David Curtis Wright

Curriculum Vitae

Department of History

Faculty of Social Sciences

University of Calgary

2500 University Dr. NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 CANADA

(403) 220-6408


Present University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta

Associate Professor of History, specialising in imperial Chinese and Mongolian history and Taiwan history


1993 Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey

Ph.D. in East Asian Studies. Major field: Chinese history, Sung (A.D. 960-1279), Liao (A.D. 907-1120), Jin (A.D. 1115-1234), and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties. Professors: Denis Twitchett and Yü Ying-shih. Minor field: Mongolian history, thirteenth through twentieth centuries. Professor: Thomas Allsen (Trenton State College). Minor field: Qing China (1644-1912). Professor: Yü Ying-shih.

1991-1992 Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts

Exchange Scholar from Princeton, visiting Harvard’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations for the 1991-1992 academic year. Mongolian language study and dissertation research. Professor: Elizabeth Endicott-West.

1990 Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey

M.A. in East Asian Studies, with emphasis on Chinese and East Asian history. Passed Ph.D. requirement for reading proficiency in German.

1988 Middlebury College Language School Middlebury, Vermont

Studied Japanese intensively during the School’s nine-week summer session.

1979-1987 Brigham Young University Provo, Utah

Graduated magna cum laude with baccalaureate degrees in History (emphasis on modern China) and in Chinese language. Valedictorian, Department of History, 1987. Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key national honour societies.

1984-1985 Stanford Chinese Language Center Taipei, Taiwan

Attended on full-tuition award the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Taiwan, administered by Stanford University. Areas of emphasis included primary Chinese-language historical documents and Chinese narrative literature.


Books and monographs

2011 The History of China, Second Edition (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations). Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio. ISBN 978-0-313-37748-8.

2011 The Dragon Eyes the Top of the World: Arctic Policy Debate and Discussion in China (China Maritime Study Number 8). Newport, Rhode Island: United States Naval War College Press. ISBN 978-1-884733-94-9. Viewable online at http://www.usnwc.edu/Research---Gaming/China-Maritime-Studies-Institute/Publications/documents/China-Maritime-Study-8_The-Dragon-Eyes-the-Top-of-.pdf

2005 From War to Diplomatic Parity in Eleventh-Century China: Sung's Foreign Relations with Kitan Liao. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004144569.

2001 The History of China (The Greenwood histories of the Modern Nations). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 031330940X

1998 The Ambassadors' Records: Eleventh-Century Reports of Sung Embassies to the Liao. Papers on Inner Asia, No. 29. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.

Edited volume

2001 David B. Honey and David C. Wright, eds., Altaic Affinities: Proceedings of the 40th Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.

Academic articles

2015 “A History of the Sung Military” (translation). In John Chaffee and Denis Twitchett, eds., The Cambridge History of China, Volume 5, Part Two: Sung China, 960-1279 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 214-49.

2015 “Afloat, Afoot, Ahorseback: Swiftness and Mobility in the Mongol Yuan Conquest of Song China, 1274-1279,” in Leidschrift Historisch Tijdschrift / in De invloed van steppevolkeren: Mongools juk of Pax Mongolica 30.1 (2015): 65-77.

2014 “Chasing Sunflowers: personal Firsthand Observations of the Student Occupation of the Legislative Yuan and Popular Protests in Taiwan, 18 March 10 April 2014, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 15.4 (2014) http://www.jmss.org/jmss/index.php/jmss/article/view/574/554

2014 “China’s Growing Interest in the Arctic.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 15.2 (2013) http://www.jmss.org/jmss/index.php/jmss/article/view/528

2013 “Debates in the Field During Bayan’s Campaigns Against Southern Song China, 1274-1276.” In Peter A. Lorge, ed., Debating War in Chinese History (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 141-62.

2012 “The Northern Frontier,” in David A. Graff and Robin Higham, eds., A Military History of China, Updated Edition (University of Kentucky Press, 2012), pp. 57-79. Slightly updated version of the same chapter published in 2002.

2012 “The American Romance of Revolution: American Women Observers of the Chinese Communists, 1920s-1940s.” Women’s Studies Journal 1.1 (2012): 1035 (lead article). http://www.womenstudiesjournal.org/

2012 “A Chinese Princess Bride’s Life and Activism among the Eastern Türks, 580-593 CE.” Journal of Asian History 45.1 (2011):39-48. (Republication of 2008 article)

2011 “The Panda Bear Readies to Meet the Polar Bear: China and Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty Challenge.” Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, February 2011.

