Research interests: the development of the Maoist welfare state from the 1940s to the 1960s, focusing on programs for workers and unemployed urbanites.
Nara Dillon received her B.A. in history from Williams College and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2003 to 2007 she taught Chinese politics and comparative politics as an Assistant Professor at Bard College. She has held lecturer appointments in Government, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Social Studies at Harvard since 2008, after spending a year at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies as a post-doctoral fellow. Dillon’s interests include the politics of welfare, charity, and health care in China and the rest of the developing world. Her publications include At the Crossroads of Empires: Middlemen, Social Networks, and Statebuilding in Republican Shanghai (Stanford, 2008) and articles on gender, private charity, and welfare reform. In 2015, Radical Inequalities: China's Revolutionary Welfare State in Comparative Perspective was published in the Harvard Asia Center Series (Harvard University Press). She is currently doing comparative research on welfare state reforms in China and other developing countries, as well studying the development of slums and slum renewal policies in Chinese cities. Dillon teaches a junior tutorial on the political economy of modern China for East Asian Studies and Government concentrators. She also offers courses on global cities in East Asia; welfare in China, government and politics in China, and the politics of development in the post-Cold War era plus the political economy of health in the developing world.