Macabe Keliher

Associate Professor



Office Location

Dallas Hall Room 59


(214) 768-2998


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 award winning book on the formation of the Qing empire, The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China, is an institutional and political history of ritual in early modern China. 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 to lay the basis for empire.
He is currently at work on a four-part history of capitalism in China, exploring developments from 1400 to the present. The most recent installment of this project is a history of the transformation of the postwar Hong Kong political economy.

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China (University of California Press, 2019)
*Tso Shun-sheng Award, Academia Sinica
*Joseph Levenson Prize honorable mention, Association for Asian Studies

Selected Articles


  • “Mass Protests and the Structure of Power in Contemporary Hong Kong.”China Review International 26.1-2 (2021): 1-37.
  • “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


Fulbright Research Scholar, Taiwan, 2022-2023

Sam Taylor Fellowship, 2020
Sue Tsao Endowment Fund in Chinese Studies, 2019
Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS, 2018-2019
National Endowment for the Humanities, summer 2017
Indiana University Maurer School of Law Jerome Hall Fellow, 2015-2016
Fulbright Institute of International Education Research Grant, 2011-2012


Macabe Keliher