Rachel  Chua

Rachel Chua

Guest Teacher

Department of International History

Room No
SAR M.15
Office Hours
Thursday, 4pm - 5pm
Connect with me

Cantonese, English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Gender History, History of China, History of Science and Race

About me

Rachel is a Senior Postgraduate Teaching Assistant and Graduate Teaching Assistant at UCL and LSE respectively. She is currently under the doctoral supervision of Dr Lily Chang at UCL and holds a LLB in Laws (2015) and MSc in Empires, Colonialism, and Globalisation (2018) from the LSE. She has most recently undertaken archival fieldwork at the Asian Library at Leiden University, the Netherlands, with the support of a UCL research grant. She has also previously served as ARB Spring Research Scholar at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri with the university’s Bernard Becker Medical Library. In 2019, she was a Visiting Tutor at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan ROC.

Rachel’s work situates itself at the intersection of science, intellectual networks, and empire in late imperial China, stretching broadly into the early Republican period. Her research explores the ways in which paradigms around modern education shaped and altered relationships in the emerging new Academy, their Western counterparts, and served to catalyse the dominance of scientised intellectuals as China’s new ruling elite. Her work utilises a vast array of sources in both English and Mandarin Chinese, including missionary records, newspapers, periodicals, personal papers, and institutional documentation.

In academia-adjacent roles, she served as a member of the Women's History Network (WHN) Steering Committee and was Convenor of the Women's History Network's Seminar Series from 2021 to 2023. Other roles include sitting on both the Undergraduate and MA Dissertation Prize Panels with the WHN, and serving as invitational Panel Chair for the 2022 History, Politics, and Law Forum organised by UCL Laws.

Recent academic work includes a research guide, published in collaboration with Adam Matthew Digital (Sage Publishing), on working with Church missionary sources. Other work has analysed the historical narratives of travel writing, focusing on the travelogues of Euro-American women travelling through the Qing empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has previously worked as a lawyer and is very interested in all forms of socio-legal history, gender history, and decolonisation discourses.

Expertise Details

History of Late Qing and Early Republican China; History of Science; History of Medicine; Women's History; History of Race and Empire; Reproductive History


  • UCL Fieldwork Research Grant (2022, 2023)
  • ARB Spring Scholar, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St Louis (2022)
  • Royal Historical Society Adam Matthew Digital Collections Award (2020)




  • “Review: Cassia Roth, A Miscarriage of Justice: Women’s Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2020. £23.45, 978-1-5036-1132-0 (paperback), pp.386”, Women’s History Today, forthcoming.
  • “How to (Be) Mother: Motherhood in Late Imperial China”, EPOCH Journal, University of Lancaster, 11(2023).
  • “Review: Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci, Contraceptive Diplomacy: Reproductive Politics and Imperial Ambitions in the United States and Japan, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2018. £21.27, 978-1-5036-0440-7 (paperback), pp. xv + 318", Women's History Today, 3:3 (2022), 51-2.
  • Using Church and Missionary Records as a Primary Source: A Case Study of the 1924 Annual Report of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society”, in Research Methods Primary Sources (Marlborough: Adam Matthew Digital, 2021)


Rachel Chua teaches the following courses at undergraduate level:

HY235 - Modernity and the State in East Asia: China, Japan and Korea since 1840