• Professor of History Emeritus, Wellesley College
  • pcohen@fas.harvard.edu
  • http://www.wellesley.edu/history/faculty/cohen
  • Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies | CGIS South Building | 1730 Cambridge Street | Cambridge MA 02138

Research interests: Chinese history (especially 19th-20th centuries), historiography, nationalism, tension between critical history & popular memory

Paul Cohen retired from Wellesley College in 2000 after teaching Chinese history for 35 years. He has been affiliated with the Fairbank Center since 1965, and he continues to research and write in the field of Chinese history, focusing mainly on the period from the nineteenth century to the present. His recent publications include History and Popular Memory: The Power of Story in Moments of Crisis (Columbia University Press, 2014), which contains chapters on Serbia, Palestine/Israel, China, France, the USSR, and England. In working on this book, Professor Cohen says, “I made two discoveries: first, a book that doesn't focus mainly on China takes a lot less time to write, and, second, there was a whole world out there that I knew next to nothing about. It was like going to college again in my retirement.”

柯文教授在维斯理学院任教35年,于2000年退休。柯文教授主要研究19至20世纪中国历史,近期出版《历史与公众记忆:危机时刻故事的力量》(哥伦比亚大学出版社,2014)。

研究兴趣:中国历史(19-20世纪),历史编纂学,国家主义,批判性历史与公众记忆之间的冲突

Books

CHINA AND CHRISTIANITY: THE MISSIONARY MOVEMENT AND THE GROWTH OF CHINESE ANTIFOREIGNISM, 1860-1870 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963) (2nd printing, 1967; 3rd printing, 1977)

BETWEEN TRADITION AND MODERNITY: WANG T'AO AND REFORM IN LATE CH'ING CHINA (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974) (paperback reprint, with new preface, by Harvard Council on East Asian Studies, 1987) (PRC Chinese translation published by Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe, Nanjing, 1994)

REFORM IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY CHINA, coedited with John E. Schrecker (Cambridge, Mass.: East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, 1976) (2nd printing, 1979)

REPORT ON THE YOUNG AMERICAN POLITICAL LEADERS DELEGATION TO THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (New York: National Committee on United States-China Relations, 1977) (2nd printing, January 1978)

DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA: AMERICAN HISTORICAL WRITING ON THE RECENT CHINESE PAST (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984) (paperback ed., 1985; second paperback ed. with new preface copyrighted by author, 1996; reissued in 2010 [cloth and paper] with new introduction copyrighted by author, 2010). (Japanese translation published by Heibonsha, Tokyo, 1988; PRC Chinese translation published by Zhonghua Book Company, Beijing, 1989; expanded edition published by Zhonghua in 2005; two different Taiwan Chinese translations, one published by Daoxiang Publishing Co., Taibei, 1991, the other by Lianjing Publishing Co., Taibei, 1991; Korean translation published by Sansae Publishing Co., Seoul, 2003)

IDEAS ACROSS CULTURES: ESSAYS ON CHINESE THOUGHT IN HONOR OF BENJAMIN I. SCHWARTZ, coedited with Merle Goldman (Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1990)

FAIRBANK REMEMBERED, cocompiled with Merle Goldman (Cambridge, Mass.:Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University, 1992) (PRC Chinese translation published by Dongfang Chuban Zhongxin, Shanghai, 2000)

HISTORY IN THREE KEYS: THE BOXERS AS EVENT, EXPERIENCE, AND MYTH (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997) (paperback ed., 1998) (PRC Chinese translation published by Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe, Nanjing, 2000)

CHINA UNBOUND: EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES ON THE CHINESE PAST (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003)

SPEAKING TO HISTORY: THE STORY OF KING GOUJIAN IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY CHINA (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009) (paperback ed. published in 2010)

THE POWER OF STORY AND POPULAR MEMORY: SIX COUNTRIES IN CRISIS (forthcoming, to be published by Columbia University Press)

Articles, Chapters, and Shorter Writings (excluding book reviews)

"Missionary Approaches: Hudson Taylor and Timothy Richard," PAPERS ON CHINA, 11:29-62 (1957)

"The Hunan-Kiangsi Antimissionary Incidents of 1862," PAPERS ON CHINA, 12:1-27 (1958)

"The Anti-Christian Tradition in China," JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, 20.2:169-180 (Feb. 1961) (reprinted in Jessie Lutz, ed., CHRISTIAN MISSIONS IN CHINA: EVANGELISTS OF WHAT? [Boston: Heath, 1965])