2009 “Yü Yingshi dui Xiongnu Yanjiu di Gongxian” 余英時對匈奴研究的貢獻 [“Yü Ying-shih’s Contributions to Xiongnu Studies”]. In Hoyt Tillman, ed., Wenhua yu Lishi di Zhuisuo 文化與歷史的追索: 余英時教授八秩壽慶論文集 [In Pursuit of History and Culture: Festschrift for Professor Yü Ying-shih for his Eightieth Birthday ] (Taipei: Lianjing, 2010): 327-37.

2009 “In Memory of Denis Crispin Twitchett.” Asia Major 22.1 (2009): v-vi.

2008 “A Chinese Princess Bride’s Life and Activism Among the Eastern Türks, 580-593 CE.” In Altayistik Konferansi Bildirileri (Ankara: Türk Dil Kurumu, 2007): 463-71.

2007 “Navies in the Mongol Yuan Conquest of Southern Song China, 1274-1279.” Mongolian Studies v. 29 (2007): 207-16.

2007 "The Political and Military Power of Kitan Empress Dowagers." In Veronika Veit, ed., The Role of Women in the Altaic World (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007): 325-35.

2007 "Professor Denis C. Twitchett and His Books" (pamphlet). Taipei: Institute of History and Philology, Academia, 2007.

2006 "From Honoured Mound of Bones to Neglected Mound of Refuse: The Mass Burial Site of AntiMongol Loyalists in Yuqiao Village, Jiangsu Province, China." Chronica: Annual of the Institute of History, Szeged (Hungary), v. 5 (2005):11424.

2005 "Artillery is not Needed to Cross a River: Bayan's Swift Riparian Campaigns Against the Southern Song Chinese, 1274-1276." In B. V. Bazarov et al, eds., Mongol'skaia Imperiia i Kochevoi Mir. Ulan-Ude (Buryatia, Siberia, Russia): Izdatelstvo Buriatskogo Nauchnogo Tsentra SO RAN. ISBN 5-7925-0066-5.

2005 "Nomadic Power, Sedentary Security, and the Crossbow." Acta Orientalia 28.1 (2005): 15-31.

2002 "The Mongol General Bayan and the Massacre of Changzhou, 1275.” Altaica (Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences) 7 (2002):108-21.

2002 "The Northern Frontier," in David Graff and Robin Higham, eds., A Military History of China (Boulder: Westview Press, 2002), 57-79.

2002 "The Screed of a Humbled Empire: The Xin Tangshu's Prolegomena on the Türks." Acta Orientalia 55.4 (2002):379-89.

2001 "What's in a Name: Would a Hsiung-nu by Any Other Name Still be a Hun?" In David B. Honey and David C. Wright, eds., Altaic Affinities: Proceedings of the 40th Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC)

2000 "Mongolian Studies in Ch'ing China (1644-1912)." Mongolica: An International Annual of Mongol Studies 10 (31) (2000):489-94.

1999 "Was Chinggis Khan Literate?” In Juha Janhunen, ed., Writing in the Altaic World (Studia Orientalia 87) (Helsinki: The Finnish Oriental Society, 1999), 305-12.

1998 "The Papers of Professor Francis Woodman Cleaves." Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 28 (1998):284-91.

1998 "The Sung-Kitan War of A.D. 1004-1005 and the Treaty of Shan-yüan." Journal of Asian History 32 (1998): 3-48.

1997 "The Hsiung-nu - Hun Equation Revisited." Eurasian Studies Yearbook 69 (1997):77-112.

1997 "The Death of Chinggis Khan in Mongolian, Chinese, Persian, and European Sources." In Árpád Berta, ed., Historical and Linguistic Interaction Between Inner Asia and Europe (Szeged, Hungary: University of Szeged, 1997), 425-33. Translations published in Elüng Bütügel (Hailar, Inner Mongolia: Nei Menggu Wenhua Chubanshe, 1997), 1-7 (lead article in a book of 606 pages) and Biriyat Ünen (official government newspaper of Biriyatia, Russia), 16 April 1997, p. 6 (full-page feature).

1996 "Parity, Pedigree, and Peace: Routine Sung Diplomatic Missives to the Liao." Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 26 (1996):55-85.

1995 "A Note on Sung Diplomatic Institutions." In Ch'en Chieh-hsien, ed., Ch'ing

chu Cha-ch'i Ssu-ch'in Chiao-shou Pa-shih Shou-ch'en Hsüeh-shu Lun

wen-chi [Festschrift volume for Professor Sechin Jagchid's eightieth birthday],

491-503. Taipei: Lien-ching, 1995.

1994 "Gong Zizhen and His Essay on the 'Western Regions.'" In Edward H. Kaplan and Donald W. Whisenhunt, eds., Opuscula Altaica: Essays Presented in Honor of Henry Schwarz. Bellingham, Washington: Western Washington University, 1994, 655-85.

