Professor Chao is an expert in Chinese social-economic history in late imperial China with an emphasis on the regional history of Shaanxi. He received his M.A. in History from Shaanxi Teacher’s University. His Ph.D., also in history, was from the History Department, Xiamen University, where he is now an Associate Professor and the director of the China Social-Economic History Section. At Harvard, his research focused on the commercial history of China’s Ming and Qing dynasties.