Elizabeth J. Perry

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Elizabeth J. Perry (Chinese name: Chinese: 裴宜理; pinyin: Péi Yílǐ, born 1948) is a prominent United States scholar of Chinese politics and history in the Department of Government, Harvard University (United States) where she is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and served recently as President of the Association for Asian Studies.

Born shortly before the communist revolution in mainland China to Episcopal missionary parents who were professors at St. John's University in Shanghai, Elizabeth Perry was raised in Tokyo, Japan on the campus of Rikkyo University (where her parents also taught). She later returned to the United States and attended Hobart and William Smith College (1966–1969). In 1978, she received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. She was an early member of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars.

Perry's research focuses on popular protest and grassroots political behavior in China since approximately 1845. Her book, Shanghai on Strike: the Politics of Chinese Labor (1993) won the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association.


  • 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)
  • Shanghai on Strike (1993)
  • 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 Chinese State (2005)
  • Grassroots Political Reform in Contemporary China (2007)
  • Mao's Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governanace in China (2011)
  • Anyuan: Mining China's revolutionary tradition (2012)

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