Elites, Networks and Power in Modern China

Our Team

Christian Henriot (P.I.), Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), historian – Site Virtual Shanghai

Christian Henriot is Professor of modern Chinese history at Aix-Marseille University, a former Junior (1994-1999) and Senior Research Fellow at the Institut Universitaire de France (2007-2012), and the recipient of a Humboldt Research Award (2013). He is the author and editor of many books on modern Chinese history, including Prostitution and Sexuality in Shanghai. A Social History, 1849-1949 (Cambridge UP, 2001), In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Shanghai under Japanese Occupation (Cambridge UP, 2004) and Visualizing China (Brill, 2012), Scythe and the city. A social history of death in Shanghai (1865-1965) (Stanford  UP, 2016) and The population of Shanghai (1865-1953). A source book (Brill, 2018). Henriot is also the creator of a digital research and resource platform on Shanghai history (http://virtualshanghai.net).

Cécile Armand, Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), postdoctoral fellow, historian – Site MadSpace

Cécile Armand is a postdoctoral scholar in History. She recently received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Chiang Ching-kuo Fellowship (2018), following a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University (2017-2018). Armand completed her PhD at ENS Lyon on the spatial history of advertising in modern Shanghai (1905-1949). Her current research investigates the emergence of consumer societies and market cultures in modern China. Her contribution to the project consists in tracing the birth of a new brand of market professionals and experts – both Chinese and foreign, at the intersection of business, advertising, journalism, economic institutions and social sciences. She will examine how these hybrid elites cooperated or competed in shaping market and consumer cultures in modern China. She relies on a wide range of primary sources and the combined use  of various digital technologies (databases, SNA, GIS, textual analysis and machine learning).

Charlotte Aubrun, Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), (M.A. degree in cartography & geomatics, 2011). [2018-2020]


Charlotte Aubrun is a GIS specialist and cartographer. She has contributed to multiple data-oriented research projects involving spatial data.

Jeremy Auguste, Postdoctoral fellow, Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), Computational Linguist

Jeremy Auguste is joining the ENP-China project as a postdoctoral researcher in Natural Language Processing. He completed his PhD in Computer Science at the Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes (LIS) in 2020. Before his PhD, he obtained in 2016 a master’s degree in Fundamental Computer Science at Aix-Marseille Université, with a specialization in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.

Patrice Bellot, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire d’informatique & systèmes (LIS), computer scientist.

Patrice Bellot is Professor of Computer Science at Aix-Marseille University since 2011 and Scientific Representative at CNRS / INS2I in charge of Text and Data Mining. He is currently the scientific director of the OpenEdition Lab which works on text mining for Humanities and Social Sciences and the head of the DIMAG team at the Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes (AMU-CNRS). He obtained his PhD in 2000 and his HDR in 2008. His research topic are artificial intelligence, information retrieval, text mining and natural language processing (sentiment analysis, content-based recommendation, question-answering) based on statistical machine learning approaches. He is co-author of more than 100 publications, member of ACM, IEEE CS, ATALA and vice-president of ARIA, the French scientific society on Information Retrieval

Baptiste Blouin, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire d’informatique & systèmes, Ph.D. candidate

Baptiste has joined the ENP-China projet as a Ph.D. candidate in computing at Aix-Marseille University, with a specialty in A.I. and NLP (Natural Language Processing). He obtained his master degree in artificial intelligence and machine learning in 2019. His research topic is centered on networks between historical events and the persons related to them.

Julie Chiang (蔣慈暉), Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), project coordinator. [2018-2020]

Tsyr Huei (Julie) CHIANG (蔣慈暉), assistant coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus MULTI program (2010-2015). Coming from a business background, she had experiences in logistics and pricing structures while working in Austin, TX (2000-2006). In her free time, she enjoys playing music, badminton, and being a boardgame geek.

Benoît Favre, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire d’informatique & systèmes (LIS), computer scientist

Benoit Favre is currently an Associate Professor at Aix-Marseille University since 2010. He obtained his thesis in Computer Science from University of Avignon in 2007. He was a postdoc at UC Berkeley until 2009 and at University of Le Mans, in France until 2010. He is currently the head of Data Sciences at Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes, and of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning master at the CS department of AMU. His research topics are automatic understanding of natural language with a focus on non canonical language such as spontaneous speech, social media and historical texts. He is interested in building the next generation of machine learning systems for natural language processing. He is co-author of more than 100 publications, member of IEEE SPS, IEEE SLTC, ISCA, AFCP.

