Elites, Networks and Power in Modern China

Chih-wen Kuo
Chih-wen Kuo is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied History at National Chiayi University in Taiwan. He holds a Ph.D. in Sinology from Heidelberg University in Germany. His area of expertise is centered on the study of modern Chinese history, with a specific focus on the missionaries, newspapers, and Western learning in the late Qing era. In addition to his expertise in modern Chinese history, he is also interested in the field of transcultural studies, and the integration of digital technology and programming languages in the field of humanities.
Thomas M Larkin
My core research interests concern transnational and transimperial histories, the history of Sino-Western interaction, and colonial society and culture. I am especially drawn to experimenting with and promoting global-microhistorical methods. Through these core interests my research considers the ways ideas about race, gender, culture, and national identity solidified or transformed within colonial and semi-colonial spaces. My dissertation focused on Anglo-American relations in nineteenth-century China, and how competition and collaboration between the British, Americans, and Chinese influenced the development of Hong Kong society. I am currently revising this work for publication as well as pursuing further projects that emphasize the global social, cultural, and commercial networks linking America to China and to the British imperial world. I am also generally interested in promoting the use of public-access tools for historical learning and in exploring the applications of digital humanities tools within qualitative research. I am currently developing my 'Mapping American Socio-Commercial Networks & Mobility in Nineteenth-Century China' project with the support of a British Academy Talent Development Award. Until April 2021 I also oversaw the social-media side of the Historical Photographs of China project (hpcbristol).
Thorben Pelzer
Dr.Thorben Pelzer works as a sinologist in the interdisciplinary Research Center Global Dynamics. Previously, he was a research fellow in the Department of Society and Culture of Modern China. He completed his studies in Sinology, Japanese Studies and East Asian Studies at the Ruhr University in Bochum. He also studied at Osaka University, at Tongji University in Shanghai and at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. He is an alumnus of the German National Academic Foundation. As a social and cultural historian of the Republic of China, he researches engineering, technology and infrastructure, and is interested in digital research methods.
Robert Bickers
Writer and historian, author of China Bound: John Swire & Sons and its World, 1816-1980 (Bloomsbury), Out of China: How the Chinese ended the era of foreign domination (Penguin & Harvard University Press), Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai (Penguin) and The Scramble for China: Foreign devils in the Qing empire, 1832-1914 (Penguin). Robert Bickers was born in Wiltshire, and lived on Royal Air Force bases across England, in Germany and in Hong Kong. He studied in London, and held fellowships in Oxford and Cambridge before taking up a post at the University of Bristol in 1997, where he is now a Professor of History.
Benjamin Bach
Benjamin is a Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization at the University of Edinburgh. His research designs and investigates interactive information visualization interfaces to help people explore, communicate, and understand data. Research interests:
  • Network Visualization
  • Visualization of spatio-temporal data
  • Data-driven storytelling
  • Visualization in Augmented and Virtual Reality (Immersive Analytics)
  • Non-digital visualization
  • Teaching and learning visualization
  Before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2017, Benjamin worked as a postdoc at Harvard University (Visual Computing Group), Monash University, as well as the Microsoft-Research Inria Joint Centre. Benjamin was visiting researcher at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research in 2015. He obtained his PhD in 2014 from the Université Paris Sud where he worked at the Aviz Group at Inria. The PhD thesis entitled Connections, Changes, and Cubes: Unfolding Dynamic Networks for Visual Exploration got awarded an honorable mention as the Best Thesis by the IEEE Visualization Committee.
Brett Sheehan
Brett Sheehan is professor of Chinese history and director of the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley in 1997. He is the author of Trust in Troubled Times: Money, Banking and State-Society Relations in Republican Tianjin, 1916-1937 (Harvard University Press, 2003) Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision (Harvard University Press, 2015), and numerous articles and book chapters.
Marilyn Levine
Marilyn Levine was trained as a historian of Asia, with graduate degrees from the University of Chicago in modern Chinese History and the University of Hawaii in Vietnamese History. She has published two books, over four dozen articles, and created a dozen Web sites for research, teaching, professional, and community service. Dr. Levine’s research interests have focused on Chinese political party formation in Europe during the 1920’s and exploring new approaches to the field of life history. She published The Found Generation: Chinese Communists in Europe during the Twenties (University of Washington Press, 1993), and with Chen San-ching, The Chinese Guomindang in Europe: A Sourcebook of Documents (Institute for East Asian Studies, Center for Chinese Studies Monograph, 2000). She has delivered over 175 presentations, workshops and public speeches, and organized two international conferences. Levine’s online Chinese Biographical Database (CBD) project [1998-2006] was the first online, scholarly moderated database on the Worldwide Web. In 2018 the CBD has been revised, and several datasets have been used in national and international presentations. Another research endeavor is the Chinese Conversations Project, based on interviews conducted in 1985 and 1990 in China with several Chinese who went to France in the 1920’s, as well as numerous scholars of the Chinese Communist Party. More in-depth information on current research is available here.
Marc Matten
Prof. Matten is a distinguished scholar who specializes on modern China. He received his training in Chinese studies at Bonn University (Ph.D., 2007). His work focused on the establishment of a national identity in China at the beginning of the 20th century (Harrassowitz-Verlag, 2009). Prof. Matten has made extended research stays in China (1999-2000), in Japan 2001-02, 2004-06), and in Taiwan (2008-09), before teaching at Leiden University, then in 2009 taking up the chair of sinological studies at Erlangen University in the Institute of languages and cultures of the Near East and East Asia. His research interests reach beyond China. His most recent book publications include a research monograph, Imagining a Postnational World — Hegemony and Space in Modern China (Brill, 2016) and an edited volume, Places of Memory in Modern China – History, Politics, Identity (Brill, 2011). He has published extensively in international academic journals. in 2018, Prof. Matten was the recipient of a DFG project (2018-21) on “Production and consumption of authenticity – Politics of the past in the culture and creative industries in the sinophone realm”. Just before coming to Aix, he also learned that the Volkswagen Foundation had selected his ambitious new seven-year project about Chinese history books and their translation.