Peg Christoff

Peg Christoff



This fall semester, 2014, I am pleased to teach three courses: 1) Introduction to Asian Studies (AAS118), which I successfully piloted as the “gateway” course for the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, 2) Revolutionary China (AAS351/HIS351), and 3) Women in U.S.-Asian Relations (AAS307).  In the spring semester, I regularly teach Science and Civilization in China (AAS221), America’s Wars in Asia (AAS310), as well as the Introduction to Asian Studies (AAS118); and, in the past, I have taught Ethnicity and Ecology in China (AAS379/ANT379) and Ancient China (AAS371/ANT371).  To expand course offerings in contemporary Asian studies, I introduced to the department both AAS307 and AAS310.  I also teach a freshman seminar, American Poets and China (LDS102).

In addition to teaching, I’m committed to working with students on projects that focus on Asian connections to (and in) America. Together, we are developing a digital platform finding aid that will enable scholars, students, and the public to identify diverse collections from all fifty state historical societies. Among the personal papers of diplomats, politicians, missionaries, military personnel, self-identified Asian Americans, travelers, journalists, students, scientists, and scholars, and so on, are amazing stories and treasures – illustrating the multi-faceted Asian influences in America spanning 150 years.

Also, I am working with the Middle Country Library in Centereach (Long Island, NY) to identify and interview community leaders who have, in one way or another, built bridges between Asia and America. At this point in time, our focus is on Long Island’s Chinese and Korean connections.

To facilitate understanding about Chinese culture, I am looking for a publisher for a series of short stories about the historic region of Shaoxing, China.  The collection was a collaborative research effort that centered on oral interviews with a Chinese writer/editor, Ms. Enko Liu, who identifies Shaoxing as her “laojia” or hometown.  One day I hope to lead a group of students to Shaoxing so that they may experience first hand the dynamic qualities of daily life in China.

As for individual scholarly research, I have two ongoing research projects – one that assesses the successes and failures of an American woman China missionary, Olive Lindsay Wakefield, who considered herself the adopted mother of Langston Hughes; and the other on the effects of U.S. exclusion laws on Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s. 


Raised first in Charlottesville, Virginia and then in a rural community near St. Paul, Minnesota, Peg Christoff attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate majoring in International Relations and achieving Chinese language certification. She received a dissertation research grant from the Pacific Cultural Foundation (Taiwan) to conduct field research in China; and received a doctorate in International Relations from the American University in Washington, D.C. (1984). After teaching for Boston University’s Graduate Program in International Relations in Europe (1985-1987) and for the University of Cincinnati (1988-1991), she became an independent scholar in Chicago’s Chinatown (1992-1999). Upon relocating to Washington, D.C. in 2000, Christoff pursued a career in government service that included helping to establish a scholarly center in the Library of Congress, The John W. Kluge Center, and managing China debates on Capitol Hill for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 2007, she conducted research and wrote a report for use by the U.S. Department of Defense and, in 2009, was awarded a research grant from the East-West Center under the “Asia Matters for America” project. She subsequently received a travel-to-collections grant from the Wu Family Foundation, was a Visiting Professor at Towson University (2011-2012), and was awarded a Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) grant to participate in faculty development summer seminar in Shanghai.

Professor Christoff’s interests include pedagogy in Asian and Asian American studies. Special topics are migration and displacement, cultural preservation, social transformation, and the changing roles of women.

Selected Publications:

  •     “Key Statistics on Voting Behavior among Asian America,” East-West Center, (, Nov 23, 2012)
  •     Biographical entry of Shirley Geok-lin Lim, In Great Lives from History: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (Salem Press, 2012)
  •     Tracking the Yellow Peril: The INS and Chinese Immigrants in the Midwest, (Picton Press, 2001)
  •     “An Archival Resource: INS Case Files on Chinese Women in the American Midwest,” in the Journal of Women’s History, (Indiana University Press, autumn, 1998)
  •     (And, soon to be published) “Voting Patterns among Pacific Islanders,” in Minority Voting Rights in the United States (edited by Thomas Baldino and Kyle Kreider, Praeger Press)


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Asian & Asian American Studies    1046 Humanities Building, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5343     Phone: (631) 632-4030
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