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Professor Julia Lovell

  • Overview

    Overview

    This member of staff is currently on sabbatical.

    Biography

    Julia Lovell trained in Chinese studies and history at the University of Cambridge and the Hopkins-Nanjing Centre of Chinese Studies. Her research has so far focused principally on the relationship between culture (specifically, literature, architecture, historiography and sport) and modern Chinese nation-building; and on the wide-ranging impacts of modern China’s encounters with the world beyond its borders.

    She completed her first two books, The Politics of Cultural Capital (Hawai’i University Press, 2006) and The Great Wall (Atlantic Books, 2006) as a Junior Research Fellow at Queen’s College, Cambridge.

     

    In 2007, she began working at Birkbeck. Since then, her main publications have been The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China (Picador/Macmillan, 2011); Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China (Strelka Press, 2012), Maoism: A Global History (Bodley Head/Knopf, 2019) and journal articles including:

     

     "From Beijing to Palestine: Zhang Chengzhi's Journeys from Red Guard Radicalism to Global Islam." In Journal of Asian Studies 75.4 (November 2016): 891-911

    "The Cultural Revolution and Its Legacies in International Perspective". In China Quarterly 227 (September 2016): 632-652

    “The Uses of Foreigners in Mao-Era China: ‘Techniques of Hospitality’ and International Image-Building in the People’s Republic, 1949-1976.” In Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 25 (2015): 135-158.

    “Undesired Outcomes: China’s Approach to Border Disputes during the Early Cold War” (with Zhihua Shen). In Cold War History 15.1 (2015): 89-111.

    She is also an active translator of Chinese literature into English. Her translations include:

    The Matchmaker, The Apprentice and the Football Fan, by Zhu Wen (Columbia University Press, 2013)

    The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Stories of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun (Penguin Classics, 2009)

    Serve the People, by Yan Lianke (Constable and Robinson, 2008)

    I Love Dollars, by Zhu Wen (Columbia University Press, 2007)

    Lust, Caution, by Zhang Ailing (Penguin Classics, 2007)

    A Dictionary of Maqiao by Han Shaogong (Columbia University Press, 2003)

    She is currently co-investigator with the British Museum on an AHRC-funded project, "Cultural Creativity in Qing China, 1796-1912".

     

    Highlights

    • Monkey King, an abridged translation (with introduction) of Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West, Penguin Classics 2021.

    • Co-investigator with the British Museum of AHRC-funded project "Cultural Creativity in Qing China 1796-1912".

    • Maoism: A Global History, Bodley Head and Knopf 2019. Winner of 2019 Cundill Prize for History.

    Qualifications

    • PhD, University of Cambridge, 2002
    • MPhil, University of Cambridge, 1999
    • Diploma in Modern Chinese Studies, Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University, 1998
    • BA Chinese and History, University of Cambridge, 1997
  • Research

    Research

    Research interests

    • Modern Chinese culture and nation-building
    • Modern Chinese literature
    • Late imperial Chinese material culture
    • Transnational histories of China

    Research overview

    My research has so far focused principally on the relationship between culture (specifically, literature, architecture, historiography and sport) and modern Chinese nation-building; and on the wide-ranging impacts of modern China’s encounters with the world beyond its borders.

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching

    This member of staff is currently on sabbatical.

    Supervision

    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in undertaking research in any of my areas of research interest.

    Current Supervisions

    • Joint Principal Supervisor for 4 Birkbeck students
    • Principal Supervisor for 1 Birkbeck students
    • Second Supervisor for 2 Birkbeck students

    Teaching

    I offer BA and MA courses on modern East Asia, 20th-century China, the Cold War, global communism, modern Chinese literature, Asian nationalisms and the history of encounters between China and the West.

  • Publications

    Publications

    Article

    Book