Mu Cao

Membership:  2016/2017

Member Bio

Mu Cao is a Chinese historian whose research interest is in Chinese environmental history, and urban environmental history in particular. She previously carried out research on river pollution in Northeast China, during which she noticed the severe water problems in Chinese cities and their influence on the neighboring environment. It was then that her focus turned to urban environmental history. Her recent works focus on the problems associated with the use and discharge of urban water. She aims to explore modernization processes in Chinese cities and their influence on water issues, as well as the relationship among human beings, the city, and nature. Her project at the Rachel Carson Center addresses the changing water supply and drainage system of modern Tianjin. Mu obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2007, her master’s degree in 2010, and doctorate in History in 2015 from Nankai University. She also studied environmental history at the University of Kansas from 2011 to 2012. She currently works as a lecturer in the College of History and Culture at Tianjin Normal University.


  • “The Industrialization Influence on the Songhua River Basin in the Mid–late Twentieth Century.” In Modern Chinese Social Changes and the New Pattern of East Asia, edited by Shigeo Nishimura and Xu Weidong, 135–150. Tokyo: Kyuko Seowon, 2008. (Published in Japanese, translated by Akiko Ozu)
  • “The Industrial Water Supply of Tianjin and the Change of Shuifu and Shuipu in Modern Times.” History Teaching 18, no. 9 (2015): 48–53.
  • “The Public Lavatory of Tianjin: A Change of Urban Faeces Disposal in the Process of Modernisation.” Global Environmental History 9, no. 1 (2016): 196–218.