"Some Sources of Antimissionary Sentiment during the Late Ch'ing," JOURNAL OF THE CHINA SOCIETY, 2:1-19 (1962)

"Wang T'ao and Incipient Chinese Nationalism," JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, 26.4:559-574 (1967)

Wang T'ao's Perspective on a Changing World," in Albert Feuerwerker et al., eds., APPROACHES TO MODERN CHINESE HISTORY (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967)

"Ch'ing China: Confrontation with the West, 1850-1900," in James Crowley, ed., MODERN EAST ASIA: ESSAYS IN INTERPRETATION (New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1970)

Foreword to Sidney A. Forsythe, AN AMERICAN MISSIONARY COMMUNITY IN CHINA, 1895-1905 (Cambridge, Mass.: East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, 1971)

"Europe Goes East," in Arnold Toynbee, ed., HALF THE WORLD: THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF CHINA AND JAPAN (London: Thames and Hudson, 1973) (American ed.: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973; German ed.: George Westermann Verlag, 1974; French ed.: Elsevier Sequoia, Bruxelles, 1976; Dutch ed.: Amsterdam
Boek, 1977)

"Littoral and Hinterland in Nineteenth-Century China: The 'Christian' Reformers," in John K. Fairbank, ed., THE MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE IN CHINA AND AMERICA (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974)

"Discussion," in John Z. Bowers and Elizabeth F. Purcell, eds., MEDICINE AND SOCIETY IN CHINA (New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1974), pp. 75-81

"The New Coastal Reformers," in Paul A. Cohen and John E. Schrecker, eds., REFORM IN NINETEENTH CENTURY CHINA (Cambridge, Mass.: East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, 1976)

Feature article on recent developments in China, BOSTON GLOBE, July 31, 1977 "Christian Missions and Their Impact to 1900," in John K. Fairbank, ed., THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF CHINA, Vol. 10 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978) (Taiwan translation: Nantian Shuju, Taibei, 1987; Korean translation: Seamulgyul Publishing House, 2007)

"Sino-American Relations, 1850-1900," in THE HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS FOR OUR NEW RELATIONS WITH CHINA (Washington, D. C.: The Wilson Center, Occasional Paper No. 7, 1980)

"Meiguo de Zhongguo jindaishi yanjiu" (Research on modern Chinese history in America), LISHI YANJIU (Historical research), 1980, No. 2, pp. 85-88

"Modern History" (coauthored with Merle Goldman), in Anne F. Thurston and Jason Parker, eds., HUMANISTIC AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH IN CHINA (New York: Social Science Research Council, 1980), pp. 38-60

"Meiguo yanjiu Qingmo-Minchu Zhongguo lishi de xin dongxiang" (New directions in American historical scholarship on late Qing and early Republican China), FUDAN XUEBAO (Fudan journal), 1981, No. 6, pp. 73-84

"Meiguo yanjiu Qingmo-Minchu Zhongguo lishi de xin dongxiang" (New directions in American historical scholarship on late Qing and early Republican China), in Cai Shangsi et al., eds., LUN QINGMO-MINCHU ZHONGGUO SHEHUI (Essays on late Qing and early Republican Chinese society) (Shanghai: Fudan Daxue Chubanshe, 1983), pp. 317-357 [fuller treatment of FUDAN XUEBAO piece bearing same title]

"Sinological Shadowboxing: Myers and Metzger on the State of Modern China Studies in America," REPUBLICAN CHINA, 9.1:5-10 (Oct. 1983)

"The Quest for Liberalism in the Chinese Past: Stepping Stone to a Cosmopolitan World or the Last Stand of Western Parochialism?--A Review of THE LIBERAL TRADITION IN CHINA by Wm. Theodore de Bary," PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST, 35.3:305-310 (July 1985)

"'State' Domination of the China Field: Reality or Fantasy? A Reply to Robert Marks," MODERN CHINA, 11.4:510-518 (Oct. 1985)

"A Reply to Professor Wm. Theodore de Bary," PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST, 35.4:413-417 (Oct. 1985)

Review essay on Jacques Gernet, CHINA AND THE CHRISTIAN IMPACT: A CONFLICT OF CULTURES (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), HARVARD JOURNAL OF ASIATIC STUDIES, 47.2:674-683 (Dec. 1987)

"Self-Strengthening in 'China-Centered' Perspective: The Evolution of American Historiography," in QINGJI ZIQIANG YUNDONG YANTAOHUI LUNWEN JI (Collected papers from the Conference on the Self-Strengthening Movement in the Late Qing) (Taibei: Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, 1988), I, 3-35

