Donald S. Sutton-Center for the Arts in Society - Carnegie Mellon University

Donald S. Sutton

Professor, History

Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: BH 242B
Phone: 412.268.5024


Donald Sutton is a China historian working at the juncture of history and anthropology. Besides early studies of the origins of 20th century warlordism, he has mostly focused on ritual or folk religion, seen in a variety of contexts. This strand of research has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Taiwan National Endowment for Culture and the Arts, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the Joint Committee on Chinese Studies of the ACLS and SSRC, and St John’s College, Cambridge. He has published in books and articles on two subfields: religious and social change in 20th century Taiwan, and late imperial social relations explored through religion, and is collecting some of the articles for a book on ritual in Chinese societies.

A second double strand of current research, again combining history with fieldwork, explores ethnicity and religion in two remote areas: West Hunan and the Tibetan borderlands. The borderland project is conducted jointly with the historian Xiaofei Kang (since 2006 in the Department of Modern Languages) at and near a World Heritage site, with the support of collaborative summer grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Their book will cast light on ethnicity, religious practice, tourism and environmentalism, all of which intersect and contend in this region. Preliminary results have been presented in forums in Beijing, Kunming, Singapore, Oxford, Chicago and Philadelphia.