Charles Argon is a third-year Ph.D. student specializing in Chinese political history. His research focuses on governance under the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. In past projects, he has studied how county magistrates and campaigning armies interacted with merchants, bandits, and other groups. In doing so, he seeks to shed new light on modern Chinese political culture.
His dissertation investigates neighborhood-level mutual responsibility systems (baojia) in the decades around 1800. Baojia programs were mandated by the imperial court and implemented across the empire by cash-strapped local governments. Through them, communities and the state delineated the boundaries of citizenship and community in early modern China.
Charles graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2017 with a B.A. in East Asian Studies. His undergraduate thesis won the Marjory Chadwick Buchanan Senior Thesis Prize. After graduating, he lived and studied in China for several years, first conducting research as a Fulbright Scholar in Hangzhou and then completing an M.A. in Chinese History at Tsinghua University on a China Government Scholarship. His research has appeared in Russell and (in Chinese) in The Proceedings of the Central China Normal University History Forum.
He is also happy to talk with applicants to the History Department’s doctoral program and Princeton undergraduates interested in China.