Elizabeth J. Perry

Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government; Director of Harvard-Yenching Institute; Former Director of the Fairbank Center 1999-2002; Senior Scholar of Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies

Elizabeth J. Perry

Bio

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.

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.

Selected Publications

Books

  • Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition (University of California Press, 2012). Chinese translation from University of Hong Kong Press, 2014. 
  • Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citizenship and the Modern Chinese State (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006) 
  • Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Social Protest and State Power in China (M.E. Sharpe, 2002)
  • Silence and Voice in the Study of Contentious Politics, co-authored with Ronald R. Aminzade et.al. (Cambridge University Press, 2001) 
  • Proletarian Power: Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution, coauthored with Li Xun (Westview Press, 1997) 
  • Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor (Stanford University Press, 1993; Stanford paperback edition, 1994) Chinese translation from Jiangsu People’s Press, Nanjing, 2001. 
  • Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945 (Stanford University Press, 1980; Stanford paperback editions, 1983, 1988). Chinese translation from Commercial Press, Beijing, 2008.
  • The History of China’s Christian Colleges [in Chinese], co-edited with Zhang Kaiyuan and Ma Min (Religion and Culture Press, Beijing, 2021) 
  • Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements, co-edited with Grzegorz Ekiert and Yan Xiaojun (Cambridge University Press, 2020) 
  • Similar Yet Different: Case Studies of China’s Modern Christian Colleges [in Chinese], co-edited with Chen Hongmin (Zhejiang University Press, 2019)
  • Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared, co-edited with Prasenjit Duara (Harvard University Press, 2018)
  • What is the Best Kind of History? [in Chinese], co-edited with Chen Hongmin (Zhejiang University Press, 2015)
  • Growing Pains: Challenges for a Rising China, special issue of DAEDALUS (April 2014)
  • Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China, co-edited with Sebastian Heilmann (Harvard University Press, 2011)
  • Grassroots Political Reform in Contemporary China, co-edited with Merle Goldman (Harvard University Press, 2007)
  • Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance, co-edited with Mark Selden (Routledge, 2000; revised editions, 2003, 2009). Chinese translation from Chinese 7 University of Hong Kong Press, 2014.
  • Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China, co-edited with Merle Goldman (Harvard University Press, 2002)
  • Danwei: The Changing Chinese Work Place in Historical and Comparative Perspective, co-edited with Lu Xiaobo (M.E. Sharpe, 1997) 
  • Putting Class in its Place: Worker Identities in East Asia, edited with an introduction (University of California Institute of East Asian Studies, 1996)
  • Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Post-Mao China, co-edited with Deborah S. Davis, Richard Kraus and Barry Naughton (Cambridge University Press, 1995)
  • Shanghai Social Movements, 1919-1949, co-edited with Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chinese Studies in History (M.E.Sharpe, 1994)
  • Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China: Learning from 1989, co-edited with Jeffrey Wasserstrom (Westview Press, 1991; revised and expanded edition, 1994)
  • The Political Economy of Reform in Post-Mao China, co-edited with Christine Wong (Harvard University Press, 1985; revised editions, 1986 and 1989) 
  • Syncretic Sects in Chinese Society, co-edited with Stevan Harrell, Modern China (July and October 1982)
  • Chinese Perspectives on the Nien Rebellion; edited, translated, with an introduction (M.E. Sharpe, 1981)

