Virginia Tech history professor to serve two-year Oxford appointment
Helen Schneider, assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech, has been invited to the University of Oxford to serve as a research associate. During her two-year appointment, which begins this fall, she will join a team of researchers based to work on the project “The Persistence of Conflict: China's War with Japan: Experience, Legacy, and Memory, 1931 to the Present.”
Schneider's research will focus on the Sino-Japanese War's impact on ideas of gender and social reform in China. The research associate position allows Schneider to develop the topic through collaboration and will provide opportunities for her to return to China for further archival research. She will assist in investigations into the lasting effects on the war on Chinese identity, deliver lectures on modern Chinese history, and mentor Oxford undergraduates and graduates in their directed research. While at Oxford, she also says she plans to begin a longer-term project that will investigate the impact of post-war international aid on both sides of the Chinese civil war, the Nationalists' and the Communists' efforts to reconstruct a powerful and socially stable China, and the gendered aspects of international relief.
Schneider’s ongoing research interests explore women's education in the Republican period, specifically looking at the shifts in women's roles in the home and the developments of domestic science education (home economics) from the Republican Period (1911-1949) to the early People's Republic of China.
Schneider, who is proficient in Mandarin Chinese, has attended several language training centers including The Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies, Nanjing, China; the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan; the Beijing Languages Institute; and the CET Language Training Center in Harbin, China.
Schneider joined two other Virginia Tech faculty members from the Department of Communication, Edd Sewell and Dale Jenkins, in leading a study abroad trip to China this past summer. The group focused on contemporary Chinese history, media criticism, photojournalism, and magazine writing.
"Helen was a tremendous asset to our China program," said Sewell. "She knew the language, the culture, the history, and the places to visit that are not on the usual China itinerary. The knowledge students gained from her class on contemporary Chinese history provided the foundation for understanding and appreciating their experiences in China."
Schneider earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. She served as a visiting junior scholar at the University of Nanjing for dissertation research. Her bachelor's degree is in Asian Studies and History from Swarthmore College.