Picture of Mirela David

Mirela David Ph.D New York University, M.A. University of Tuebingen, M.A./B.A. University of Bucharest

Associate Professor Modern Chinese History/ Women and Gender Studies

Faculty Member in History
Faculty Member in Women's and Gender Studies

Arts 608

Research Area(s)

  • Modern Chinese history
  • Eugenics in praxis, particularly birth control praxis and venereal disease policies in 1930s China
  • how different ideas pertaining to eugenics insert themselves by means of translation into other debates on love, birth control, population and sexology in 1920s Chinese women's magazines
  • Medical history
  • Gender history
  • Chinese cinema
  • #Me Too in China

About me

My research is situated at the intersection of Modern Chinese history, gender history, intellectual and cultural history and medical history. I am interested in different forms of eugenics in praxis, in particular birth control praxis and venereal disease policies in 1930s China. I am also interested how different ideas pertaining to eugenics insert themselves by means of translation into other debates on love, birth control, population and sexology in 1920s Chinese women's magazines. 


Book Review, "Merry Laughter and Angry Curses: The Shanghai Tabloid Press, 1897-1911 by Juan Wang," Canadian Journal of History 50(02), 392-394.



Selection of Publications (by Year)

  • David, M. "Hooligan Sparrow: Representation of sexual assault in Chinese cinema, feminist activism and the limits of #Me Too in China". Asian Cinema In Press
  • David, M. "#Me Too in Postsocialist Countries: a Comparative Analysis of Romanian and Chinese Feminist Activism against Sexual Violence" In The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of the #MeToo Movement, edited by Chandra Giti and Irma Erlingsdottir. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2020.
  • David, M. "Individualism, Free Love, and Eugenics in 1920s China" In Power and Pleasure: Writing the History of Sexuality in China, edited by Howard Chiang. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018.
  • David, M. "Female Gynecologists and their Birth Control Clinics: Eugenics in Practice in 1920s-1930s". Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 35, 1 (2018): 32-62.
  • David, M. "Socialist Population Control Strategies: The Ideology and Implementation of Birth Planning in the PRC and the Repressive Romanian Pronatalist Policies" In A festschrift for Florentina Visan, edited by Luminita Balan, Mugur Zlotea, 151-178. Bucuresti: Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti, 2017.
  • David, M. "The Task Is Hers”: Going Global, Margaret Sanger’s Visit to China in 1922.". Asia Pacific Perspectives 14, 1 (2016)

Teaching & Supervision

20th Century China 5th generation directors Assisted reproductive technologies Gender roles Hu Jie Jia Zhanke Liang Qichao Malthusianism Margaret Sanger Modern Chinese history Neo-Malthusianism Qing Dynasty The Cultural Revolution The Great Leap Forward The New Life Movement Tian Anmen Zhang Yimou agency and subjectivity anti-racist pedagogy birth control disability eugenics feminist theory footbinding gender gender history gender performativity globalization history of medicine history of sexuality imperialism intellectual history masculinity and femininity migrant workers nationalism patriarchy population control postcolonial theory queer theory representation reproduction resistance sex work sexology sexual violence sexuality the body the new documentary movement the subaltern venereal disease women rights

 Hist 404.3 Chinese Feminism and Chinese Women’s Experiences in Historical  Context

Hist 387.02 Eugenics, birth control and venereal disease in Republican China and the global context

Hist 286.01 Modern China: from the Qing Dynasty to the present

Hist 135.02 History Matters: Sex and population control 

HIST 899.01 – Special Topics: East Asian History (Ph.D Field)

WGST 210.02 Gendered Perspectives on Current Events in Chinese Cinema

WGST 112.03 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies 


20th Century China China Eugenics One Child policy birth control culture gender gender history hygiene intellectual history medical history population sex venereal disease

Education & Training

Ph.D in East Asian History,  New York University 

M.A. in Sinology Ruprecht Karls University of Tübingen

M.A. in Asian Studies University of Bucharest

B.A. in Chinese Language and Literatures/German Language and Literatures University of Bucharest

Partial Chinese  Language Studies Fudan University Ices International Cultural Exchange School 2003-2005

Awards & Honours

  • New York University Departmental Travel Summer Award, awarded by New York University CHN August 2014-August 2014
  • New York University GSAS Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in History, awarded by New York University GSAS USA September 2013-May 2014
  • New York University Provost Global Research Initiative Fellowship at NYU Shanghai, awarded by New York University Provost Office CHN March 2013-May 2014
  • GSAS Mainzer Fellowship, awarded by New York University GSAS CHN July 2011-August 2011
  • Henry H. MacCracken Five-year Fellowship, awarded by New York University USA September 2008-May 2012
  • DAAD, awarded by DAAD DEU September 2006-August 2008
  • Bilateral scholarship for partial studies in Chinese, awarded by Romanian government and Chinese government CHN August 2003-August 2014