Recent Articles and Chapters

  • “Foreword,” in Joseph W. Esherick, China in Revolution (Rowman and Littlefield Press, forthcoming) 
  • “Foreword,” in Wu Jieh-min, Rival Partners: How Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and Guangdong Officials Forged the China Development Model (Harvard University Press, forthcoming) 
  • “The Anyuan Strike of 1922: Lessons in Leadership,” in Ivan Franceschini and Christian Sorace, eds., Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour (Verso, 2022) 
  • “The 1960s: Wang Guangmei and Peach Garden Experience,” in Timothy Cheek, Klaus Muhlhahn, and Hans van de Ven, eds., The Chinese Communist Party: Ten Moments that Shaped China (Cambridge University Press, 2021) 
  • “China’s (R)evolutionary Governance and the COVID-19 Crisis,” in Kellee S. Tsai, Szu-chien Hsu, and Chun-chih Chang eds., Evolutionary Governance in China: State-Society Relations Under Authoritarianism (Harvard University Press, 2021) 
  • “State-Mobilized Movements: A Research Agenda,” co-authored with Grzegorz Ekiert,in Grzegorz Ekiert, Elizabeth J. Perry, and Yan Xiaojun, eds., Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2020) 
  • “Suppressing Students in the PRC: Proletarian State-Mobilized Movements in 1968 and 1989,” co-authored with Yan Xiaojun, in Grzegorz Ekiert, Elizabeth J. Perry, and Yan 13 Xiaojun, eds., Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2020) 
  • “Cultural Imperialism Redux? Reassessing the Christian Colleges of Republican China,” co-authored with Tu Hang, in Joachim Gentz, Natascha Gentz, Barbara Mittler, and Catherine Vance Yeh, eds., China and the World — The World and China – A Transcultural Perspective (Heidelburg, 2019). Chinese translation in Qinghua Daxue Jiaoyu Yanjiu (2020). 
  • “Work Team,” in Ivan Franceschini, Nicholas Loubere and Christian Sorace, eds., Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi (Australian National University Press, 2019) 
  • “Beyond Regimes: An Introduction,” co-authored with Prasenjit Duara, in Prasenjit Duara and Elizabeth J. Perry, eds., Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared (Harvard University Press, 2018) 
  • “Higher Education Reform in China and India: The Role of the State,” co-authored with Devesh Kapur, in Prasenjit Duara and Elizabeth J. Perry, eds., Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared (Harvard University Press, 2018). Chinese translation in Qinghua Daxue Jiaoyu Yanjiu (2015). 
  • “Is the Chinese Communist Regime Legitimate?” in Michael Szonyi and Jennifer Rudolph, eds., The China Questions (Harvard University Press, 2018). 
  • “Cultural Governance in Contemporary China: ‘Re-Orienting’ Party Propaganda,” in Vivienne Shue and Patricia Thornton, eds., To Govern China: Evolving Practices of Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018) 
  • “Scaling China’s Ivory Tower,” Beyond Bibliometrics — Identifying the Best (Berlin: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2014): 26-27. 
  • “Sixty is the New Forty (or is it?),” in William C. Kirby, ed., The People’s Republic of China at Sixty (Harvard University Press, 2011) 
  • “From Mass Campaigns to Managed Campaigns: Constructing a ‘New Socialist Countryside’,” in Elizabeth J. Perry and Sebastian Heilmann, eds., Mao’s Invisible Hand (Harvard University Press, 2011) 
  • “Embracing Uncertainty: Guerrilla Policy Style and Adaptive Governance in China,” coauthored with Sebastian Heilmann, in Elizabeth J. Perry and Sebastian Heilmann, eds., Mao’s Invisible Hand (Harvard University Press, 2011). Chinese translation in BIJIAO (2013).
  • “Missionaries of the Party: Work Team Participation and Intellectual Incorporation,” China Quarterly, vol. 248 (November 2021): 73-94. 
  • “Not so Grassroots: Social Movements Fueled by the State,” co-authored with Grzegorz Ekiert, Epicenter (June 10, 2021). 
  • “Secrets to the CCP’s Resilience,” interview with Eyck Freymann, The Wire China (February 7, 2021). 
  • “Debating Maoism in Contemporary China: Reflections on Benjamin I. Schwartz, Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao,” Asia-Pacific Journal, vol. 19, issue 1, no. 1 8 (January 1, 2021): 1-11. 
  • “Educated Acquiescence: How Academia Sustains Authoritarianism in China,”  Theory and Society, no. 49 (January 2020): 1-22. 
  • “Teaching Chinese Politics in Comparative Perspective,” The PRC History Review, vol. 4, no. 2 (August 2019) 
  • “Revolutionary Tradition and Adaptive Governance” [in Chinese], Suqu Yanyiu, no. 4 (2019) 
  • “Work Teams: Sinicizing the Soviet Experience” [in Chinese], Zhongguo Xueshu, no. 43 (2019): 4-16. 
  • “Making Communism Work: Sinicizing a Soviet Governance Practice,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 61, issue 3 (July 2019): 535-562. Chinese translation in Zhongguo Xueshu (2019). 
  • “The Promise of PRC History,” Journal of Modern Chinese History, vol. 10, no. 1 (June 2016). 
  • “The Populist Dream of Chinese Democracy,” Journal of Asian Studies (November 2015). 
  • “Narrating the Past to Interpret the Present,” interview with Lu Hanchao, The Chinese Historical Review (November 2015): 160-173. 
  • “Reflecting on Anyuan,” The PRC History Review, vol. 1, no. 2 (August 2015): 17- 19. 
  • “Higher Education Reform in China and India: The Role of the State” [in Chinese], coauthored with Devesh Kapur, Qinghua Daxue Jiaoyu Yanjiu, vol. 36, no. 3 (May 2015): 1-20. 
  • “Rupture or Continuity? Cultural Governance across the 1949 Divide” [in Chinese], Xuehai, no. 1 (2015): 48-49. 
  • “New Media and Internet Mass Incidents” [in Chinese], interview with Miao Weishan, Xueshu Jiaoliu, Serial No. 252 (March 2015): 209-213. 
  • “Citizen Contention and Campus Calm: The Paradox of Chinese Civil Society,” Current History (September 2014): 211-217. 
  • “Growing Pains: Challenges for a Rising China,” Daedalus (April 2014) 
  • “Managing Student Protest in Republican China: Yenching and St. John’s 9 Compared,” Frontiers in the History of China (January 2013), vol. 8, no. 1; Chinese version in Zhongguo Xueshu, no. 34 (2015) 
  • “The Illiberal Challenge of Authoritarian China,” Taiwan Journal of Democracy (December 2012), vol. 8, no. 2: 3-15.

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