History Department
Joyce Madancy

Joyce Madancy

Job Title
Professor of History
Lippman Hall 109

Research interests

My research has focused on state-society relations in nineteenth and twentieth century China, as analyzed through the lens of opium suppression movements. That work resulted in several articles and a book entitled The Troublesome Legacy of Commissioner Lin: The Opium Trade and Opium Suppression in Fujian Province, 1820s to 1920s (published in 2004 by Harvard East Asian Monographs). Although I am a specialist in the History of China, I have expanded my teaching interests to offer courses on the Samurai and the Mongols, as well as a global history course on Walls. I have also led terms abroad to York, England and Galway, Ireland, where I taught classes on Drugs and the British Empire, and Alcohol and the Irish, respectively. My current research looks at depictions of China’s most famous ‘drug czar’ and the commemoration in the US of the military sex slaves often referred to as “comfort women”. Now that my two children are grown, I spend my free time thinking and planning where to travel next!

Teaching interests

I teach a wide range of courses on the history of China, Japan, and Korea, from Neolithic to now, and am constantly adding new courses as my interests change. In the last few years, I have introduced two new classes – “World War II in East Asia” and “Drugs and Cultures in Asia,” and am currently working on another that seeks to explode some of the myths surrounding the Japanese samurai (i.e., none bore the least resemblance to Tom Cruise).


Troublesome Legacy of Commissioner Lin: The Opium Trade and Opium Suppression in Fujian Province, 1820s to 1920s

by Joyce A. Madancy
Harvard University Press
January 2004

In 1908, a very public crusade against opium was in full swing throughout China, and the provincial capital and treaty port of Fuzhou was a central stage for the campaign. This, the most successful attempt undertaken by the Chinese state before 1949 to eliminate opium, came at a time when, according to many historians, China’s central state was virtually powerless. This volume attempts to reconcile that apparent contradiction.

The remarkable, albeit temporary, success of the anti-opium campaign between 1906 and 1920 is as yet largely unexplained. How these results were achieved, how that progress was squandered, and why China’s opium problem proved so tenacious are the questions that inspired this volume. The attack on this social problem was led by China’s central and provincial authorities, aided by reformist elites, and seemingly supported by most Chinese. The anti-opium movement relied on the control and oversight provided by a multilayered state bureaucracy, the activism and support of unofficial elite-led reform groups, the broad nationalistic and humanitarian appeal of the campaign, and the cooperation of the British government. The extent to which the Chinese state was able to control the pace and direction of the anti-opium campaign and the evolving nature of the political space in which elite reformers publicized and enforced that campaign are the guiding themes of this analysis.

Relationship Restored: Trends in U. S. – China Educational Exchanges, 1978-1984

by David M. Lampton, Joyce A. Madancy, Kristen M. Williams
Date: June 1986
National Academies Press

“Unearthing Popular Attitudes Towards the Opium Trade and Opium Suppression in Late Qing/Early Republican Fujian,” Modern China, 27, No. 4 (October 2001): 436-83

“Poppies, Patriotism, and the Public Sphere: Nationalism and State Leadership in the Anti-Opium Crusade in Fujian, 1906-1916,” in Timothy Brook and Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (eds.), Opium Regimes: China, Britain and Japan, 1839-1952 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 228-247

“Hidden Treasures: US State Department Diplomatic Records and Their Relevance for Scholars of Late Imperial China,” Late Imperial China, 19, No. 1 (June 1998): 82-99

“Revolution, Religion and the Poppy: Opium and the Rebellion of the `Sixteenth Emperor’ in Early Republican Fujian,” Republican China, XXI, No. 1 (November 1995): 1-41

Co-author, with David M. Lampton and Kristin Williams, A Relationship Restored: Trends in U.S.-China Educational Exchanges, 1978-1984 (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1986)

Additional media

Academic credentials

B.A., College of William and Mary; M.A., Cornell University; Ph.D., University of Michigan