• Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government; former Director of the Fairbank Center
  • eperry@gov.harvard.edu
  • http://scholar.harvard.edu/eperry/home
  • Harvard-Yenching Institute | 2 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge, MA 02138

Research interests: popular protest and grassroots politics in modern and contemporary China, including adaptive governance in China, the Chinese conception of rights and citizenship, Chinese labor relations, and the political economy of reform era China.

Elizabeth J. Perry is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. She is a comparativist with special expertise in the politics of China. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, she sits on the editorial boards of nearly a dozen major scholarly journals and has served as the President of the Association for Asian Studies.

Professor Perry's research focuses on popular protest and grassroots politics in modern and contemporary China. Her books include Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945 (1980); Chinese Perspectives on the Nien Rebellion (1981); The Political Economy of Reform in Post-Mao China (1985); Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China (1992); Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Chinese Cities (1995); Putting Class in Its Place: Worker Identities in East Asia (1996); Proletarian Power: Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution (1997); Danwei: The Changing Chinese Workplace in Historical and Comparative Perspective (1997); Chinese Society: Change, Conflict, and Resistance (2000); Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Social Protest and State Power in China (2002); Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China (2002); Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citizenship and the Modern Chinese State (2006); Grassroots Political Reform in Contemporary China (2007); and Mao's Invisble Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China (2011). Her book, Shanghai on Strike: the Politics of Chinese Labor (1993) won the John King Fairbank prize from the American Historical Association.

Chinese Name: 裴宜理



Elizabeth J. Perry. Forthcoming. “Cultural Governance in Contemporary China: ‘Re-Orienting’ Party Propaganda.” In TO GOVERN CHINA: EVOLVING PRACTICES OF POWER (Vivienne Shue and Patricia Thornton, eds.). Cambridge University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. Forthcoming. “Is the Chinese Communist Regime Legitimate?.” In THE CHINA QUESTIONS (Michael Szonyi and Jennifer Rudolph, eds.). Harvard University Press. Article
Co-edited with Prasenjit Duara. Forthcoming. BEYOND REGIMES: CHINA AND INDIA COMPARED. Harvard University Press.

Co-authored with Devesh Kapur. Forthcoming. “Higher Education Reform in China and India: The Role of the State.” In BEYOND REGIMES: CHINA AND INDIA COMPARED (Prasenjit Duara and Elizabeth J. Perry, eds.). Harvard University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 6/2016. “The Promise of PRC History.” JOURNAL OF MODERN CHINESE HISTORY, 10, 1.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 11/2015. “Narrating the Past to Interpret the Present (interview with Lu Hanchao).” THE CHINESE HISTORICAL REVIEW, Pp. 160-173.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 11/2015. “The Populist Dream of Chinese Democracy.” JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 8/2015. “Reflecting on Anyuan.” THE PRC HISTORY REVIEW, 1, 2, Pp. 17-19.

Co-authored with Devesh Kapur. 5/2015. “Higher Education Reform in China and India: The Role of the State [in Chinese].” QINGHUA DAXUE JIAOYU YANJIU, 36, 3, Pp. 1-20.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 3/2015. “New Media and Internet Mass Incidents [in Chinese] (interview with Miao Weishan).” XUESHU JIAOLIU, 252, Pp. 209-213.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2015. “Rupture or Continuity? Cultural Governance across the 1949 Divide [in Chinese].” XUEHAI, 1, Pp. 48-49.

Co-edited with Chen Hongmin. 2015. WHAT IS THE BEST KIND OF HISTORY? [in Chinese] . Zhejiang University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2015. “Higher Education and Authoritarian Resilience: The Case of China, Past and Present”.

Devesh Kapur Elizabeth J. and Perry. 2015. “Higher Education Reform in India and China: The Role of the State”.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 9/2014. “Citizen Contention and Campus Calm: The Paradox of Chinese Civil Society.” CURRENT HISTORY, Pp. 211-217.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 4/2014. “Growing Pains: Challenges for a Rising China.”

Elizabeth J. Perry (ed.). 4/2014. “GROWING PAINS: CHALLENGES FOR A RISING CHINA.”

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2014. “Scaling China’s Ivory Tower.” In Beyond Bibliometrics – Identifying the Best, Pp. 26-27. Berlin: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 1/2013. “Managing Student Protest in Republican China: Yenching and St. John’s Compared.” FRONTIERS IN THE HISTORY OF CHINA [Chinese version in ZHONGGUO XUESHU, no. 34 (2015)], 8, 1.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 12/2012. “The Illiberal Challenge of Authoritarian China.” TAIWAN JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY, 8, 2, Pp. 3-15.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2012. ANYUAN: MINING CHINA’S REVOLUTIONARY TRADITION. University of California Press. (Chinese translation from University of Hong Kong Press, 2014.).


Co-authored with Sebastian Heilmann. 2011. “Embracing Uncertainty: Guerrilla Policy Style and Adaptive Governance in China.” In MAO’S INVISIBLE HAND (Elizabeth J. Perry and Sebastian Heilmann, eds.) [Chinese translation in BIJIAO (2013)].

