major international conferences, such as giving the keynote lecture at the 2010 International Conference on Academic Exchange and International Relations in Vienna, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Austrian-American Fulbright Exchange; and the keynote speech at the 2011 conference of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Germany.

As scholar in residence at the National Library of Medicine, NIH, she created a higher education module on public health campaigns in China and several exhibits on public health.

1) “Chinese public health posters”  

2) “Chinese Anti-Malaria Posters”

3) “Health for the People: Continuity and Change in Asian Medicine”

(4) ”Consumptive Disease”: Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Posters, 1950-1980”

(5) ”Family Planning and Socioeconomic Development”


Chair and Professor



Educational Background

Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University (1995)

Smith College

Peking University


Professor of History

My career at Alma began in


I'm an expert in

20th-century America, modern China, cultural diplomacy, public health

My expertise:

Professor Liping Bu specializes in 20th century U.S. history and modern China. She has published extensively on international educational and cultural exchanges, public health and modern nation-building. She has authored and edited several books and published dozens of journal articles and book chapters. 

Recent publications:


  • Liping Bu, Public Health and the Modernization of China, 1865-2015. Routledge, 2017
  • Liping Bu and Ka-che Yip, eds. Public Health and National Reconstruction in Post-War Asia: International Influences, Local Transformations. Routledge, 2014.
  • Liping Bu, Darwin Stapleton and Ka-che Yip, eds. Science, Public Health, and the State In Modern Asia.  London: Routledge.  2012.
  • Liping Bu. Making the World Like US: Education, Cultural Expansion, and the American Century.  Praeger.  2003.
  • Frank Ninkovich and Liping Bu, eds. The Cultural Turn: Essays in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations.  Chicago: Imprint Publications.  2001.


  • Liping Bu. “Anti-Malaria Campaigns and the Socialist Reconstruction of China, 1950-80.” East Asian History (December 2014)
  • Liping Bu. “From Public Health to State Medicine: John B. Grant and China”s Health Profession.”  Harvard Asia Quarterly .  14, no. 4 (December 2012): 8-15.
  • Liping Bu and Elizabeth Fee.  “Family Planning and Economic Development in China.”  American Journal of Public Health .  102, no. 10 (October 2012): 1858-1859.
  • Liping Bu and Elizabeth Fee. “Get Well and Go Back to Work!.”  American Journal of Public Health .  101, no. S1 (December 2011): S165.
  • Elizabeth Fee and Liping Bu.  “Isaac Williams Brewer (1867-1928): An Unsung Hero.”  American Journal of Public Health.  100, no. 3 (March 2010):423.
  • Liping Bu.  “Science, Public Health, and Modernization of China in Social Darwinian Context, 1895-1925.”  Minguo Yan Jiu (Studies on Republican China).  vol. 16 (winter 2009): 215-244.
  • Elizabeth Fee and Liping Bu.  “The Origins of Public Health Nursing: The Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service.”  American Journal of Public Health.  100, no.7 (July 2010):1206-1207.

Book Chapters:

  • “Education and International Cultural Understanding: The Elite American Approach, 1920-1937.” In Teaching America to the World and the World to America: Education and Foreign Relations since 1870 , edited by Richard Garlitz and Lisa Jarvinen, 111-134. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • “Korean War Anti-Germ Warfare Posters.” In Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, edited by Michael Sappol, 198-199. Blast Books, 2012.
  • “Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Flyers,.” In Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, edited by Michael Sappol, 166-167. Blast Books, 2012.
  • “Introduction: Interpreting Science and Public Health in Modern Asia, .” In Science, Public Health and the State in Modern Asia , edited by Liping Bu, Darwin Stapleton and Ka-che Yip, 1-15. London: Routledge, 2012.
  • “Beijing First Health Station: Innovative Public Health Education and Influence on China’s Health Profession, .” In Science, Public Health and the State in Modern Asia, edited by Liping Bu, Darwin Stapleton and Ka-che Yip, 129-143. London: Routledge, 2012.
  • “Social Darwinism, Public Health and Modernization in China, 1895-1925.” In Uneasy Encounters: The Politics of Medicine and Health in China 1900-1937, edited by Iris Borowy, 93-124. Germany: Peter Lang,,  2009.

Recent presentations:

  • “The Body Medical and Social: Western Concepts and Chinese Interpretations in the early 20th Century,” presented at the 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology (ICHST), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23-29, 2017.
  • “Understanding Human Body and Epidemic Disease: Western Concepts, Chinese Interpretations in Early 20th Century,” presented at the Conference “Bodies, Healing and Culture: A Social History of Medicine in East Asia,” University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies, San Francisco, November 5-6, 2015.
  • “Pioneering Chinese Female Doctors of Western Medicine: Their International Education and Career Life,” presented at 14th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia, EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), Paris, July 6-10, 2015.
  • “Humanitarian Relief and Social Control: Statistical Collection and Analysis of Health Data in Beijing, 1920s-1930s,” International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University, Shanghai, June 9-10, 2015
  •  “Western Medicine and Chinese Women Doctors: Pioneers in the Field,” presented at the Conference on Western Medicine in China, Beijing, June 22-24, 2013.
  •  “The Rockefeller Foundation’s Global Health Governance and Country Specific Practice in China,” presented at the Conference on Empire and Global Health Governance in Asia and the Pacific: History and Policy, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Feb. 27-28, 2013.
  • “John B. Grant: Public Health and State Medicine,” presented at the China Medical Board-Sponsored Conference on Medical Transitions in 20th-Century China, Beijing, June 23-26, 2012.
  • “Visual Materials As Useful Research Sources.”  Association for Asian Studies and International Congress of Asian Studies Conference.  Honolulu, Hawaii.  March 30-April 4, 2011.
  •  “Cultural Exchange and International Relations: What’s Unique about the United States of America?.”  International Conference on Academic Exchange and International Relations.  Vienna, Austria.  November, 2010.
  •  “Educational Exchange and the Writing of International History.”  Annual Conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.  Madison, WI,.  June 24-26, 2010.
  •  “Anti-Malaria Campaigns and Socialist Reconstruction in China: 1950-1980.”  Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies.  Philadelphia.  March 25-28, 2010.
  •  “Fighting Malaria: Art, Politics, and Scientific Knowledge of Health in Socialist China.”  Southwest Conference on Asian Studies.  Austin, Texas.  October 15-17, 2009.

Recent grants:

  • Barlow Award in Faculty Excellence, Alma College, 2013
  • Research Grant, Rockefeller Archive Center, New York, 2012.
  • Scholarly Works Grant, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,2009-2011.
  • Research Grant, Rockefeller Archive Center, 2006-2007.
  • Andrew Mellon Fellowship, Needham Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK, 2006.

Other recent accomplishments:

  • Keynote Speaker/lecturer, 60th Anniversary of Austrian-American Fulbright Program,Vienna, Austria, Nov. 18-19, 2010
  • Service Learning Fellow Award 2005