From Dissertation to Book

From Dissertation to Book: An AAS Digital Dialogues Series

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Registration for these AAS Digital Dialogues is an AAS member benefit — to join or renew your membership, please log in at our online portal.

All sessions will be recorded and posted for later viewing.

Session I: Getting Started After You’ve Finished – Wednesday, October 26, 7pm ET

Congratulations, you’ve finished your dissertation! What once seemed like an impossible project is now complete … except, not really. In many fields, the next step is to take that dissertation and turn it into a book. When do you start? Where do you start? From whom should you seek out advice? When and how do you find a publisher—or is it too early to think about that? The panelists in this AAS Digital Dialogue session will discuss the very beginning of the dissertation-to-book process, sharing their thoughts and recommendations on how to get started on this undertaking.

Session Participants

Seiji Shirane, Assistant Professor of History at City College of New York, author of Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan’s Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895–1945 (Cornell University Press, December 2022)

Gina Anne Tam, Associate Professor of History at Trinity University, author of Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Sonja Thomas, Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Colby College, author of Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India (University of Washington Press, 2018)

Xin Wen, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University, author of The King’s Road: Diplomacy and the Remaking of the Silk Road (Princeton University Press, forthcoming)

Requires AAS member login to access


Session II: Filling in the Gaps – Wednesday, November 2, 7pm ET

Chances are, your dissertation is finished but there’s more work to be done. You likely have additional archives to visit, people to interview, or surveys to conduct. Maybe you want to add an entirely new chapter or need to address a recent development. How does this round of research differ from the previous one? How can you maximize your time and resources when both are in short supply? The panelists in this AAS Digital Dialogue session will focus on the research element of the dissertation-to-book process, providing their advice on how to carry out this work while not getting bogged down in it.

Session Participants

Michael Dwyer, Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University, author of Upland Geopolitics: Postwar Laos and the Global Land Rush (University of Washington Press, 2022)

Yige Dong, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Buffalo, author of The Fabric of Care: Women’s Work and the Politics of Livelihood in Industrial China (manuscript in process)

David Mozina, Scholar of local Daoism and Buddhism in contemporary and late imperial China, author of Knotting the Banner: Ritual and Relationship in Daoist Practice (University of Hawai‘i Press; Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2021). 

Requires AAS member login to access


Session III: Writing, Workshopping, and Revising Your New Manuscript – Wednesday, November 9, 7pm ET

What are the changes that you should make in the process of turning a dissertation into book manuscript? Should you change the structure or tone of your work? How can writing groups, invited talks, and book workshops all help you produce a draft that’s ready for submission? When do you stop writing and re-writing? This AAS Digital Dialogue session will look at the stage of the process where we work solo but benefit the most from collaboration and exchange.

Session Participants

Megan Bryson, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at University of Tennessee Knoxville, author of Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China (Stanford University Press, 2016)

Arunabh Ghosh, Associate Professor of History at Harvard University, author of Making It Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Kelly Hammond, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of International and Global Studies at University of Arkansas, author of China’s Muslims and Japan’s Empire: Centering Islam in World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2020)

Christian C. Lentz, Associate Professor of Geography at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, author of Contested Territory: Dien Bien Phu and the Making of Northwest Vietnam (Yale University Press, 2019)

Requires AAS member login to access


Session IV: From Final Draft to Finished Book – Wednesday, November 16, 7pm ET

Congratulations—again! You’ve revised your finished dissertation into a book manuscript. What happens now? What will a publisher expect you to do, and what will they take care of? How do you secure image permissions, and who compiles the index? Panelists in this AAS Digital Dialogue session will walk attendees through the publication process, from proposal to peer review to page proofs.

Session Participants

Jenna Grant, Associate Professor of Anthropology at University of Washington, author of Fixing the Image: Ultrasound and the Visuality of Care in Phnom Penh (University of Washington Press, 2022)

Yajun Mo, Associate Professor of History at Boston College, author of Touring China: A History of Travel Culture, 1912–1949 (Cornell University Press, 2021)

Chien-Wen Kung, Assistant Professor of History at National University of Singapore, author of Diasporic Cold Warriors: Nationalist China, Anticommunism, and the Philippine Chinese, 1930s–1970s (Cornell University Press, 2022)

Registration for this session has ended