Co-edited with Sebastian Heilmann. 2011. MAO’S INVISIBLE HAND: THE POLITICAL FOUNDATIONS OF ADAPTIVE GOVERNANCE IN CHINA. Harvard University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2011. “From Mass Campaigns to Managed Campaigns: Constructing a ‘New Socialist Countryside'.” In MAO’S INVISIBLE HAND (Elizabeth J. Perry and Sebastian Heilmann, eds.). Harvard University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2011. “Sixty is the New Forty (or is it?).” In THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AT SIXTY (William C. Kirby, ed.). Harvard University Press.


Li Zongtao 李宗陶 Shen Congle 沈从乐. 7/26/2010. “裴宜理 破解“造反的密码”.” 南方人物周刊 (Southern People Weekly).

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2010. “Popular Protest: Playing by the Rules.” In CHINA TODAY, CHINA TOMORROW: DOMESTIC POLITICS, ECONOMY AND SOCIETY (Joseph Fewsmith, ed.) [Revised version in HARVARD CHINA REVIEW, with Chinese translation]. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 7/2009. “China since Tiananmen: A New Rights Consciousness?.” JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY, 20, 3.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 11/2008. “Reclaiming the Chinese Revolution.” JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES [Chinese versions in QINGHUA XUEBAO (2012) and in Madeleine Yue Dong, ed., MAJOR WESTERN SCHOLARSHIP ON CHINESE HISTORY (Shanghai, 2010)], 67, 4.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 3/2008. “Chinese Conceptions of ‘Rights’: From Mencius to Mao – and Now.” PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICS [Chinese version in GUOWAI LILUN DONGTAI, nos. 2-3 (2008)].
Co-authored with Yu Jianrong. 2008. “China’s Political Tradition and Development.” [in Chinese] NANFENG CHUANG, 20.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2008. “Chinese-style “Rights” and Social Stability.” [in Chinese], LINGDAOZHE, 23.
Elizabeth J. Perry. 2008. “Continuities and Discontinuities in Chinese Protest.” In POPULAR PROTEST IN CHINA (Kevin O’Brien, ed.). Harvard University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2008. “Foreword: Nation and Revolution.” In WEI FEIDE JIANGSHU ZHONGGUO LISHI [Frederic Wakeman: Telling Chinese History] [in Chinese] (Liang He, ed.). Beijing: Dongfang Press.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 12/2007. “Popular Protest in Shanghai, 1919-1927: Social Networks, Collective Identities, and Political Parties.” In AT THE CROSSROADS OF EMPIRES: NETWORKS IN REPUBLICAN SHANGHAI (Nara Dillon and Jean C. Oi, eds.) [Chinese version in ZHONGGUO XUESHU (2004)]. Stanford University Press.

6/2007. “Intellectual Elites and Lower-class Education in the Chinese Revolution.” [in Chinese], ZHISHI FENZI LUNCONG, 6.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 4/2007. “Red Literati: Communist Educators at Anyuan, 1921-1925.” TWENTIETH CENTURY CHINA.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 1/2007. “Studying Chinese Politics: Farewell to Revolution?.” CHINA JOURNAL [Chinese version in SI YU YAN (October 2006)].

Co-authored with Merle Goldman. 2007. “Grassroots Political Reform in Historical Perspective.” In GRASSROOTS POLITICAL REFORM IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA (Elizabeth J. Perry and Merle Goldman, eds.). Harvard University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2007. “Masters of the Country? Shanghai Workers in the Early People’s Republic.” In DILEMMAS OF VICTORY: THE EARLY YEARS OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (Jeremy Brown and Paul Pickowicz, eds.) [Chinese translation forthcoming]. Harvard University Press.

Co-edited with Merle Goldman. 2007. GRASSROOTS POLITICAL REFORM IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA. Harvard University Press.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 12/2006. “Developments in Social Movement Theory.” [in Chinese], DANGDAI SHIJIE SHEHUIZHUYI.

Co-authored with Joseph W. Esherick. 2006. “Editors’ Introduction.” In REVOLUTION IN THE HIGHLANDS (Stephen C. Averill). Rowman and Littlefield.



Elizabeth J. Perry. 2004. “Shanghai’s Politicized Skyline.” In SHANGHAI: ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM FOR MODERN CHINA (Seng Kuan and Peter G. Rowe, eds.).


Elizabeth J. Perry. 2003. “‘To Rebel is Justified’: Cultural Revolution Influences on Contemporary Chinese Protest.” In BEYOND PURGE AND HOLOCAUST: THE CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION RECONSIDERED (Kam-yee Law, ed.). Palgrave Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2003. “Worker Patrols in the Chinese Revolution: A Case of Institutional Inversion.” In REALMS OF FREEDOM IN MODERN CHINA (William C. Kirby, ed.). Stanford University Press.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 5/2002. “Moving the Masses: Emotion Work in the Chinese Revolution.” MOBILIZATION [Chinese version in ZHONGGUO XUESHU (2001)].

Co-authored with Nara Dillon. 2002. “‘Little Brothers’ in the Cultural Revolution: Worker Rebels in Shanghai.” In CHINESE FEMININITIES/CHINESE MASCULINITIES (Susan Brownell and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, eds.). University of California Press.

