Macabe Keliher


Assistant Professor


Office: Dallas Hall Room 59
Phone: (214) 768-2998
Email: macabe[@]

Educational Background

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2015
M.A., George Washington University
B.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst



Macabe Keliher is a historian of early modern and modern China. His book on political domination in early modern China, The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China (University of California Press, 2020), examines the formation of the Qing empire. Focusing on symbolic practices that disciplined political actors and legitimized authority, the book challenges traditional understandings of state-formation and argues that ceremonial and ritual acts not only defined power and authority, but also played a key role in shaping political order in seventeenth-century China. 
He is currently at work on two different projects concerning social and economic domination in China. The first looks at how familial and religious institutions reproduced social structures in a Chinese village over a 400 year period. The second explores access to capital and the nature of investment in late imperial and modern China.  


The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020.


Selected Articles

  • “Leading Through Ritual: Ceremony and Emperorship in Early Modern China,” Leadership, vol. 14, no. 4 (August 2018): 435-459. 
  • “Law in the Mongol and Post-Mongol World: The Case of Yuan China,” China Review International 32.2 (2018): 107–25.
  • The Problem of Imperial Relatives in Early Modern Empires and the Making of Qing China,” American Historical Review 122, no. 4 (October 2017): 1001–37. 
  • "State Ritual and Political Culture in Imperial and Late Imperial China: Reflections on Li," Journal for Cultural Interaction in East Asia, 8 (2017): 113-118.
  • "Administrative Law and the Making of the First Da Qing Huidian,"Late Imperial China, 37, no. 1 (2016): 55-107.
  • “Li zhe xingzhenfa ye: shiqi shiji zhengzhi fencing yu Qingchao xingzheng zhixu de jiangou [Li as Administrative Law: Political Stratification and the Construction of Qing Administrative Order in Seventeenth-Century China]” (In Chinese),Fudan Law Review, vol. 3 (May 2016): 84–114.
  • "Corruption, Anticorruption, and the Transformation of Political Culture in Contemporary China, "The Journal of Asian Studies, 75, no. 1 (February 2016): 5-18.

Selected Fellowships and Grants


Sue Tsao Endowment Fund in Chinese Studies, 2019
National Endowment for the Humanities, summer 2017
Riggle Fellowship in the Humanities, 2017
American Mandarin Society Fellows Program, 2016
Indiana University Maurer School of Law Jerome Hall Fellow, 2015-2016
Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, 2014-2015
China Scholarship Council Exchange Program, Peking University, 2012-2013
Fredrick Sheldon Fellowship, Harvard University, 2012
Fulbright Institute of International Education Research Grant, 2011-2012