Feng Yi, CNRS, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), source analyst & digital designer

Feng YI (馮 藝) is a CNRS (Center National de la Recherche Scientifique) social science engineer who received her education in history at Capital Normal University in Beijing and Lumière-Lyon 2 University (M.A. degree). Feng specialized early in  Chinese historical documentation and sources and contributed to several research projects in modern Chinese history, including innovative research and resource platforms (Taiwan bibliography, Common People and Artist, etc.). She is the editor of Bibliothèque Numérique Asiatique, the digital library of the Institute of Asian Research (IrAsia) and the curator of the Virtual Beijing digital platform. Feng is also involved in designing web interfaces for research (researchers’ blog) and virtual exhibitions. Her most recent project is Everyday life in China, a trilingual virtual exhibition on a rare collection of historical figurines.

Luca GabbianiEcole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), historian

Luca Gabbiani is currently associate professor at the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO, Paris). He has headed the EFEO’s Taipei Center from 2007 to 2011 and the EFEO’s Beijing Center from 2011 to 2016. He presently teaches late imperial Chinese history at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His main fields of research are late imperial China’s urban and legal history. He has published a book on the history of Beijing city management under the Qing dynasty, Pékin à l’ombre du Mandat céleste. Vie quotidienne et gouvernement urbain sous la dynastie Qing (1644-1911) (Paris, Editions de l’Ehess, 2011) and recently edited a volume on Chinese urban history: Urban Life in China, 15th-20th Centuries (Paris, Editions de l’EFEO, 2016).

The Geek. The ENP-China team includes a wild-card joker member. Because he is a little shy, we are refraining from publishing his name and disclosing any picture. The Geek is not a full-time member, but he performs various strategic missions. The Geek is a real geek, never bothered to study computing, but became expert at it, while working on (and receiving) a Ph.D. degree in social sciences. Dr. Geek is thus in command of database development, and web site design for the ENP-China project. He also designed the logo of the project that serves as his avatar picture.

Weiting Guo, Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), postdoctoral fellow, historian 

Weiting Guo is a postdoctoral scholar in history at Aix-Marseille University, previously a Limited-Term Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University (2015–2019) and Lecturer at the University of British Columbia (2013), and the recipient of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2008–2011), Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (2013–2014), and the Center for Chinese Studies in Taiwan (2018–2019). He has published peer-reviewed articles and has co-edited volumes forthcoming: Routledge Companion to Chinese Legal History (Routledge) and Trans-Pacific Fermentations: Taiwan and the Making of America’s Cold War Sinology (Academia Sinica). He is working on his monograph, Justice for the Empire: Summary Execution and Legal Culture in Qing China. He is the Secretary of the International Society for Chinese Law and History (ISCLH).

Anna Herren, University of Zurich, Ph.D. candidate – Twitter account


Anna Herren is a doctoral candidate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where she obtained her M. A. degree in East Asian Art History and Chinese studies in 2016. Her doctoral research proposal was successfully granted by the Swiss National Science Foundation in 2017 and she is currently conducting her PhD project at the Institute of Art History, Section for East Asian Art History at the University of Zurich. Her thesis is centered on visual representation in newspaper photography on China from 1925 to 1949. By focusing on newspaper photographs which were created for an international audience, the works of newly emerging and internationally connected Chinese and foreign elites in journalism and photojournalism will be analyzed beyond eurocentrism. Her project draws on multiple primary sources, including English- and Chinese-language periodicals published in Shanghai , as well as records preserved in major archives in the United States, Europe, and China.

HU Yi-fan 胡依帆, Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), Ph.D. candidate

Hu Yi-Fan is a doctoral student in history at Aix-Marseille University under the supervision of Prof. Christian Henriot. She received her B.A. in French Language and Literature and M.A. in Art Studies from National Central University (Taiwan). She has several years of experience as a part-time research assistant in the fields of history, archaeology and film studies. Her Ph.D. is generously supported by the 4-year fully funded Government scholarship from the Ministry of Education (Taiwan), and her current dissertation project provisionally concerns the history of knowledge production of several global learned societies in the nineteenth- and twentieth- century China, focusing on their multiple aspects of knowledge in various disciplines, as well as thenetwork of the participants who were engaged in these societies.

