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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Emeritus Senior Lecturer in Modern Chinese Literature
East Asian Studies
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In 1968, I decided to study Chinese at Leeds University for my undergraduate degree because Leeds had an area studies programme designed to provide training in Chinese and a discipline, taken as a minor subject. I was interested in the divergent political and economic paths taken by China and India, and wanted to understand as much as possible about China. I took sociology as my minor.  In 1974 I graduated with an MPhil in Politics with special reference to China from SOAS. I then applied at the Chinese Embassy for a two-year job teaching English—one of the few ways of getting to China at the time—and was sent to Shanghai in August 1975. The next two years were demanding and engrossing, as they were divided in 1976 by Mao’s death and the arrest of radical leaders with their political base in Shanghai, bringing to an end the Cultural Revolution. I lived and worked in Hong Kong between 1977 and 1982, followed by 18 months in India. In 1985 I began graduate studies at the University of Chicago, specializing in literature, as it now seemed to me that literature offered richer insights into issues such as authority, tradition and so on, than political science. I spent 1991-93 in Taiwan, and then moved back to the UK. After a short stint teaching at the University of Westminster, I came to Cambridge in 1995. 

Educational Details
1973 BA in Chinese Studies, University of Leeds
1974 M.Sc in Politics with special reference to China, SOAS
1986 MA in Chinese Literature, University of Chicago
1993 PhD University of Chicago

Research Interests

20th century Chinese literature; the modern Chinese essay; Chinese literary aesthetics; Zhou Zuoren; modernity, nation and identity;  intellectual discourses in modern China; the literary field in Republican China; Republican journal publishing; Chinese film