Modern History and Chinese Studies
I am writing a series of books on the history and contemporary implications of Chinese consumerism. The latest is As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything. Written for the general public, As China Goes explores the wide-ranging ramifications of China's shift toward a market economy over the past thirty years, showing how China's rapid development of a consumer culture is revolutionizing the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese and is re-shaping the world. The book reveals why we should all care about the everyday choices made by ordinary Chinese and the deeper consequences of their seemingly small changes in lifestyles. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as "Nuanced, balanced and accessible — essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of China today."
My first book, China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation, examines the connections between nationalism and consumerism in China in the first half of the twentieth century. In addition, I have published and presented papers on comparative aspects of modern Chinese and world history, including "China and the Global Economy," "Consumption and Consumerism in East Asia," "The Origins and Implications of Chinese Brand Nationalism," and "The Ecological Implications of Chinese Consumerism." I have received numerous awards to support his research including from the Fulbright Foundation, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Blakemore Foundation, and the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbusho) Scholarship for two years of study at Tokyo University.
With support from the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, I am currently researching two book projects. Most immediately, I am writing a book conceptualizing consumerism across twentieth-century China by addressing two related questions: How has the introduction and spread of consumerism dramatically altered everyday life in China over the past 100-plus years? And: How has the waxing and waning of Chinese consumerism shaped the modern world? A second book project uses archival materials, periodicals, memoirs, and interviews conducted in China to investigate the impact of the Chinese Communist Party's radical social policies on everyday life in the nation's urban centers during the 1950s.
A Fellow & Tutor at Merton College and the University Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Oxford, I grew up in Chicago and have conducted research in China and Japan for over twenty-five years. After receiving my PhD from Harvard in 2000, I taught at the University of South Carolina until moving to Oxford in 2007. I have recently taken up competitive rowing.
I teach modern global and Chinese/East Asian history, with special interests in consumerism, nationalism, environmentalism, and everyday life under communism. I also teach the Further Subject, "China in War and Revolution, 1890-1949." I supervise graduate students working on modern Chinese political, social, and cultural history since 1800.