Pierre Fuller


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Modern Chinese history History of humanitarianism Environmental history History of media


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I am a historian with a research focus on social, cultural and environmental aspects of modern Chinese history, and teaching interests in East Asian and World history more broadly. My research reaches into the areas of humanitarianism, media studies, and rural studies, focusing on North and Northwest China in particular.

I received my BA in both English Literature and Theology from Georgetown University in 1998, and my PhD in History from the University of California, Irvine, in 2011, during which I spent time in China on a Fulbright and a Harvard-Yenching/Peking University Fellowship in Advanced Chinese Studies. Afterwards, I taught in the History Departments at Skidmore College in upstate New York (2011-12) and the University of Manchester in the UK (2012-19) before coming to Monash in 2020. For the academic year 2015-16, I was a visiting research fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. That same year I also launched DisasterHistory.org.

My book Famine Relief in Warlord China, which came out in 2019, provides a detailed window onto everyday responses to a North China food crisis in 1920 for what it reveals about poor relief, disaster governance and social values and practices in early republican China.

I am currently completing the manuscript of a second monograph, tentatively titled Modern Erasures: Revolutionary Memory and the Shaping of the Chinese Past, on popular perceptions of recent Chinese social relations and their political uses in the revolutionary programs of the twentieth century.

My research is discussed in further detail on my website.

Research interests

North and Northwest China (urban and rural life in Huabei, Manchuria, and the loess plateau)

Social networks (urban/rural relations)

Environmental history (ecological crisis and response)

Political culture (revolution and ideological practice)

Rural studies (social organization and relations)

Media studies (the development of newspapers, gazetteers, and other print media)

Humanitarianism (local and international disaster relief governance, practices and discourse)

Ethics (value systems, practices and perceptions)

Supervision interests

I have taught and supervised across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels in modern and early modern East Asian and World history. I am as interested in teaching and advising on research methods and writing as I am on the subject of history itself, and equally enjoy working with students pursuing advanced degrees in History and those seeking to take their historical studies into different fields and careers.

I welcome the opportunity to supervise honours and postgraduate research on East Asian and Southeast Asian history (both rural and urban) from the nineteenth century to the present, and global or transnational aspects of environmental history, humanitarianism, and media studies. I am also a great believer in the crucial role of language study in the development of research skills and historical perspective.

Research area keywords

  • Chinese History
  • Humanitarianism
  • Rural Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Political Cultures
  • Environmental History
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