Co-authored with Merle Goldman. 2002. “Political Citizenship in Modern China.” In CHANGING MEANINGS OF CITIZENSHIP (Merle Goldman and Elizabeth J. Perry, eds.) .

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2002. “Teacher and Friend: In Honor of Professor Cai Shaoqing [in Chinese] .” In WO KAN ZHONGGUO MIMI SHEHUI: CAI SHAOQING XIANSHENG ZHIJIAO WUSHI ZHOUNIAN JINIAN WENJI (Kong Xiangtao and Liu Ping, eds.). Guangxi People’s Press.


Co-edited with Merle Goldman. 2002. CHANGING MEANINGS OF CITIZENSHIP IN MODERN CHINA. Harvard University Press.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 6/2001. “Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Popular Protest in Modern China.” CRITICAL ASIAN STUDIES, 33, 2.

Co-authored with Ron Aminzade and Jack A. Goldstone. 2001. “Leadership Dynamics and Dynamics of Contention.” In SILENCE AND VOICE IN THE STUDY OF CONTENTIOUS POLITICS (Ronald A. Aminzade, et.al.). Cambridge University Press.

Co-authored with Ron Aminzade. 2001. “The Sacred, Religious and Secular in Contentious Politics: Blurring Boundaries.” In SILENCE AND VOICE IN THE STUDY OF CONTENTIOUS POLITICS (Ronald A. Aminzade, et.al.). Cambridge University Press.

Elizabeth J. Perry. 2001. “In Appreciation of Professor Mao Jiaqi [in Chinese].” In FENGAO BUZHUO: LISHI XUEJIA MAO JIAQI (Cui Zhiqing and Dong Guoqiang, eds.). Nanjing: Nanjing University Press.

Co-authored with Ronald R. Aminzade et.al. 2001. SILENCE AND VOICE IN THE STUDY OF CONTENTIOUS POLITICS. Cambridge University Press.


Co-authored with Mark Selden. 2000. “Reform and Resistance in Contemporary China.” In CHINESE SOCIETY (Elizabeth J. Perry and Mark Selden, eds.) [revised version in CHINESE SOCIETY (2003)].
Elizabeth J. Perry. 2000. “Reinventing the Wheel? The Suppression Campaign against Falun Gong.” HARVARD CHINA REVIEW.

Co-edited with Mark Selden. 2000. CHINESE SOCIETY: CHANGE, CONFLICT AND RESISTANCE. Routledge; revised editions, 2003, 2009 (Chinese translation from Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2014).





Elizabeth J. Perry (edited with an introduction). 1996. PUTTING CLASS IN ITS PLACE: WORKER IDENTITIES IN EAST ASIA. University of California Institute of East Asian Studies.


Co-edited with Deborah S. Davis, Richard Kraus and Barry Naughton. 1995. URBAN SPACES IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA: THE POTENTIAL FOR AUTONOMY AND COMMUNITY IN POST-MAO CHINA. Cambridge University Press.


Elizabeth J. Perry. 1993. SHANGHAI ON STRIKE: THE POLITICS OF CHINESE LABOR. Stanford University Press (Stanford paperback edition, 1994) [Chinese translation from Jiangsu People’s Press, Nanjing, 2001].


Elizabeth J. Perry. 1980. REBELS AND REVOLUTIONARIES IN NORTH CHINA, 1845-1945 . Stanford University Press (Stanford paperback editions, 1983, 1988). [Chinese translation from Commercial Press, Beijing, 2008].

Media Mentions

Return to China: One reporter finds a nation that has gone from bicycles to bullet trains, Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2018

Takeaways from China’s 19th Party Congress, with Bill Bishop and Jude Blanchette, SupChina, 11/2/2017 

China Experts Analyze 19th Party Congress, Harvard Crimson, 10/24/2017 

China Steps Up Ideology Drive on College Campuses, Wall Street Journal, 9/25/2017 

Why China Pretends to be a Democracy? China Digital Times, 4/12/2017 

Why Does China Pretend to be a Democracy? Washington Post, 4/11/2017 

Can India and China dominate HE in the 21st century? Times Higher Education, 6/16/2016 

China's Ideological Push, Inside Higher Ed, 4/2/2015 

Move Over Mao: Beloved ‘Papa Xi’ Awes China, The New York Times, 3/7/2015


We don’t know what Chinese President Xi Jinping’s endgame is: Elizabeth J. Perry, LiveMint, 1/17/17


Video Lectures

Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy, 2/21/2018 

“Asian Studies in Asia” - Introduction by Elizabeth Perry, Harvard-Yenching Institute, 4/4/2017 

A Conversation with the Harvard- Yenching Institute Director, Prof. Elizabeth J. Perry, Yenching Academy of Peking University, 1/18/2016

Civil Society in East Asia - Elizabeth Perry, Harvard-Yenching Institute, 4/4/2014 

The Cultural Foundations of Chinese Communism - Lecture by Elizabeth Perry, The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School university in New York City, 4/17/2013

The Resilience of Chinese Communism: Lessons From History, Emory University, 4/25/2012 

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies