Yalie Luke Habberstad has China on his mind

The Terracotta Army Pit in China, pictured above in a photograph by Maros Mraz uploaded to Wikipedia, was one of the inspirations that led Luke Habberstad to his current work as an early Chinese studies assistant professor at the University of Oregon. Pictured in the inset phtograph is a terracotta soldier and his horse, photographed by Robin Chen. The figures are funerary art buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

The Dalles native Luke Habberstad believes much of what happens in our lives is dictated by chance. And so it was that an eye-opening course he decided to take in his last semester of college propelled him on his eventual career path. Today, he’s an assistant professor of early Chinese studies at the University of Oregon.

Graduating from The Dalles High School in 1999, he headed for Yale. There, he changed direction a few times, casting about for a major.

He finally settled on history, having always felt its pull, but focused on other areas of the globe like Europe and South America. His senior thesis was on Mexican history.

But during spring semester of his senior year, he took a history class on the Silk Road.