Rana Mitter will receive the 2020 Norton Medlicott Medal

Rana Mitter will receive the 2020 Norton Medlicott Medal awarded by the Historical Association (HA) for outstanding services and current contributions to History. See here for past winners.

The Historical Association said:

‘The Medlicott Award is named after a distinguished past HA president, Professor W.N. Medlicott. Nominations are made by individual members of the Association, branch officers and members of council for the Executive to decide at their annual autumn meeting. The criteria state that ‘it is important to choose recipients whose distinction is already apparent and can be made readily apparent to the general public as well as to members of the Association.’ It is quite clear that Professor Mitter meets all these criteria.

Professor Mitter will receive the Medlicott Medal this summer at the HA annual awards evening and will provide that evening’s key address. The date will be confirmed soon, and places are available to all HA members free of charge. Please email info@history.org.uk to register your interest in attending.’

Rana Mitter said:

‘It’s an immense honour to be awarded the Medlicott Medal, which has been held by such a wide range of distinguished historians. I’m particularly pleased that Chinese history has been noted this year – at a time when the rise of China means that that country will have an impact on all of our lives, it’s more and more important for us to have a clear sense of the historical forces that have shaped it.’

Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the UK, at the China Centre


Europe, the World and Beyond

This year’s China Centre Distinguished Lecture was given on 25 November 2019 in the form of a conversation with Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the UK. The conversation was followed by discussion and many questions from the audience.

Peter Wittig has been German Ambassador to the United Kingdom since July 2018. From 2014 to 2018 he served as German Ambassador to the United States. Prior to this he was German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. He was elected President of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and served twice as President of the UN Security Council during Germany’s term as member of the Security Council. Wittig joined the German Foreign Service in 1982. He has served at the Embassy in Madrid; at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York; as private secretary to the Foreign Minister and as Ambassador to Lebanon and to Cyprus. He was the German Government Special Envoy on the ‘Cyprus question’ (the division of Cyprus).

Prior to joining the German Foreign Office Wittig gained a PhD on a topic in modern British History for which he did extensive research at Nuffield College in Oxford. He taught History of Ideas and Political Theory at the University of Freiburg.


UK-China Arts and Humanities Forum

The China Centre was delighted to support the UK-China Arts and Humanities Forum (26 October 2019). The event was co-hosted by Oxford Global Exchanges Society, University of Oxford, and with the kind support of the Ashmolean Museum.

The conference sessions covered the following topics:  ‘The Public Value of Literature, Cultural, and Critical Theory’, ‘The Transformation of the Paradigm of Cultural Criticism in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’, ‘The Diversified Feminine Ecological Writing’; ‘International Education in the Arts’, ‘International Film Education: From the Technical to the Conceptual’, and ‘Can Creativity be Taught’.

Speakers in the conference came from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Nanjing University of the Arts, Royal College of Art, the Ruskin School of Art, Said Business School, the Ashmolean Museum, and the University of Oxford.

The China Centre was delighted to host the guest lecture by Professor Liu Yuejin, President of the Institute of Literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His talk on the Forty Years Trend in Chinese Literary Studies was very well attended and the in-conversation segment with Dr Christopher Foster, Stanley Ho Junior Research Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford engaged dynamic discussions with the audience on the topics of Contemporary and Qin and Han Literature.


(Photo credits to Ling Tang)

China Centre hosts UK-China Humanities Alliance conference

The China Centre was delighted to host a UK-China Humanities Alliance conference on ‘China and global history’ (17 September 2019). The event was co-hosted by the Global History & Culture Centre, University of Warwick (16 September), and with the kind support of the British Council.

The conference sessions covered the following topics:  ‘The Chinese empire in global context’, ‘Writing history globally’, ‘China’s history of medicine in a global perspective’, ‘Narrating the history of China in a global context’, China’s postwar and changing institutions’, ‘China and changing world order’, and ‘War, postwar, and memory’.

Participants in the conference came from Beijing Capital Normal University, Chulalongkorn University, Fudan University, Leiden University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Peking University, Renmin University of China, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and University of Warwick. 










Three celebrated Chinese writers visit the Bodleian Library

On 12 June, Mamtimyn Sunuodula,  Head of East Asia and HD Chung Chinese Studies Librarian, hosted a reception at the Bodleian Library in honour of three most celebrated contemporary Chinese writers: Mo Yan, Su Tong and Yu Hua. All three authors donated their works  to the Library.  A special calligraphy scroll, prepared  by Mo Yan himself, was an additional gift.

Following the  book donation ceremony, the guests were shown some of the Bodleian’s Chinese treasures and given a tour of Duke Humfrey’s Library.

Richard Ovenden and Mo Yan
Mo Yan and Mamtimyn Sunuodula



Rana Mitter recognised for his work on China in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours

The Director of the University of Oxford China Centre, Rana Mitter, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education. Prof Mitter’s research focuses on the political and cultural history of China, including past and present Chinese policy.

On hearing the news, Prof Mitter responded: ‘China is becoming increasingly important in the public life of the UK. It’s been immensely fulfilling to help bring the work of the Oxford’s China Studies community to a wider audience through the China Centre and other forms of engagement. I’m honoured to have been awarded an OBE for my part in that process.’

Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College.

Oxford academics recognised in 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours