Yan Gao is a historian of late imperial and modern China. Originally studied World History in China, she went to Carnegie Mellon University for doctoral studies and has been working at the juncture of social and environmental history. Her main areas of interest include water management in Central China, the history of the Yangzi and the Han Rivers, and the relationship between water and society from a comparative and global perspective. She also delves into thematic topics, such as ethnicity and environment, and war and the environment. She is a global educator and taught in Qatar, Bangladesh and Memphis, Tennessee.