Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
On leave 2020-2021
Michael Szonyi is Professor of Chinese History and Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. He is a social historian of late imperial and modern China. His research focuses on the local history of southeast China, from the Ming dynasty to the twenty-first century, using a combination of traditional textual sources and ethnographic-style fieldwork. His books include The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China (Princeton, 2017); A Companion to Chinese History (Wiley, 2017); Practicing Kinship (Stanford, 2002) and Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line (Cambridge, 2008; Chinese edition National Taiwan University Press 2016). He is also co-editor, with Jennifer Rudolph, of The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power (Harvard, 2017), a work celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the Fairbank Center. Szonyi received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has also studied at National Taiwan University and Xiamen University. Professor Szonyi taught previously at McGill University and University of Toronto, where he received tenure in 2002. Szonyi came to Harvard in 2005, and was named John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities in 2007 and Professor of Chinese History in 2009. He has a joint appointment in the Department of History. Szonyi has served previously as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Chair of the Committee on Regional Studies – East Asia (RSEA) AM program.
Additional Websites: Imperial History
Cambridge, MA 02138