Dr Pierre Fuller


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Pierre Fuller is a historian of modern China. His research interests have focused on understandings and forms of disaster relief and philanthropy in late 19th and 20th century China, as well as rural society and the role and development of media on the mainland over the same period. His monograph Famine Relief in Warlord China (forthcoming, Harvard University Asia Center) focuses on a moment otherwise known for international relief contributions in China, and instead places native relief networks and refugee reception at centre stage, shedding light on the volume and variety of indigenous relief efforts in Beijing, rural Zhili (Hebei) province and Manchuria during severe drought in the pre-Nationalist Chinese republic.

For the 2015-16 academic year, he was a research fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, where he worked on a new book project examining the politicisation of humanitarian crises. The project examines the documentation and cultural memory of natural disaster by focusing on the shaping of public perceptions of rural society and governance during the major Haiyuan (Gansu) earthquake of 1920 by revolutionary activists and May Fourth intellectuals in China on the eve of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Before joining the department at Manchester in 2012, he received his BA from Georgetown University and his PhD from the University of California, Irvine, where his research was funded by a Fulbright, a Schaeffer Fellowship, and a Harvard-Yenching Institute/Peking University Fellowship in Advanced Chinese Studies.

He is also founding editor of the online resource DisasterHistory.org, a collaborative effort by historians to provide a multimedia web-based repository of research on natural and man-made disaster in China’s past.

Further information

Other Writings

"Civic Action in China draws on an old tradition," chinadialogue: china and the world discuss the environment, August 28, 2017.

"Disasters in Chinese history," Special Issue, China Information, July 10, 2017 (online publication date).

"Music Lessons," Times Literary Supplement, October 19, 2016 (review of Madeleine Thien's novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing)

"Sycophants and Cannibals," Times Literary Supplement, August 7, 2015 (review of Yan Lianke's novel The Four Books)i

"The Dog: Stories and The Incarnations: Fictional Forays to a Familiarly Exotic China," Los Angeles Review of Books, November 26, 2014

Leftist Politics in Interwar China, 1919-1937,”Dissertation Reviews, January 14, 2014 (review of The Politics of Everyday Life: Non-Party Leftists in Republican China, 1919-1937, by Zhu Qian)

Review of Standen, Naomi (ed.) (2013), Demystifying China. New Understandings of Chinese History, Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 244 pages, Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies Vol. 2 July 2013

China’s Charitable Past,” Op-ed, International Herald Tribune, September 29, 2010
A Bible for Beijing,” China Heritage Quarterly, September 2010

"Punks at Kinko's," The China Beat: Blogging How the East Is Read, February 19, 2009
"Beijing a la Jasper Becker," The China Beat: Blogging How the East Is Read, September 1, 2008

Culture and Collapse,” The China Beat: Blogging How the East Is Read, May 30, 2008








  • China; East Asia; social history; disaster; humanitarianism; famine relief; environmental history; media

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