Jiang Jie 蔣杰, Shanghai Normal University, historian

Jiang Jie is currently associate professor at the School of Humanities, Shanghai Normal University. He received his Ph.D. in history from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. His research field is social history, urban history and the methodologies of digital history. His is co-editor of the journal Studies of the History of French Concession in Shanghai 《上海法租界史研究》(in Chinese, 2016, 2017 and 2019), and executive-editor of  the journal Studies of the Anti-Japanese War in Shanghai《上海抗战研究》(in Chinese, 2019). Recently, he has been working on a project: “How to research history in the digital era”.

Lien Ling-ling 連玲玲, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History, historian

Ling-ling Lien is Associate Research Fellow in the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica. Her research field is social and cultural history in modern China. She recently published the book, Creating a Paradise for Consumption: Department Stores and Modern Urban Culture (in Chinese, IMH, 2017). She is also the editor of the volume All-Seeing Tabloid Newspapers: Modern Chinese Urban Culture, Society and Politics (in Chinese, IMH, 2013) and the journal Research on Women in Modern Chinese History. She is working on two different projects, one on the daily life of Allied civilians interned in occupied China by the Japanese during WWII, and the other concerning how Chinese intellectuals adopted social survey, a scientific methodology of research, to construct women as a new category of knowledge.

Pierre Magistry, Consultant, Computational Linguist

Associate professor, INALCO Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), Computational Linguist [2018-2020]

Pierre Magistry joined the ENP-China project as a postdoctoral researcher in Natural Language Processing in 2018. He moved to a new job in November 2020, but we retain him as a consultant. Pierre was the main architect of the project infrastructure and development of NLP tools tailored for historians.

Pierre has an interest in Sinitic and low resource languages. He completed his PhD in the ALPAGE team (Paris Diderot – INRIA) in 2013 on Chinese Word Segmentation at the interface of linguistic theories and unsupervised machine learning. His experience benefited from multiple stays in Taiwan (2008-2010, 2014, 2016) under research fundings from TIGP (Academia Sinica), Erasmus Mundus Multi and a Taiwan Fellowship. His work on Taiwanese language led him to release the first input method on mobile devices for this language. In 2017-2018, he was a postdoc at LIMSI (CNRS), working on NLP for low resources situation and developing new semi-supervised learning approaches.

Xavier Paulès, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine (CECMC), historian

Xavier Paulès is an associate professor at EHESS in Paris. He was the head of the Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine from 2015 to 2018. His last publications in English include Living on borrowed time. Opium in Canton, 1906-1936, Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, and “An illustration of China’s “paradoxical soft power”: the dissemination of the gambling game fantan 番攤 by the Cantonese diaspora, 1850-1950”, Translocal Chinese: East Asian perspectives, vol. 11, no. 2 (Fall 2017), p. 187-207. Paulès is currently conducting research about the history of gambling in China, with a special interest on the game of fantan 番攤.

Laurent Prévot, Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire Parole et Langage (Dir.), language scientist

Laurent Prévot is a professor in Language Sciences at Aix Marseille Université and the director of Laboratoire Parole et Langage. He is also a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). His specialties are linguistics (in particular semantic and pragmatic questions) and Natural Language Processing. He obtained his PhD (2004) in Computer Science from Toulouse 3 University and worked as post-doc in linguistic and interdisciplinary labs in Italy (Laboratory for Applied Ontology, Trento), France (Syntax and Semantics Research Team CLLE-ERSS, Toulouse 2) and Taiwan (Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica). Since its arrival at AMU (2008), he coordinated an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility program with South East Asia, and had been ‘Humanities and Social Sciences’ Program Manager for France-Taiwan Frontiers of Science. Recently, he has been working on quantitative approaches of conversations and continues to develop a keen interest for Digital Humanities.