Other articles and comments (media)

2014 “Rumours of war in East Asia.” iPolitics, 8 December 2014. http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/12/08/the-winds-of-war-are-blowing-in-east-asia

2014 “Seeking Natural Resources.” WWF [World Wildlife Fund] Magazine The Circle, No. 3 (September 2014): Asia in the Arctic http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/circle_0314_asia_web.pdf

2014 “China in the Arctic,” oral interview for Hong Kong radio programme “China Takes Over the World,” hosted and presented by Ying Ma, 26 July 2014. http://programme.rthk.hk/channel/radio/programme.php?name=radio3/china_takes_over&d=2014-07-26&p=6185&e=271141&m=episode

2014 Interviewed by Cameron Frecklington for his article “China Jostles for Pole Position” in China Outlook: Focusing on China’s Future, 13 May 2014


2012 “Looking at the US-Japan Relationship Through Open Eyes.” The Dispatch (Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute), Fall 2012, page 12.

2012 “Wright: There’s Plenty at Stake in Feud Over Asian Islands.” Calgary Herald, 19 September 2012. http://www2.canada.com/opinion/editorials/editorial+superstorm+sandy+shatters+complacency/7485544/story.html?id=7268654&p=2

2012 “Claiming the Arctic: China’s Posturing Becomes Ever Clearer. DefenseNews, 1 July 2012. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120701/DEFFEAT05/307010006/Claiming-Arctic

2012 “Tingshuo Jiantizi…” 聽說簡體字… [On Simplified Chinese Characters…]. Singtao Daily 星島日報, 16 March 2012, 3. http://news.singtao.ca/calgary/2012-03-16/province1331893858d3757357.html

Academic papers and presentations

2014 “Trailing Tibet and Finding Formosa: James Wheeler Davidson's Unintentional Entry into Taiwan Studies, 1895.” Paper read at conference “Blossoming into Mosaics: International Conference on Personal Vicissitudes amid the Encounters of Civilizations and Peoples,” organised and hosted by the Department of History, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, 15 November 2014.

2014 "The White Terror in Taiwan," presentation to the Chinese Communist Party History Teaching and Research Section at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China 中共中央黨校中共黨史教研部, Beijing, China, 4 April 2014. 

2014 “Historical Stages of China’s Interest in Arctic Affairs,” presentation to the Law and Politics School at the Ocean University of China 中國海洋大學法政學院 in Qingdao, Shandong, China, 1 April 2014.

2012 “China’s Arctic Interests,” paper read at the Arctic Order Conference (sponsored by the University of Southern Denmark’s Center for War Studies and the Nordic International Studies Association) in Odense, Denmark, 5 November 2012.

2012 “China and the Arctic,” paper read in Brussels in the Swedish government offices at the Forum for Arctic Climate Change and Security Workshop: Military and Paramilitary Collaboration in the Arctic” (Sponsored by The International Institute for Strategic Studies), 18 October 2012. Précis of paper available at http://www.iiss.org/events-calendar/2012-events-archive/october-2012/military-and-paramilitary-collaboration-in-the-arctic/

2011 “The Logic of China’s Claims to ‘Rights and Interests’ in the Arctic.” Paper read at international conference Canada, U.S. and China Maritime Security Issues: The Arctic and the South China Sea: Sharpened Competition or Collaboration?, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta), 22 September 2011.

2011 "Meanings of Feasting Among the Khitans and Mongols." Paper read at the fifty-fourth annual meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference, Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), 13 July 2011.

2011 “Khubilai Khan’s Approach to Conquering Southern China: A Sino-Mongolian Strategic Synthesis.” Paper read at the Calgary Workshop on the History of Strategy, University of Calgary, 7 July 2011.

2011 “China's 'Rights and Interests' in the Arctic: Original Source Analysis of Chinese-language Academic Journal Articles, 2009-2010."  Paper read at the workshop “Geopolitics of the North Pacific Rim,” Ottawa, Canada, 8-9 April 2011.

2011 Chair and discussant, Panel One, “Defenders and Contenders of Self-Identity in Chinese Historiography,” sponsored by Chinese Historians in the United States, 1 April 2011. (Held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii.)

2011 “The Panda Bear Readies to Meet the Polar Bear: China Debates and Formulates Foreign Policy Towards Arctic Affairs and Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty.” Paper read at Calgary Country Club to the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, Calgary, 9 February 2011. Talk can be heard here: http://www.cdfai.org/MP3/David%20Wright%20Talk%20%289%20Feb%2011%29.mp3

2010 Invited participant, Global Shipping Game, 8-9 December 2010, conducted by the War Gaming Department of the United States Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island.