Durham University

Department of History

Staff Profile

Professor Paul Bailey

Professor Emeritus (Modern Chinese History) in the Department of History

Contact Professor Paul Bailey (email at paul.bailey@durham.ac.uk)

Paul J Bailey specialises in the social and cultural history of modern China. He grew up in Malaya (as it then was) and West Germany (as it then was) before taking a BA Honours degree in Chinese Studies at Leeds University. He then obtained an MA in Chinese and Japanese history and politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), and did his doctorate at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he was also a teaching assistant and the recipient of a Killam doctoral fellowship.While doing his doctorate he spent a year (1980-1981) at Beijing University, China, as a British Council postgraduate scholar. During his time in China he was also a part-time 'stringer' for United Press International, reporting on local news and translating items from the Chinese press.He formerly taught at Lingnan College (Hong Kong)(teaching English language and literature, as well as coaching part-time the College football team), Berlitz International Language School in Paris, School of Oriental Studies (University of Durham) (teaching Chinese literary and philosophical texts,Chinese civilisation, modern Chinese history) , Sevenoaks School (teaching European and American history), University of British Columbia, Canada (teaching a summer course on modern Japanese history), and the University of Edinburgh (teaching elementary Chinese and Japanese, Chinese literary and historical texts, Chinese civilisation, modern Chinese history, modern Vietnamese history, modern Japanese history). While at Durham (1983-1984) he co-directed and acted in a Chinese play (performed in Chinese by Durham students), and while at Edinburgh helped promote public interest in the Chinese 'new wave' cinema of the 1980s, giving a public lecture on the subject at the National Museum of Scotland (in 1989) and organising a one-day workshop on contemporary Chinese cinema at the Edinburgh Filmhouse (in 1991). Professor Bailey was a Visiting Research Fellow at National Taiwan University (1997) and at the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong (2000), and has twice been a British Academy exchange scholar in China (1995, 2000). He has published monographs on Chinese gender and educational history as well as narrative histories of modern and contemporary East Asia. His research has been funded by grants from the Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, AHRB/AHRC, Carnegie Trust, Japan Foundation, and the British Universities China Committee. He has recently started a new research project that explores the ways in which female crime and discourses of female criminality can illuminate social and economic change (as well as processes of nation-building) in twentieth-century China. Future research projects are (1) Creating Difference: Discursive and Visual Representations of Foreign Women in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Women's Magazines (2) A Genealogy of Chinese Overseas Labour: From "Coolie" to "Transnational Agent" (19th-21st Centuries) (3) Communism and Feminism in Early Twentieth-Century China: The Life and Times of Xiang Jingyu (1895-1928) (4) History, Myth and Identity in Chinese and Japanese Cinema. From academic year 2011-2012 he will be Co- Director of the Chinese Studies degree programme at Durham. Since 2011 Professor Bailey has also been a Faculty member of the International College (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China), where he gives lectures for the University's international MA in Chinese Studies.

Research Interests

  • Gender in twentieth century China
  • Educational thought and practice in twentieth century China
  • Sino-French interaction in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Cinema and Chinese modernity

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Print)

  • Bailey, Paul (1994). Chinese Cinema Yesterday and Today’. China Now no.151: 8-11.
  • . (1993). 300 entries on Chinese and Japanese historical figures and events. Chambers Dictionary of World History
  • Bailey, Paul (1988). The Life and Times of Puyi, China’s Last Emperor. Britain-China Newsletter no.37: 10-15.
  • Bailey, Paul (1987). China and the French Revolution. Bulletin of the British Association of Chinese Studies 17-26.

Translated Book

  • Bailey, Paul (trans.) (1993). Hoizey, Dominique, Hoizey, Marie-Joseph, A History of Chinese Medicine (Histoire de la médecine chinoise.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 224 pp
  • Bailey, Paul. (trans.) (1988). Bastid, Marianne, Educational Reform in Early Twentieth Century China (Aspects de la réforme de l'enseignement en Chine au début du 20e siècle). Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan xx+331 pp

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