"Our Proper Concerns as Historians of China: A Reply to Michael Gasster," THE AMERICAN ASIAN REVIEW, 6.1:1-24 (Spring 1988)

"The Post-Mao Reforms in Historical Perspective," JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, 47.3:518-540 (Aug. 1988)

"Introduction" (coauthored with Merle Goldman), in Paul A. Cohen and Merle Goldman, eds., IDEAS ACROSS CULTURES: ESSAYS ON CHINESE THOUGHT IN HONOR OF BENJAMIN I. SCHWARTZ (Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1990), pp. 1-13

"Response to Introduction: Situational versus Systemic Factors in Societal Evolution," in Ramon Myers, ed., TWO SOCIETIES IN OPPOSITION: THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AFTER FORTY YEARS (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1990), pp. xlvii-liv

"The Contested Past: The Boxers as History and Myth," JOURNAL OF ASIAN 7 Paul A. Cohen 7 STUDIES, 51.1:82-113 (Feb. 1992)

"You zhengyi de wangshi: zuo wei lishi yu shenhua de Yihetuan" (The contested past: The Boxers as history and myth) [Chinese version of preceding article], in YIHETUAN YUNDONG YU JINDAI ZHONGGUO SHEHUI GUOJI XUESHU TAOLUNHUI LUNWEN JI (Collected articles from the international conference on the Boxer movement and modern Chinese society) (Jinan: Qi-Lu Shushe, 1992)

"John King Fairbank (24 May 1907-14 September 1991)" [biographical memoir], PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, 137.2:279-284 (June 1993)

"Cultural China: Some Definitional Issues," PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST, 43.3:557-563 (July 1993)

"Wo de xueshu shengya" (My scholarly career), WENSHIZHE (Literature, history, and philosophy), 2 (March 1994): 61- 63

"Wo de laoshi Fei Zhengqing" (My teacher John King Fairbank), WENSHIZHE, 3 (May 1994): 72-75, 71

Foreword to Edward V. Gulick, TEACHING IN WARTIME CHINA: A PHOTO-MEMOIR, 1937-1939 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995)

"ZAI ZHONGGUO FAXIAN LISHI xin xu" (New preface to DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA), LISHI YANJIU (Historical research), 6 (December 1996): 95-105; reprinted in 2005 expanded edition of Zhonghua Book Co. translation of DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA, pp. 227-45

Preface to second paperback edition of DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996)

"Imagining the Red Lanterns," BERLINER CHINA-HEFTE, 12 (May 1997): 83-97

"Yi renleixue guandian kan Yihetuan" (Anthropological perspectives on the Boxers), ERSHIYI SHIJI (Twenty-first century), 45 (February 1998): 93-102

"Lijie guoqu de san tiao tujing: Zuowei shijian, jingyan he shenhua de Yihetuan" (Three pathways toward understanding the past: The Boxers as event, experience, and myth), SHIJIE HANXUE (World sinology), 1 (May 1998): 122-132

Review essay: Daniel H. Bays, ed., CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA: FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), CHINA REVIEW INTERNATIONAL, 5.1 (Spring 1998): 1-16

"Ershi shiji wanqi Zhong-Xi zhi jian de zhishi jiaoliu" (Knowledge flows between China and the West in the late twentieth century), WENSHIZHE, 4 (June 1998): 21-29

"Time, Culture, and Christian Eschatology: The Year 2000 in the West and the World," AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, 104.5 (December 1999): 1615-1628

“Memorial to Benjamin I. Schwartz,” (coauthored with Merle Goldman and Roderick MacFarquhar), CHINA QUARTERLY, No. 161 (March 2000), pp. 299-301

"Introduction: Politics, Myth, and the Real Past," TWENTIETH-CENTURY CHINA, 26.2 April 2001): 1-15

"The Asymmetry in Intellectual Relations between China and the West in the Twentieth Century," in Zhang Qixiong [Chi-hsiung Chang], ed., ERSHI SHIJI DE ZHONGGUO YU SHIJIE: LUNWEN XUANJI (China and the world in the twentieth century: selected essays) (Taibei: Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, 2001), 1:61-93

"Yihetuan, Jidutu, he shen: Cong zongjiao zhanzheng jiaodu kan 1900 nian de Yihetuan douzheng" (Boxers, Christians, and the gods: The Boxer conflict of 1900 seen as a religious war), LISHI YANJIU, 1 (February 2001): 17-28

