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Dr. A. Lazarowitz

Margaret Kuo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840
562 985-4426 | Office: FO2-112

Margaret Kuo is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach. Her scholarship focuses on gender, law, and society. A specialist in twentieth-century China, she teaches courses on modern and contemporary Chinese history, women’s history, and history and theory. She is the author of Intolerable Cruelty: Marriage, Law and Society in Early Twentieth-Century China (2012), a study of marital disputes from the 1930s and 1940s that probes the social impact of legal modernization under the Nationalist Chinese government. Other recent publications include articles on the legal construction of gender in modern Chinese law, the emergence of “rights consciousness” in early twentieth-century China, and the controversy over married women’s surnames that erupted during the drafting of new family legislation in the 1930s. She is currently at work on two major research projects. The first is a project on legal elites and Chinese modernity that focuses on Wu Jingxiong (John C.H. Wu 1899-1986), the main architect of the Republican Chinese Constitution and a prominent Chinese Catholic. The second project draws upon the photographic archives of Passionist missionaries in rural Hunan. She received a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University and the Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco. Before moving to Long Beach in 2007, she taught at McGill University. She serves on the editorial board of The History Teacher. She lives with her husband, Geoff, who is a psychotherapist in training, and her son, Jonah, who is in pre-school.

Research Interests

Modern China
Contemporary China
Women, gender, and sexuality
Law, society, and culture
History and theory
History of emotions
Transnational Chinese


BA, MA, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
JD, Georgetown University Law Center

Selected Publications


Intolerable Cruelty: Marriage, Law, and Society in Early Twentieth-Century China (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

In Pursuit of Justice and Salvation: John C.H. Wu and the Making of Modern China [in progress; an intellectual biography of John C.H. Wu that explores the intersection of modern Chinese law and religion].

Journal Articles

“Spousal Abuse: Divorce Litigation and the Emergence of Rights Consciousness in Republican China,” Modern China vol. 38, no. 5 (September 2012): 523-558.

“The Construction of Gender in Modern Chinese Law: Discrepant Gender Meanings in the Republican Civil Code,” Frontiers of History in China vol. 7, no. 2 (June 2012): 282-309.

“The Legislative Process in Republican China: The 1930 Nationalist Family Law and the Controversy over Surnames for Married Women,” Twentieth-Century China vol. 36, no. 1 (January 2011): 44-66.

Book Chapter:

“Pei’ou de jingji quanli he yiwu: Minguo shanyang anjian zhong de hunyin gainian (1930-1949).” In Cong susong dang’an chufa: Zhongguo de falü, shehui yu wenhua (Research from Archival Case Records: Law, Society, and Culture in China), edited by Philip C.C. Huang and You Chenjun, 299-320 (Beijing: Falü chubanshe (The Law Press), 2009) [translation into Chinese of original manuscript in English titled “Spousal Financial Rights and Obligations: Alimony and Support Cases in Republican China”].

Encyclopedia Entries

“Marriage Laws,” in The Encyclopedia of Modern China, edited by David S. Pong, 563-565 (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale/Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009).

“Codes of Law and Laws: Religious, Civil, and Penal Laws in China,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, edited by Bonnie G. Smith, 426-428 (Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Book Reviews:

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese History, by Susan L. Mann (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), China Review International, forthcoming.

Telling Chinese History: A Selection of Essays, by Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), Journal of World History vol. 21, no. 3 (September 2010): 527-531.