Professor Henrietta Harrison

Stanley Ho Fellow and Tutor in Chinese, Professor of Modern Chinese Studies

Professor Henrietta Harrison is a specialist on the social and cultural history of modern China.  Her research interests include local history, rural north China, religion, and the experience of revolution.  She is also interested in studying transnational history from a local perspective and interactions between China and Europe.  Before coming to Oxford she taught in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds, and in the Department of History at Harvard University.  

Detailed Biography

Professor Harrison's first book was on the political history of Republican China:  The Making of the Republican Citizen: Ceremonies and Symbols in China, 1911-1929 (Oxford University Press, 2000). Both of her most recent projects have been micro-histories and she has made extensive use of fieldwork in China, especially conducting oral history interviews and collecting village-level materials, as well as using more conventional archives and libraries.  This has resulted in two books: The Man Awakened from Dreams: One Man’s Life in a North China Village 1857-1942 (Stanford University Press, 2005) and The Missionary’s Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village (University of California Press, 2013) - a review of the latter is available online on New Books Network.

Research interests

Professor Harrison currently has two ongoing research projects.  The first is a study of the interpreters for the first British embassy to China in 1793, a story stretching from Gansu to Naples as well as London and Beijing (find our more on the Oxford China Centre website).  The second is a large-scale study of personal experiences of the communist revolution in China, focusing on the years from 1948 to 1952 when the Communist Party actually took power across the country.