David Serfass, Institut national des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, IFRAE, historian

David Serfass is an associate professor in Chinese and East Asian history at Inalco (Paris) and a member of IFRAE (French Research Institute for Eastern Asia). He completed his PhD at EHESS (Paris) on the Wang Jingwei government in occupied China (1940-1945). His current research pertains to civil servants in Republican China (1912-1949) and the evolution of China’s administrative map.

Sun Huei-min 孫慧敏, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History, historian

Sun Huei-min is currently an associate research fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Her research interests include socio-cultural history, legal history, urban history, and the history of education.  She is the author of Institutional Transplantation: The Chinese Lawyers in Republican Shanghai (1912-1937) (in Chinese, published in 2012), and one of the annotators of The Diaries of Pao T’ien-hsiao (1948-1949) (in Chinese, forthcoming). Based on her long-term studies of legal archives, news reports and personal accounts, she has been tracing the impact of housing problems on the lives of Shanghai’s urban population, especially in terms of public order and legal system attempts to regulate rights pertaining to urban properties.

Tseng Chin-Yin 曾慶盈, Dunhuang Academy , historian

Chin-Yin Tseng is a research fellow of the “Digital Dunhuang” Project at Dunhuang Academy. After completing her undergraduate studies at Stanford University in East Asian Studies, she received an MA degree in Regional Studies–East Asia at Harvard University and a DPhil in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. Her dissertation looked at the construct of material cultural expressions in the Northern Wei Pingcheng period (398–494 CE). She had then worked at Peking University as a post-doctoral fellow for three years, looking at the visual narratives applied in the Northern Wei period Mogao Caves of Dunhuang. During this time at Peking University, she had jointly edited two essay volumes: Approaching the East 《认识东方学 and Exploring the East 《探索东方学. Her current research focus is on the history of the Sino-Swedish Scientific Expedition to the North-Western Provinces of China (1927–1935), working in collaboration with the Sven Hedin Foundation and Northwest Normal University. She also serves as adjunct professor at Chengdu Textile College and research fellow of the Institute for Ancient Civilizations at Peking University.

Nora Van den Bosch,  Aix-Marseille University, Institut de recherches asiatiques (Irasia), Data scientist

Nora Van den Bosch studied sinology at KU Leuven in Belgium. After finishing her Master in 2018, she went on to follow the one-year program of Digital Humanities at the same university. During that time, she developed a great interest in applying digital techniques for historical research ends. For her thesis she used data visualization to study the geographical distribution of ‘printing churches’ of Catholic missionaries in the seventeenth- and eighteenth century. At the moment, she works as a data scientist for the ENP project.

Katrine Wong, Lumière-Lyon 2 University, postdoctoral fellow

Katrine Wong received her Ph.D. degree in history (November 2019)  at  Lumière Lyon 2 University. Her dissertation explored the life of Wang Xiaolai ( 王曉籟 1887-1967), elite merchant and emblematic figure of Republican Shanghai. The thesis traced Wang’s personal and public trajectory  from a  young first-degree imperial xiucai ( 秀才 ) scholar in his native Shengxian (嵊縣) to a leading Republican Shanghai elite merchant. The thesis investigated  how Wang’s multiple pivotal roles stood embedded at the very heart of the social, financial, industrial, merchant and business networks of Shanghai. The dissertation is the first documented study of this foremost individual of early twentieth century China, and thereby offers a contribution to the lean repertoire of Republican Shanghai biographies.

Wu Jen-shu 巫仁恕, Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History, historian

Wu Jen-shu, (Ph.D., 1996) is a research fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He has published several articles and monographs on the social, economic, and cultural history of the Ming and Qing dynasties, including Taste and Extravagance: Late Ming Consumer Society and the Gentry (Taipei, 2007); Good Citizens Turning Rebels: An Analysis of Urban Mass Collective Actions in Traditional China (Beijing, 2011); and Urban Pleasures: Leisure Consumption and Spatial Transformation in Jiangnan Cities during the Ming-Qing Period (Taipei, 2013); and The “Paradise” after Disaster: City Life of Suzhou during the Period of the Anti-Japanese War (Taipei, 2017). He is working on two different projects, one on women’s life in Suzhou city under Japanese occupation during W.W.II, and the other on local consumption and social change in 19th-century China.