About Us

Our Mission

The Fairbank Center’s mission is to advance scholarship in all fields of China Studies at Harvard. We achieve this mission in four ways:

1. Serving as Harvard’s main platform for the promotion and dissemination of research in China studies, especially interdisciplinary scholarship.

We have an active events calendar, hold conferences, and host post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, graduate student associates, and a range of other affiliates. We support new academic scholarship on China through the Asia Center Publications Program.

 

2. Awarding grants to support faculty and student research.

We provide grants for faculty to conduct research, for students to travel to China, and to support student groups here on campus.

 

3. Sharing authoritative information about Greater China with the media, policymakers, and the public.

We engage with policymakers and the media, as well as maintaining a robust social media presence, blog, and podcast.

 

4. Providing the resources of the Fairbank Center Collection at the Fung Library to scholars and practitioners.

Our best-in-class library specializes in difficult to find resources and provides individualized research assistance to scholars from Harvard and beyond.

Director's Word 主任寄语

Michael A. Szonyi

In my last “Director’s Word” I wrote about the recent celebration of the Fairbank Center’s 60th anniversary. The occasion prompted a series of conversations about the Center’s future direction. The anniversary drew our attention to the enormous diversity of China-related activities across Harvard.

No longer is the Fairbank Center the only place at Harvard where talented scholars and students work on and with China. We have been working hard since the 60th-anniversary celebrations to build the Fairbank Center into a hub for the various China-related activities across Harvard, building connections among schools, departments, and disciplines.

Building New Communities of China Scholars 培养哈佛的中国学者群

We have also tried to expand the Center’s long tradition of contributing to public discourse on China. Whether by inviting scholars from beyond the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to join in our activities and co-hosting events with other China and Asia-related centers, or by our extensive outreach and social media efforts, the Center is helping to build new communities of China scholars at Harvard and to bring their expertise to a public audience.

Our most visible accomplishment this year is directly tied to our 60th anniversary celebration. The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power, a collection of 36 essays by leading scholars associated with the Center and co-edited by myself and our former Executive Director Jennifer Rudolph, was published by Harvard University Press earlier this year. Each contributor was asked to come up with a question that they thought Americans should be asking about China, and then to sum up their lifetimes of research, reflections, and scholarship in a short, accessible essay in an attempt to provide an answer to the question.

The China Questions exemplifies what we do best at the Fairbank Center. It draws together a range of experts, each of them working in their own disciplines, to advance new and useful knowledge about this rising power.

The China Questions exemplifies what we do best at the Fairbank Center. It draws together a range of experts, each of them working in their own disciplines to advance new and useful knowledge about this rising power.

Another way in which we advance scholarship on China is through exhibitions of art, film, photography, and other visual media. A highlight of the year was our exhibition of dazibao—or “big character posters”—from the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). We believe this was the first-ever exhibition of big-character posters in the United States, and it is certainly the first time that these posters have been displayed outside of China. A standing-room-only panel discussion, featuring faculty, alumni, and associates marked the opening event of the exhibition. I was particularly struck by the many visitors who came to the exhibition; some of them were familiar faces, but many were involved for the first time in the activities of the Fairbank Center.

We receive many impressive visitors to the Fairbank Center each year, including scholars, practitioners, and public figures from Greater China, East Asia, and North America. These visitors represent a wide range of well-informed views and experiences. For example, during the last year we welcomed a prominent film studies scholar who has faced significant political pressure for holding a commemoration of the events of June 4th 1989 as well as a scholar from a college of Marxism and other China Studies scholars from across the globe. It is precisely the range of views and experiences represented here that makes the Fairbank Center a world-leading place to study China.

A World-Leading Place to Study China 世界一流的中国研究中心

As always, our events calendar continues to be full. We hosted or co-sponsored a total of 180 events during the past academic year, working with more than thirty other centers and departments across the Harvard campus and beyond. Our nine faculty-led lecture series continue to draw leading scholars to present their work to a Harvard audience and our conferences and panel discussions filled our lecture halls. Some of the highlights of this year’s events included a public forum featuring the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States, Cui Tiankai; an “instant analysis” panel on the 19th Party Congress; and special events featuring Harvard Kennedy School colleagues Nicholas Burns and Graham Allison.

Pursuing world-class, objective, and important research on all aspects of China - past, present, and future.

Although 2017-2018 was a banner year for the Fairbank Center and for China Studies at Harvard, the same cannot be said for U.S.-China relations. Mistrust and misunderstanding seem to be growing on both sides of our shared Pacific Ocean, and there are already many in the U.S. who wonder about the possibilities for continued constructive engagement. Meanwhile, developments within China are also raising concerns among many scholars. Issues of academic and intellectual freedom do not exhaust the list of such concerns, but as scholars we are obviously especially concerned that these freedoms, and the relative openness that have served China so well during the last forty years, be maintained.

