Gregory Ruf grew up near Binghamton, in upstate New York, and attended SUNY Cortland
as an undergraduate, earning a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in History.
He first went to China in 1982, when he spent his junior year on an exchange program
in Beijing, part of the second cohort of American college students to study abroad
in China during the early years of ‘Reform and Opening’ following the death of Chairman
Mao. After college, Ruf won a scholarship for a year of advanced language study in
Taipei, Taiwan. His travels throughout China led to an interest in cultural anthropology,
which he pursued through graduate work at Columbia University (PhD 1994), and a post-doctoral
fellowship at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, before joining the
faculty at Stony Brook. He has also taught at Drew University, Harvard University,
and Wellesley College.
At Stony Brook, Greg Ruf served as the inaugural Undergraduate Director in Asian and
Asian American Studies, as well as the Undergraduate Director for several other departments
and programs, as inaugural Faculty Director for an interdisciplinary minor in Community
Service Learning, as Program Director for six-week summer study tour of China, as
Graduate Program Director in AAS, and multiple terms as Director of China Studies.
He holds a joint appointment in Asian and Asian American Studies and Anthropology,
and is part of the graduate faculty in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Anthropological
Ruf's research interests lay at the intersections of anthropology and history, particularly
as they relate to rural development, social organization, and ecology. He is the
Cadres and Kin: Making a Socialist Village in West China, 1921-1991 (Stanford). He has been a Fulbright Research Scholar in China (Yunnan University),
conducting fieldwork on water resource management in the Lancang/Mekong watershed.
He is currently working on a book about a century of change in a rural Sichuan market
Professor Ruf’s regular course offerings include both introductory and advanced-level
courses on China, covering such topics as Language and Culture in China; Science and
Civilization in China; Ancient China; Environmental History of China; Ethnicity and
Ecology in China; and Family, Marriage, and Kinship in China. He also teaches the
AAS Senior Seminar on theory and methods in research design. Recipient of the SUNY
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the College of Arts & Sciences
Godfrey Teaching Excellence Award, Ruf regularly offers Freshman Seminars through
the university’s Undergraduate Colleges program and advises Honors students in several
Ruf lives in a coastal community in Massachusetts, and volunteers with the Buzzards
Bay Coalition. When not at work, he enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking, and sailing,
and he rows competitively in Yankee whaleboats.