Elizabeth J. Perry

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Elizabeth J. Perry, FBA (Chinese name: Chinese: 裴宜理; pinyin: Péi Yílǐ, born September 9, 1948) is a distinguished 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, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and served as Director of Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research in 1999 to 2003 and as President of the Association for Asian Studies in 2007.

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 Colleges from which she graduated summa cum laude in 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. Before moving to Harvard in 1997, Perry taught at the University of Arizona (Tucson), the University of Washington (Seattle) and the University of California (Berkeley).

Perry's research focuses on the history of the Chinese revolution and its implications for contemporary politics. Her book, Shanghai on Strike: the Politics of Chinese Labor (1993) won the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association. Her article "From Mencius to Mao -- and Now: Chinese Conceptions of Socioeconomic Rights" (2008) won the Heinz Eulau Prize from the American Political Science Association. Professor Perry received honorary doctorate degrees from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The Asian Studies Library at her undergraduate alma mater has been named in her honor. She also holds honorary professorships at eight major Chinese universities.

Bibliography of Monographs and Edited Volumes[edit]

  • Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945 (Stanford, 1980)
  • Chinese Perspectives on the Nien Rebellion (M.E. Sharpe, 1981)
  • The Political Economy of Reform in Post-Mao China (Harvard, 1985)
  • Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China (Westview, 1992)
  • Shanghai on Strike (Stanford, 1993)
  • Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Chinese Cities (Cambridge, 1995)
  • Putting Class in Its Place: Worker Identities in East Asia (UC Berkeley, 1996)
  • Proletarian Power: Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution (Westview, 1997)
  • Danwei: The Changing Chinese Workplace in Historical and Comparative Perspective (M.E. Sharpe, 1997)
  • Chinese Society: Change, Conflict, and Resistance (Routledge, 2000)
  • Silence and Voice in the Study of Contentious Politics (Cambridge, 2001)
  • Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Social Protest and State Power in China (M.E. Sharpe, 2002)
  • Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China (Harvard, 2002)
  • Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citizenship and the Chinese State (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
  • Grassroots Political Reform in Contemporary China (Harvard, 2007)
  • Mao's Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governanace in China (Harvard, 2011)
  • Anyuan: Mining China's revolutionary tradition (California, 2012)
  • Growing Pains in a Rising China (Daedalus, 2014)
  • What is the Best Kind of History? (Zhejiang, 2015) [in Chinese]
  • Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared (Harvard, 2018)
  • Similarity Amidst Difference: Christian Colleges in Republican China (Zhejiang, 2019) [in Chinese]
  • Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (Cambridge, forthcoming)


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