At the Fairbank Center, we will continue to pursue world-class, objective, and important research on all aspects of China—past, present, and future. We will continue to inform the public and elevate the national conversation about China. Where appropriate, we will also attempt to share our expertise to support the work of policy makers. While in general terms our course is clear, I welcome your thoughts about how the Fairbank Center should adjust to our changing environment.

 

Michael A. Szonyi
Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University

History of the Fairbank Center

The Fairbank Center was founded in 1955 by Professor John King Fairbank, a leading scholar in modern and contemporary China studies. The Center was originally called the Center for East Asian Research. Under Professor Fairbank’s leadership, the Center took an active role in promoting the study of modern and contemporary China from a social science perspective. At the time, this focus marked a sharp departure from the field of Sinology, which had emphasized the study of texts from a humanistic perspective. The Center for East Asian Research was renamed as the John K. Fairbank Center for East Asian Research following Professor Fairbank’s retirement, in honor of his signal contributions to China studies through his teaching and publications. In 2007, after institutes for Japan studies and Korea studies had been established at Harvard, the Fairbank Center was renamed to show its strength in Chinese Studies.

More at Harvard University

The Fairbank Center is a unit of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Center works closely with other Asia-focused institutions within the University including the Asia Center, the Harvard China Fund, the Harvard China Project, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Korea Institute, the South Asia Institute, the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Harvard-Yenching Library. For more information about Harvard’s global involvement please visit Harvard Worldwide.

Harvard Tercentenary Stele

This slender marble slab, or stele, was presented to Harvard in 1936 as a gift from Chinese alumni on the occasion of the University’s tercentenary. The inscription commemorates the founding of Harvard College in 1636 and celebrates the importance of culture and learning both in the United States and in China. The full Chinese text, 370 words long, is presented on the accompanying panel, together with an English translation; the original calligraphy, in kaishu style, is that of the famous scholar-diplomat Hu Shi (1891-1962), who took part in the ceremonies as the representative of Peking University and received an honorary degree.

Read the Stele's Chinese inscription, and English translation. 

William Alford

William Alford 安守廉

Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law; Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program

alford@law.harvard.edu
William Alford

William Alford 安守廉

Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law; Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program

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Peter Boi

Peter K. Bol 包弼德

Vice Provost for Advances in Learning; Charles H Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

pkbol@fas.harvard.edu
Peter Boi

Peter K. Bol 包弼德

Vice Provost for Advances in Learning; Charles H Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

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Paul Cohen

Paul A. Cohen 柯文

Professor of History Emeritus, Wellesley College

pcohen@fas.harvard.edu
Paul Cohen

Paul A. Cohen 柯文

Professor of History Emeritus, Wellesley College

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Mark Elliot

Mark C. Elliott 欧立德

Vice Provost for International Affairs; Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History; former Director of the Fairbank Center

Mark Elliot

Mark C. Elliott 欧立德

Vice Provost for International Affairs; Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History; former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Rowan Flad

Rowan Flad 傅羅文

Professor of Anthropology

rflad@fas.harvard.edu
Rowan Flad

Rowan Flad 傅羅文

Professor of Anthropology

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merie goldman

Merle Goldman 戈德曼

Professor of History Emerita, Boston University

mgoldman@fas.harvard.edu
merie goldman

Merle Goldman 戈德曼

Professor of History Emerita, Boston University

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Susan Greenhalgh

Susan Greenhalgh 葛苏珊

Professor of Anthropology

greenhalgh@fas.harvard.edu
Susan Greenhalgh

Susan Greenhalgh 葛苏珊

Professor of Anthropology

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Janet Gyatso Heashot

Janet Gyatso 珍妮·嘉措

Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies

jgyatso@hds.harvard.edu
Janet Gyatso Heashot

Janet Gyatso 珍妮·嘉措

Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies

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C.T. jAMES hUANG

C. T. James Huang 黄正德

Professor of Linguistics

ctjhuang@fas.harvard.edu
C.T. jAMES hUANG

C. T. James Huang 黄正德

Professor of Linguistics

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Alastair Iain Johnston 江忆恩

Governor James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs

johnston@fas.harvard.edu

Alastair Iain Johnston 江忆恩

Governor James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs

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William Kirby

William C. Kirby 柯偉林

T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies; Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration; Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor; Director of the Harvard China Fund; former Director of the Fairbank Center

William Kirby

William C. Kirby 柯偉林

T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies; Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration; Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor; Director of the Harvard China Fund; former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Arthur Kleinman

Arthur Kleinman 凱博文

Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology; Professor of Medical Anthropology in Social Medicine; Professor of Psychiatry

kleinman@fas.harvard.edu
Arthur Kleinman

Arthur Kleinman 凱博文

Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology; Professor of Medical Anthropology in Social Medicine; Professor of Psychiatry

