Professor Beverley Hooper

BA (Tasmania), MA, PhD (Australian National)

School of East Asian Studies

Emeritus professor of Chinese Studies


I am a social historian of modern and contemporary China. My research has dealt with the Western experience in China and issues concerning the youth generation, gender and consumer rights in the post-Mao reform era.

Since studying in Beijing in 1975-77 as an early participant in student exchanges with the PRC, I have undertaken a number of research projects in China sponsored by organisations including the British Academy and the Australian Academy of the Humanities in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Before coming to Sheffield in 2000, I was Foundation Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Western Australia. I also served on the Australian Government’s Australia-China Council and in 1995-96 as President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.

Research interests

My current research focuses on Westerners in China during the Mao era. My book Foreigners under Mao: Western Lives in China 1949-1976 examines the lives of six groups of Westerners: ‘foreign comrades’, twenty-two former Korean War POWs who chose China ahead of repatriation, diplomats, foreign correspondents, ‘foreign experts’ and language students.

The book reveals that Mao’s China was not as closed to Western residents as has conventionally been portrayed, particularly but not only in the United States, and shows how their everyday lives were affected by the tumultuous politics of the Mao years as well as by the communist government’s specific policies towards them.

Hong Kong publication: July 2016.
European and North American publication: November 2016. Available from Amazon and Columbia University Press


Books, edited books and monographs

The Private Journal of James Burney (edited and annotations). Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1975.

Inside Peking: A Personal Report. London: McDonald & Jane’s, 1979.

Youth in China. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985.

China Stands Up: Ending the Western Presence, 1948-1950, London: Allen & Unwin, 1986.

[with Tim Wright] China, (Asia-Australia Briefing Papers), vol.1, no.2. Sydney: The Asia-Australia Institute, 1991. A revised second edition was published as Asia-Australia Briefing Papers, vol. 2, no. 7, 1993.

[edited with David S.G. Goodman] China's Quiet Revolution: New Interactions Between State and Society. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

Foreigners under Mao: Western Lives in China, 1949-1976. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016.

Articles in scholarly journals and books
‘The Australia-China Student Exchange Scheme: Could it be More Effective?’, Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 1, 1979: 113-24.

‘China’s Modernisation: Are Young women Going to Lose Out’, Modern China, 10.3, 1984: 317-43.

The Youth Problem: Deviations from the Socialist road’, in Graham Young, ed., China: Dilemmas of Modernisation. London: Croom Helm, 1985, 199-236.

‘The Great Divide: Gender and Chinese Politics’, Asian Studies Review, 13.1, 1989:12-18.

‘Re-evaluating Chinese Youth’, Asian Studies Review, 14.1, 1990: 25-30.

‘Gender and Education’, in Irving Epstein, ed., Chinese Education: Problems, Policies, and Prospects. New York: Garland Publishing, 1991, 352-74.

‘Rethinking Contemporary China’, Asian Studies Review, 16.1, 1992: 89-105.

(Reprint of the Fifty-second George Ernest Morrison Lecture in Ethnology, Canberra, 1991).

‘The Unpromised Land: A Jewish Refugee settlement in the Kimberley?’, in Aspects of Ethnicity in Western Australia, ed. Richard Bosworth and Margot Melia. Perth: Centre for Western Australian History, 1991, 85-94.

‘Women, Consumerism and the State in post-Mao China’, Asian Studies Review, 17.3, 1994: 73-83.

‘From Mao to Madonna: Sources on Contemporary Chinese culture’, Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, 22, 1994: 161-69.

'"Flower Vase and Housewife": Women in China's Consumer Society', in Krishna Sen and Maila Stivens, ed., Gender and Power in Affluent Asia. London: Routledge, 1998, 167-93.

‘Researching Women’s Lives in Contemporary China’, in Antonia Finnane and Anne McLaren, ed., Dress, Sex and Text in Chinese Culture. Melbourne: Monash Asia Institute, 1999, 243-62.

‘Globalisation and Resistance in post-Mao China: The Case of Foreign Consumer Products’, Asian Studies Review, 24.4, 2000: 439-70.

‘Consumer Voices: Asserting Rights in post-Mao China’ China Information, 14.1, 2000: 92-128.

General articles and working papers
‘Upstairs, Downstairs in “New China”’, Encounter, March 1980: 13-20.

[with David Finkelstein] ‘57 Years inside China: An American’s Odyssey’, Asia (The Asia Society), January/February 1980: 10-11, 46.

‘Popular Books on China: The New Journalistic Wave’, Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 10, 1983: 157-67.

‘Many a Guise’, Australian Left Review, 125, February 1991: 27-29.

'Chinese Youth: The Nineties Generation', Current History, 90, 1991: 264-69.

‘The History of the Teaching of Asian Studies in Australian Universities’, Australian Historical Association Bulletin, 81, 1995: 23-30.

‘Gender equality’, ‘Women (organizations, political role)’, ‘Youth policy and organisations’, in Colin Mackerras, Donald H. McMillen and Andrew Watson, ed., Dictionary of the Politics of the People’s Republic of China. London: Routledge, 1998, 98-9, 230-3, 241-3.

‘Chinese Studies’, in Reference Group for the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Knowing Ourselves and Others: The Humanities in Australia into the 21st Century. Canberra: Australian Research Council, 1998, 57-66.

‘Keeping up with the Wangs: Consuming Desires in post-Mao China’, Asia-Pacific Magazine, 9-10, 1988: 17-22.

‘Fighting the Fakes’, China Review, 22, 2002: 18-19.

The Consumer Citizen in Contemporary China. Working Paper No 12. Lund: Lund University, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, 2005.