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Bill Moriarty

Bill Moriarty

PhD Student in Chinese Studies


I am an American from Indiana and have lived in mainland China, Taipei and Hong Kong for most of my adult life. I also am a longtime student of Chinese history, language and culture. I began the study of Chinese language at Purdue University as an undergraduate in the fall of 1989. I continued language studies at Taiwan Normal University's Mandarin Training Center in the early 1990s and completed an MA in Chinese Studies at Indiana University in 1997. Along the way, I worked as a bilingual copywriter at International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) and served as Chinese school coordinator at Indiana University's East Asian Summer Language Insitute (EASLI).

I then pursued a career in business after completing an MS in Management at Purdue University in 1999 and moved to Beijing in 2000 to begin a career in professional sports management, where I worked with domestic sports leagues, international sporting events, and American sports and entertainment properties.

After living in mainland China for twelve years, our family moved to Hong Kong in 2012 and I had the opportunity to return to academia, which is where I have always wanted to be. I began teaching Chinese studies at a small liberal arts college in 2013. While there, I taught courses in modern Chinese history, economic development, regional development, the business environment, and a capstone course on China's emerging role in the world. This three-year teaching experience renewed my interest in late imperial and modern Chinese history and has finally brought me to Cambridge to pursue a PhD in Chinese Studies.

BA (Political Science) Purdue University
MA (East Asian Studies) Indiana University
MS (Management) Purdue University

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

Current Research

The Voice of the Party-State: KMT Radio in Republican China, 1928–1949

I am interested in the social, cultural and institutional history of KMT radio broadcasting in Republican China from 1928–1949. I am looking at radio as a symbol and its importance to the KMT at precise points of time in the Republican period. I am particularly interested in KMT conceptualizations of radio as a tool of governance and as a tool to awaken China to its destiny of modern citizenship. 


MA Thesis

Whence the "Duck King"?: The Background and Course of the Zhu Yigui Rebellion

The Zhu Yigui rebellion was an anti-Qing uprising that occurred in Taiwan in 1721, the last year of the Kangxi emperor’s reign. The rebellion was significant because it was a watershed that reflected chronic problems in Qing governance on Taiwan and led to important reforms on the island after 1722.

My thesis addresses disagreement within the body of scholarship concerning the origin of the rebellion: traditional Chinese historians attribute its origin to religious secret societies and ethnic nationalism, while Western historians discount the traditional interpretation and focus on economic motivations. I argue that a synthesis of the two standpoints is necessary because economic, ethnic and religious factors were all causes of the Zhu Yigui rebellion.

Using both primary and secondary sources, my thesis demonstrates that the nature of bureaucratic institutions, frontier administration, commercial expansion and official corruption were partial causes of the event. At the same time, it also demonstrates the importance of myth, legend, religion and brotherhood activity in the local tradition that formed the ideological and organizational cornerstones of the Zhu Yigui rebellion.