About the Authors

Thank you to our authors Dr Yangwen Zeng of the University of Manchester, Professor Rana Mitter and Professor Patricia Thornton of the University of Oxford and Professor Arne Westad of the London School of Economics.

1. Dr Yangwen Zheng

Born and raised in China, I was educated at Oberlin College (BA 1995), Université de Strasbourg, and King's College, University of Cambridge (MPhil 1997 and PhD 2001).  Then I taught and researched at the University of Pennsylvania (2002-04) and the National University of Singapore (2004-06) before joining the University of Manchester in January 2007. My major publications include: The Social Life of Opium in China (Cambridge University Press 2005), The Body in Asia (Berghahn Books, 2009)The Cold War in Asia: The Battle for Hearts and Minds (Brill, 2010)

2. Arne Westad is professor of international history and an expert on contemporary international affairs. He is the general editor of the forthcoming three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War and an editor of the journal Cold War History. His latest book, The Global Cold War, won the Bancroft Prize, the Harrington Award of the American Political Science Association, and the Akira Iriye International History Award.  It has been translated into twelve languages.

Born in Norway, Professor Westad studied history, philosophy and modern languages at the University of Oslo and received his PhD in history from the University of North Carolina in 1990. During the 1980s he worked for several international aid agencies in Southern Africa and South Asia. He has taught at the University of North Carolina and at Johns Hopkins University and served for eight years as Director of Research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. Since 1998 he has been in the Department of International History at LSE, where he teaches Cold War history and the history of East Asia. He served as head of department from 2004-07 and is now co-director of LSE IDEAS, the LSE's centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy.

Professor Westad is the general editor (with Professor Melvyn Leffler of the University of Virginia) of the three volume Cambridge History of the Cold War (CHCW), to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.  With 75 contributors from 18 countries, the CHCW is the preeminent international history of the conflict and its repercussions.

Professor Westad has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, Hong Kong University, and New York University. He has been the recipient of major grants from the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council. He has served as the international co-ordinator of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Advisory Group on Declassification and Archival Access and has advised several other governments on such issues. He now heads the British Academy's documentary project on British-Russian relations during the Cold War.  He is also widely known as a reviewer, lecturer and external examiner (including at the University of Hong Kong, which he has served since 2004).  In 2000, Professor Westad was awarded the Bernath Lecture Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Professor Westad often lectures to general audiences in different parts of the world on key issues in international affairs, such as China's foreign policy and the situations in Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Professor Westad's main books are:  

The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Cambridge University Press, 2006. 

Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950, Stanford University Press, 2003.

(With Melvyn Leffler, eds.) The Cambridge History of the Cold War, Cambridge University Press (three vols.; forthcoming November 2009).

J.M. Roberts, The New Penguin History of the World, 5th edition. Revised and updated by OA Westad, Penguin, 2008.

(with Sophie Quinn-Judge, eds.) The Third Indochina War: Conflict between China, Vietnam and Cambodia, 1972-79, Routledge, 2006.

(with Jussi Hanhimaki, eds.) The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. Oxford University Press, 2003.

The Fall of Détente: Soviet American Relations during the Carter Years, Scandinavian University Press, 1997.

Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War.   Columbia University Press, 1993.

Professor Westad is now working on an international history of China since 1750.

3. Professor Rana Mitter M.A., Ph.D. University Lecturer in Modern Chinese History and Politics, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford.

Research Interests

Rana Mitter has published on the political and cultural history of twentieth-century China, and is currently working on the connections between war and nationalism in China from the 1930s to the present. His interests include the Republican period (1912-1949), the Cold War and Sino-Japanese relations.

Selected Publications:

  • 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Nationalism, History and Memory in the Beijing War of Resistance Museum, 1987-1997', The China Quarterly. Vol 161 (2000)
  • The Manchurian Myth: Nationalism, Resistance, and Collaboration in Modern China. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000)
  • 'Old ghosts, new memories: China's changing war history in the era of post-Mao politics', Journal of Contemporary History. Vol 38(1) (2003)
  • A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World. (Oxford, 2004)
  • (ed.) Across the Blocs: Cold War Cultural and Social History . (London, 2004)
  • 'Modernity, Internationalization, and War in the History of Modern China', The Historical Journal. Vol 48, 2 (2005) pp. 523-543
  • '"Cold War Culture"' in Advances in Cold War History. (London, 2006)
  • ''Life' as they knew it: Du Zhongyuan's Editorial Strategies for the Xinsheng (New Life) Weekly, 1934-35' in Reading China: Fiction, History and the Dynamics of Discourse. (Leiden, 2006)
  • '"Le devoir de la memoire: histoire, trauma et le massacre de Nankin"', Vingtieme Siecle. (2006)
  • (ed.) Ruptured Histories: War and Memory in Post-Cold War Asia . (Cambridge, Mass., 2007)

4. Dr Patricia Thornton, Merton College, University of Oxford.

Research Interests

In the broadest possible sense, my research focuses on mapping the interactions-including institutions, practices and networks-between state and social forces over time. In Disciplining the State: Virtue, Violence and State-making in Modern China (2007), I argued that the process of state-making in China has been driven by normative and normalizing goals, aiming not only to impose a particular moral order on society, but also to make the presence of the state at the center of that totalizing vision appear both natural and necessary. At the same time, in the Chinese case, periodic expansions of the state apparatus were curbed by a conservative calculus that weighed incremental increases in the size and scope of the administration against the projected costs required to support it. The historical result has been a minimalist state that relies upon the intermittent mobilization of social forces to realize a range of ambitious goals. In Identity Matters: Ethnic and Sectarian Conflict (2007), a cross-disciplinary volume that I co-edited under the auspices of the Fulbright New Century Scholars Program, I worked with a group of international scholars seeking to, in Charles Tilly's words, "get identity right," by exploring the relationships between collective identity and conflict through a variety of case studies. My contribution to the volume focused on the crackdown against so-called "evil and heretical sects" in contemporary China, and the reemergence of some of these groups as "cybersects," as the members struggle to maintain their practices and organizations in the face of severe repression.

My current research examines the historic interventions of the Chinese state to govern through the realm of culture, and to exert control over markets through the management of consumption. I have also written on and continue to research shifting modes of popular contention and related forms of collective action, and am particularly interested in the impact of the internet on the expression and organization of dissent.

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