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shigahisa kuriyama

Shigehisa Kuriyama 栗山茂久

Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History

hkuriyam@fas.harvard.edu
shigahisa kuriyama

Shigehisa Kuriyama 栗山茂久

Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History

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Waiyee li

Wai-Yee Li 李惠仪

Professor of Chinese Literature

wyli@fas.harvard.edu
Waiyee li

Wai-Yee Li 李惠仪

Professor of Chinese Literature

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Jennifer Li-Chia Liu 刘力嘉

Professor of the Practice of Language Pedagogy, Director, Chinese Language Program, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

liu02@fas.harvard.edu

Jennifer Li-Chia Liu 刘力嘉

Professor of the Practice of Language Pedagogy, Director, Chinese Language Program, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

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stephen owen

Stephen Owen 宇文所安

James Bryant Conant University Professor, Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus

sowen@fas.harvard.edu
stephen owen

Stephen Owen 宇文所安

James Bryant Conant University Professor, Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus

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dwight perkins

Dwight H. Perkins 德懷特 • 珀金斯

Harold Hitchings Burbank Research Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus; former Director of the Fairbank Center

Dwight_perkins@harvard.edu
dwight perkins

Dwight H. Perkins 德懷特 • 珀金斯

Harold Hitchings Burbank Research Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus; former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Elizabeth J. Perry

Elizabeth J. Perry 裴宜理

Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government; former Director of the Fairbank Center

eperry@gov.harvard.edu
Elizabeth J. Perry

Elizabeth J. Perry 裴宜理

Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government; former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Michael Puett

Michael Puett 普鸣

Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History; Harvard College Professor

puett@fas.harvard.edu
Michael Puett

Michael Puett 普鸣

Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History; Harvard College Professor

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James Robson

James Robson 羅柏松

James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

jrobson@fas.harvard.edu
James Robson

James Robson 羅柏松

James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

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Robert Ross

Robert S. Ross 陆伯彬

Professor of Political Science, Boston College

robert.ross.1@bc.edu
Robert Ross

Robert S. Ross 陆伯彬

Professor of Political Science, Boston College

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Anthony Saich

Anthony Saich 托尼·赛奇

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs

Anthony_Saich@harvard.edu
Anthony Saich

Anthony Saich 托尼·赛奇

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs

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Michael A. Szonyi

Michael A. Szonyi 宋怡明

Director of the Fairbank Center; Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History

fairbankdirector@fas.harvard.edu
Michael A. Szonyi

Michael A. Szonyi 宋怡明

Director of the Fairbank Center; Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History

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Hue Tam Ho Tai

Hue-Tam Ho Tai 谭可泰

Kenneth T. Young Professor of Sino-Vietnamese History

hhtai@fas.harvard.edu
Hue Tam Ho Tai

Hue-Tam Ho Tai 谭可泰

Kenneth T. Young Professor of Sino-Vietnamese History

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Karen Thornber

Karen Thornber 唐丽园

Harry Tuchman Levin Professor in Literature and Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

thornber@fas.harvard.edu
Karen Thornber

Karen Thornber 唐丽园

Harry Tuchman Levin Professor in Literature and Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

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Xiaofei Tian

Xiaofei Tian 田晓菲

Professor of Chinese Literature

stian@fas.harvard.edu
Xiaofei Tian

Xiaofei Tian 田晓菲

Professor of Chinese Literature

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leonard van derkuijp

Leonard van der Kuijp 范德康

Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies

vanderk@fas.harvard.edu
leonard van derkuijp

Leonard van der Kuijp 范德康

Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies

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Ezra Vogel

Ezra F. Vogel 傅高义

Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, former Director of the Fairbank Center

efvogel@fas.harvard.edu
Ezra Vogel

Ezra F. Vogel 傅高义

Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Eugene Wang

Eugene Yuejin Wang 汪悦进

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art

eywang@fas.harvard.edu
Eugene Wang

Eugene Yuejin Wang 汪悦进

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art

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david wang

David Der-Wei Wang 王德威

Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature

dwang@fas.harvard.edu
david wang

David Der-Wei Wang 王德威

Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature

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Martin K. Whyte

Martin K. Whyte 怀默霆

John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Sociology, Emeritus, former Director of the Fairbank Center

Martin K. Whyte

Martin K. Whyte 怀默霆

John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Sociology, Emeritus, former Director of the Fairbank Center

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Zhou Xiang

Xiang Zhou 周翔

Assistant Professor of Sociology

xiang_zhou@fas.harvard.edu
Zhou Xiang

Xiang Zhou 周翔

Assistant Professor of Sociology

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Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy Statement

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University is unambiguously committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of our community is, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity.

As a research center within the broader university, we are committed to an atmosphere of safe, healthy, and robust engagement with each other as teachers, students, and colleagues. We will continue working to sustain an environment in which we can all do our best work and strive to fulfill our full potential.

If you have any concerns, or if you have suggestions on ways in which we can better create such an environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, Title IX officers, or other Harvard resources such as the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR), which is a confidential resource to all members in our community.

Pursuing New Directions in China Studies
中国研究新动向

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Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies