Hugh Shapiro, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Hugh Shapiro


Hugh Shapiro is an associate professor of East Asian history at the University of Nevada, Reno.

He works on the history of disease in comparative context. The analysis of bodily experience is a powerful tool for grappling with historical transformation and his archival and fieldwork in China, Japan, and Taiwan focuses on how cultural practice, environment, and ideas inflect the way people experience illness, in particular neuropsychiatric distress. His recent work appears in volumes published by Harvard University Press, Brill, Rowman & Littlefield, Kluwer and globalyceum. Shapiro has enjoyed visiting appointments at Princeton University, at universities in China, Japan, and Taiwan, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Shapiro’s other research and teaching interests include Sino-Russian-Central Asian relations and the history of de-colonization and authoritarianism. As a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, he has lectured in 20 countries in Eurasia. During his years of study and research in East Asia, he enjoyed diverse extracurricular experiences, such as working on an innovative Sino-Japanese television series for NHK. He received the Li-Qing Prize for the History of Chinese Science and won his University’s highest teaching award. Shapiro earned his B.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.


  • East Asian history
  • China
  • history of medicine

Courses Taught

  • HIST 211: History of East Asia I
  • HIST 212: History of East Asia II
  • HIST 430a/Hist 630a: Hereditary Dictatorships of the Modern World
  • HIST 450a/650a: Modern Chinese History
  • HIST 494a/694a: Medicine and Technology in Traditional China
  • HIST 494b/694b: Pathologies of Daily Life in Modern China
  • HIST 494c/694c: Topics in Chinese Culture and Society
  • HIST 498/698: Advanced Historical Studies
  • HIST 703: Advanced Studies in History
  • HIST 705: Graduate Readings in History

Professional certifications

  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1995