"Remembering and Forgetting the Twenty-One Demands: A Case Study in Manipulation of National Memory," MEASURING HISTORICAL HEAT: EVENT, PERFORMANCE, AND IMPACT IN CHINA AND THE WEST (conference volume published online at the following website: sun.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/conf) (November 2001)

"Reflections on a Watershed Date: The 1949 Divide in Chinese History," in Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, ed., TWENTIETH-CENTURY CHINA: NEW APPROACHES (London: Routledge, 2002)

"Remembering and Forgetting National Humiliation in Twentieth-Century China," TWENTIETH-CENTURY CHINA, 27.2 (April 2002):1-39

"Yihetuan, Jidutu, he shen: Cong zongjiao zhanzheng jiaodu kan 1900 nian de Yihetuan douzheng" [same as article of same title above], in Su Weizhi and Liu Tianlu, eds., YIHETUAN YUNDONG 100 ZHOUNIAN GUOJI XUESHU TAOLUNHUI LUNWEN JI (Collected essays from the international conference on the 100th anniversary of the Boxer movement) (Jinan: Shandong Daxue Chubanshe, 2002), 1: 59-80

"Zhongguo zhongxinguan de youlai ji qi fazhan: Kewen jiaoshou fangtan lu" (The origins and development of the China-centered approach: Transcript of interview with Professor Paul A. Cohen), SHILIN, 4 (Nov. 2002): 32-42

"Biandongzhong de Zhongguo lishi yanjiu shijiao" (Evolving perspectives on the Chinese past), ERSHIYI SHIJI 78 (August 2003): 34-49; reprinted in 2005 expanded edition of Zhonghua Book Co. translation of DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA, pp. 246-76

"Between China and America: The Career of Madame Chiang Kai-shek," WELLESLEY 88.2 (Winter 2004): 34-38

"Shixue yanjiu de biaoqian baozheng" (The tyranny of labels in historical studies), ERSHIYI SHIJI 87 (February 2005): 118-119

Foreword to Ye Weili (with Ma Xiaodong), GROWING UP IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC: CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN TWO DAUGHTERS OF CHINA'S REVOLUTION (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

"Humanizing the Boxers," in Robert Bickers and R.G. Tiedemann, eds., THE BOXERS, CHINA, AND THE WORLD (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), pp. 179-97

"Epilogue: Thoughts in Response," pp. 204-208, in "Forum: Reflections on Paul A. Cohen's Contributions to Chinese Historical Studies," CHINESE HISTORICAL REVIEW 14.2 (Fall 2007): 179-211

Biography of Wang Tao (coauthored with Elizabeth Sinn), in May Holdsworth and Christopher Munn, eds., DICTIONARY OF HONG KONG BIOGRAPHY, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012)

Biography of Hong Ren'gan, in May Holdsworth and Christopher Munn, eds., DICTIONARY OF HONG KONG BIOGRAPHY, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012)

"Goujian gushi zai 20 shiji Zhongguo: Kua wenhua shijiao" (The Goujian story in 20th-century China: Cross-cultural perspectives), in Xu Jilin and Zhu Zhenghui, eds., SHIHUACI YU ZHONGGUO (Schwartz and China) (Changchun: Jilin chuban jituan youxian zeren gongsi, 2008), pp. 427-50

"Coming Distractions: Speaking to History" (interview), in THE CHINA BEAT, Sept. 26, 2008: http://thechinabeat.blogspot.com/2008/09/coming-distractions-speaking-to-history.html

"Story and History: Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Policy, and the Saga of King Goujian," forthcoming in conference volume generated by "Re-assessing Chiang Kai-shek: An 10 Paul A. Cohen 10 International Dialogue" conference (Ontario, Canada, August 2009)

"Boxer Uprising," in David Pong, editor in chief, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN CHINA (Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons/Gale Cengage Learning, 2009), pp. 146-48

"Introduction to the 2010 Reissue: Further Reflections on the China-Centered Approach to Chinese History," in DISCOVERING HISTORY IN CHINA: AMERICAN HISTORICAL WRITING ON THE RECENT CHINESE PAST (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), pp. xxxix-lxv

"The Tenacity of Culture: Old Stories in the New China," in William C. Kirby, ed., THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AT 60: AN INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center for the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, 2011), pp. 388-400.

“Boxers, Christians, and the Gods: The Boxer Conflict of 1900 as a Religious War,” in Vincent Goossaert, ed., CRITICAL READINGS ON RELIGIONS OF CHINA, 4 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 4:1451-80)

“Peter Hessler: Teacher, Archaeologist, Anthropologist, Travel Writer, Master Storyteller,” forthcoming in JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, May 2013 issue

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies