Quinnipiac University
Larissa Noelle Pitts

Assistant Professor of History

Larissa Pitts is an assistant professor in the Department of History. Though she specializes in the history of Modern China, she also teaches courses in East and Southeast Asian History, as well as world history. Prof. Pitts’ classes ask students to engage with the world from the perspective of East and Southeast Asians in order to think critically about the world that was created in the twentieth century. She pays particular attention to the histories of colonialism, nationalism, communism, and the environment in her teaching.
Prof. Pitts’ current research focuses on the history of Arbor Day in Republican China (1911 – 1949). She argues that Republican governments invented their own versions of modern environmentalism centered around Arbor Day tree-planting projects. This modern Chinese environmentalism was used in an attempt to solidify political authority, improve China’s image abroad, as well as resolve ecological and timber supply crises.


  • MA, University of California Berkeley
  • PHD, University of California Berkeley


  • History

Office Location

  • College of Arts & Sciences 1 M1-107

Mail Drop

  • CL-AC1


Austin College

ASIANetwork-Luce Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Asian Studies

Sherman, TX

2017 - 2019

University of California, Berkeley

PhD Student in History, East Asia: China

Berkeley, CA

2010 - 2017

Mount Holyoke College

BA Student in Asian Studies

South Hadley, MA

2005 - 2009

Selected Publications

Conference Presentation

Planting National Trees in the Borderlands: The Ecological Impact of Republican National Forestry Policy on Jilin Province

Pitts, Larissa

Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, Association for Asian Studies (2022)

Invited Speaker

Inventing Modern Environmentalism: Arbor Day in Republican China

Pitts, Larissa

West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University (2022)

Invited Speaker

Feminism in WWII-Era China

Pitts, Larissa

International Women's Day Teach-In, Hamden, CT, Quinnipiac University (2022)

Conference Presentation

Teaching 21st-Century Historical Thinkers

Pitts, Larissa

Teaching History Writing Conference, New York, NY, CUNY (2021)

Book review

Review of Miller, Ian Matthew, Fir and Empire: The Transformation of Forests in Early Modern China

Pitts, Larissa

H-Net Environment May (2021)

Peer Reviewed Journal

Unity in the trees: Arbor Day and Republican China, 1915 - 1927

Pitts, Larissa

13(2) Journal of Modern Chinese History 296 - 318 Fall (2019)

Faculty Workshop

The Abortive Forest Law of 1914: Russian Timber Merchants, Chinese ‘Traitors,’ and the Collapse of Modern Chinese Environmental Law

Pitts, Larissa

American Society for Legal History Pre-Conference Workshop on Law and Empire in Sino-Asian History, Cambridge, MA (2019)