Zhijun Ren

Email: zren33@wisc.edu

Advisor: Viren Murthy
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Zhijun Ren headshot


My dissertation is a reinterpretation of the Chinese tributary system and its relation to East Asian early modernity. I use the Korean travelogues (collectively known as Yŏnhaengrok) to examine the early modern tributary relationship between the Qing empire and the Chosŏn dynasty. I use the political history of the Sino-Korean diplomatic exchanges to rethink Chosŏn’s centrality in the construction of a Qing-centric tributary order.


M.A., University of Ottawa, Canada
B.A., University of Ottawa, Canada


  • East Asian History

M.A. Title

  • “The Tributary System and the Meaning of East Asia in Late Qing China “

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Remapping Empire and Envisioning Early Modern in East Asia: Locality and Region in the Wriitngs of Korean Envoys”

Selected Publications

  • Ren, Zhijun. “Rethinking Yŏnhaengnok as Parallel Narrative: From a Withered Tree to the Qing Imperial Narrative.” Acta Koreana. Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2020: 50–79.
  • Qiao, Zhihang. “Imagining a Different Future—Anarchist Equality and the Form of Labour in the Journal of Natural Justice.” Translated by Zhijun Ren. Frontiers of History in China, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp. 376 – 403.
  • Murthy, Viren. Zhang Taiyan de zhengzhizhexue: yishi zhi dikang 章太炎的政治哲学:意识之抵抗. Translated by Zhijun Ren. Shanghai, Huadong Normal University Press, 2018. (Chinese translation of Viren Murthy, The Political Philosophy of Zhang Taiyan, Brill, 2011)
  • Murthy, Viren. “Chongxin sikao Zhang Taiyan yu xiandaixing 重新思考章太炎與現代性”,Translated by Zhijun Ren. The Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. Vol. 78, 2012, p. 179-185. (Chinese translation of Viren Murthy, “Rethinking Zhang Taiyan and Modernity”)
  • Harootunian, Harry. “Yiqie yi lishi de mingyi ⼀切以历史的名义”, Translated by Zhijun Ren. In Chongshen xiandaizhuyi:dongya shijiao huo hanziquan de tiwen 重审现代主义:东亚视角或汉字圈的提问. Beijing, Qinghua Univeristy Press, 2013. 41-67. (Chinese translation of Harry Harootunian, “All the Names of History.” Preface of Harry Harootunian. Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2002)
  • Postone, Moishe. “Makesi yu xiandaixing 马克思与现代性.” Translated by Zhijun Ren. In Quyu:Yazhou yanjiu luncong 区域:亚洲研究论从. Beijing, Qinghua University Press,2012. 45-59. (Chinese translation of Moishe Postone, “Marxism and Modernity.”)
  • Postone, Moishe. “Zhuti yu shehui lilun 主体与社会理论”,Translated by Zhijun Ren. Hangzhou Normal University Journal 杭州师范⼤学学报, 2012 vol.5, 44-52. (Chinese translation of Moishe Postone, “The Subject and Social Theory: Marx and Lukács on Hegel.”)

Selected Awards

  • Seoul National University, Kyujanggak Junior Research Fellowship
  • Academy of Korean Studies, Graduate Fellowship
  • Fudan University, China Scholar Fellowship
  • Hunan University, Yuelu Academy Fellowship
  • UW-Madison, Mellon Foundation Area and International Studies Research Fellowship
  • UW-Madison, Chancellor’s Fellowship
  • University of Ottawa, Gaston Héon Graduate Scholarships in History

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 104: Introduction to East Asian History: Japan (Spring term, 2015)
  • History 130: History 130: An Introduction to World History (Spring term, 2020)
  • History 201: Life and Crime in Shanghai (Fall term, 2015)
  • History/East Asian Studies 336: Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones (Fall term, 2016)
  • History/East Asian Studies 363: China and World War II in Asia (Spring term, 2017)

Courses Taught as Instructor

  • History 103 Introduction to East Asian History: China. (Fall 2020, UW-Madison)
  • Special Lecture Series on Ming-Qing China (Fall 2019, Zhejiang University, China)
  • History 2178 History of East Asia 1600-Present (Winter 2014, University of Ottawa, Canada)