Peter Lavelle

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Cornell University

Areas of Specialty

Chinese history

Current Research Interests

Chinese agricultural science, environmental history


Peter Lavelle is a specialist in Chinese history during the long nineteenth century. His research focuses on topics related to the environment, agriculture, science and technology, and colonialism. He is currently working on a book about Chinese agricultural science and development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His research has been supported by funding from a variety of sources, including the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies and the Fulbright Program. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut, he was a member of the History faculty at Temple University.

Selected Publications


The Profits of Nature: Colonial Development and the Quest for Resources in Nineteenth-Century China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Articles and Book Chapters

“Placing the Science of Agriculture in Early Twentieth-Century China,” Isis, forthcoming.

“Tools for Overcoming Crisis: Agriculture, Scarcity, and Ideas of Rural Mechanization in Late Qing China,” Agricultural History 94, no. 3 (Summer 2020): 386-412.

“Agricultural Improvement at China’s First Agricultural Experiment Stations,” in Denise Phillips and Sharon Kingsland, eds., New Perspectives on the History of Life Sciences and Agriculture (New York: Springer, 2015), 323-44.

Peter Lavelle, associate professor of history
Contact Information
Mailing Address241 Glenbrook Rd., U-4103, Storrs CT 06269
Office LocationWood Hall, Rm 333
CampusCampus: Storrs
Office HoursOn Leave Spring 2024