Department of History



Steven Phillips

Professor of History

PhD Georgetown University, 1998.

Office:   LA 4229
Phone:   410-704-2912
Fax:   410-704-5595
Web site:

Steven Phillips earned his PhD in in East Asian History at Georgetown University in 1998 for his dissertation, “Between Independence and Assimilation: The Taiwanese Elite under Nationalist Chinese Rule, 1945-1950." His research focuses on China and Taiwan, 1800-present, particularly political and diplomatic history, history of the Cold War, nationalism, and international relations. He is currently researching Chinese Nationalist foreign policy during the Cold War.

In 2008-2011 Dr. Phillips held Towson University’s first Mitten Professorship in the College of Liberal Arts. This enabled him to arrange a series of talks about the challenges and opportunities offered by China’s rise. His goal was to ensure that this lengthy series of talks, when taken as a whole, provided a balanced overview of the People’s Republic, and did not hew to any single political agenda. These talks were designed to engage diverse audiences from outside of academia. Baltimore City and Baltimore County citizens had an opportunity to hear people like Dr. Richard Bush, a former diplomat, discuss Sino-American relations and journalist Adama Gaye talk about China’s influence in Africa.

In June 2011 Dr. Phillips participated in the Maryland Governor’s June 2011 trip to China, South Korea, and Vietnam, enabling him to put his efforts into a state-wide context. He assisted the Interim President of Towson in building international relationships and offered advice to businessmen and government officials. His work focused on helping Chinese study in Maryland universities or participate in USMD education in China, and on enabling Americans to study in China. These efforts have expanded to include more business interests over the past few years.

Dr. Phillips has received three Fulbright Group Project Abroad Grants (2006, 2008, and 2010). These grants enabled a dozen K-12 teachers, mainly from Maryland, to spend five weeks in China escorted by Dr. Phillips and Professor Jin Lijun of the College of Education. The teachers visited key historic sites and interacted with Chinese scholars in order to gain new perspectives on the Middle Kingdom. Participants strengthened their schools’ curriculums through new lesson plans. Dr. Phillips has also helped public teachers in Humboldt County, California, enhance their Asia curriculum.

Dr. Phillips often gives talks and writes about China’s history and current events, as well as the impact of China’s rise on the United States. His goal is to give Marylanders a balanced overview of the challenges presented by a more powerful People’s Republic of China. Over the past few years he has spoken to groups such as Towson’s Osher Society, retirement communities, and civic groups. He has also spoken to Maryland students in the Model UN program. He provides more structured briefings for government officials and military officers. He speaks about ten times each year to officers at Bethesda’s Naval Medical Center and also gives talks on China to new employees of the United States Department of State. He has spoken at “Strait Talk”, a program that brings students from China, Taiwan, and the US together to talk about military conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

For many years Dr. Phillips has been a member of the Education Subcommittee of the Maryland-Anhui Sister State Committee. This organization seeks to increase contact across the Pacific.

Selected Publications

  • "A Selected Bibliography of English-Language Sources" and "A Selected Bibliography of Chinese-Language Sources". In Mark Peattie, et. al., eds. The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. Pages 571-583.
  • "’远东的北约’: 国民党与区域军事合作". [A Far Eastern NATO: The Nationalists and Regional Military Cooperation]. 社会科学研究(四川省社会科学院)191 (November 2010): 133-141.
  • "Burlingame, Anson," "Open-Door Policy," "Spratly Islands Dispute," "Treaty of Wangxia," "Versailles Peace Conference, " and "Yalta Agreement." In the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. Greater Barrington: Berkshire Publishing Group, 2009.
  • "The Demonization of Federalism in Republican China". In Emilian Kavalski and Magdalena Zolkos, eds. Defunct Federalisms: Critical Perspectives on Federal Failure. London: Ashgate Press, 2008. Pages 87-102

Recent Lectures and Presentations

  • “The Legacy of 1911 and Democracy on Taiwan.” Sigur Center for Asian Studies, The George Washington University (October 2011).
  • “Why Taiwan Matters,” American Association for Chinese Studies conference, Philadelphia (October 2011).
  • “Still Father of the Revolution: Remembering Sun Yat-sen and the 1911 Revolution," Encounter of Chinese and Western Cultures and the 1911 Revolution conference sponsored by the University of Maryland and the Library of Congress (September 2011).
  • “The Importance of the 1946 Constitution,” An Audit of Democratic Development in the Republic of China, discussant, Oxford University (June 2011).
  • “Historical Perspectives on Cross Strait Economic Relations,” Taiwan and Evolving Cross Strait Relations conference, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, The George Washington University (May 2011).
  • “The DPP Confronts the Possibility of Taiwan at the Center,” 2010 Conference on Taiwan Issues, University of South Carolina, Columbia (October 2010).

Recent Book Reviews:

  • Ann Heylen and Scott Sommers, eds. Becoming Taiwan: From Colonialism to Democracy. Pacific Affairs, forthcoming.
  • Michael Szonyi. Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line. The Journal of Asian Studies 69, 1 (Spring 2010) 237-238.
  • Tomoko Shiroyama. China during the Great Depression: Market, State, and the World Economy, 1929-1937. Asian Studies Review 33, 1 (March 2009): 112-114.
  • Guangqiu Xu. Congress and the U.S.-China Relationship: 1949-1973 and James Peck. Washington’s China: The National Security World, the Cold War, and the Origins of Globalism. Diplomatic History 32: 5 (November 2008): 995-1000.

Awards and Honors

  • Martha A. Mitten Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, 2008-2011
  • Thomas Jefferson Award for Documentary Editing, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2007
  • Fellow, Humanities Center, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan, 2006
  • Exchange scholar with Anhui University, 2006







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