Current Graduate Students

This page provides a small selection of profiles of those students who have volunteered to be mentioned on the website. If you are a current graduate student at the University of Oxford pursuing a degree related to China and you would like your profile to be listed here, please let us know.

DongsobAhn2Thomas Dongsob Ahn (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, University College)

The focus of my research is the rise and spread of the Daoxue 道學 movement (a.k.a. Neo-Confucianism) in the Southern Song. Ideological movements of this sort often, if not always, include committed activists, and a good number of them do not seriously care the philosophy or tenets inherent in the cause. I investigate different cases where people who most probably had not read any Daoxue texts participated and contributed to the spread of it. With Professor Barend ter Haar’s wonderful supervision and with the generosity of Edwin Arnold and Davis Fund, I hope my project bears fruit soon. I have received BA (2009) and MA (2012) degrees from Yonsei University (연세대학교), and also completed MPhil Traditional East Asia (2015, Distinction) at Oxford.


Thomas P. Barrett 白瑞唐 (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, Magdalen College)

Thomas is an AHRC-funded DPhil student in the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Before moving to Oxford to work with Professor Henrietta Harrison, Thomas began his PhD at the University of Tokyo, where he was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science DC2 Research Fellow. His specialism lies in the history of late imperial and early modern China’s international relations and transnational encounters. His DPhil thesis seeks to evaluate the significance of Western middlemen who were employed in late Qing and early Republican China’s legations and consulates, as a means to trace the professionalisation and institutionalisation of Western European diplomacy in the early modern Chinese context. Part of the project was recently published in the renowned Japanese journal Tōyō Gakuhō 東洋学報, and more publications are forthcoming in both Japanese and French. Thomas is also an active academic translator, working with both Japanese and Chinese. The project he was most recently involved with was the English-language version of Okamoto Takashi, ed., A World History of Suzerainty: A Modern History of East and West Asia and Translated Concepts (Tokyo: Toyo Bunko, 2019) [岡本隆司編『宗主権の世界史―東西アジアの近代と翻訳概念』名古屋大学出版会、2014年], in which feature his translations of chapters by Okamoto Takashi and Morita Yoshihiko.  For an overview of Thomas’ publications and translations, please see his Academia page here.

KateKate Costello (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, St Hugh’s College)

Kate Costello is a DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, working on metalinguistic play and bilingualism in the context of modern and contemporary Chinese literature and visual arts. Funded by the Oxford-Mok Graduate Scholarship, her current research locates itself at the critical juncture between area studies, comparative literature, and psycholinguistic criticism. Working under the supervision of Professor Margaret Hillenbrand, her doctoral project focuses on the relationship between bilingualism and linguistic experimentation, examining a wide spectrum of bilingual experience from the early stages of language acquisition to full proficiency. She is also Convener of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Discussion Group. Her research interests include cultural criticism, post-colonial studies, philosophy of language, linguistics, film theory and literary translation.

Samuel Galler2Samuel Galler 黄善铭 (DPhil Candidate in International Development)

Sam is a DPhil student studying International Development at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, with a focus on the development of health-based civil organisations in China. In particular his research examines how organisations manage political hostility and social stigma.

He has worked with a research group called SESH (Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health) in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, which brings together stakeholders to design programmes related to aspects of sexual health including testing, education, and care. He has previously done research on HIV civil organisations in China at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He graduated from Harvard University in 2012 with an MA and BA in East Asian Studies and a Minor in Global Health & Health Policy.  In his free time, he enjoys playing cello, chess, and tennis, singing, salsa-dancing, running, and learning new languages.

Gandolfo2Stefano Gandolfo (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies)

Stefano began reading for a DPhil  in 2016 as an Ertegun Scholar. His focus is on the classification of knowledge in pre-modern China and specifically on the Siku Quanshu, the largest ‘encyclopedic’ compilation of texts ever undertaken in China in the late 18th century. His research aims to understand – from a theoretical perspective – the structural features of the division of knowledge in the Siku Quanshu and to unearth the latent values underpinning the classification. Before joining Oxford, Stefano double-majored in Economics and Philosophy at Yale University (cum laude, Honors in Philosophy) and studied Chinese extensively spending two summers in China as a Light Fellow  Upon graduation, he completed his Master’s degree (taught in Mandarin) as a CGS Scholar in Chinese Philosophy (cum laude, Exceptional Thesis Award, Outstanding International Student Award) at Peking University in Beijing. To date, Stefano has researched and published on issues around Buddhism, from philosophical analyses on Madhyamaka to the introduction of Buddhism in China and has been part of translation efforts to make Chinese academic work available to an English-speaking audience. Stefano was born and raised in Athens, Greece in a Greek-Italian family; he is native in Greek, Italian, and English, fluent in French and Chinese, and proficient in Japanese.

CLaporteOshiro4Catherine Laporte-Oshiro (DPhil Candidate in International Relations, University College)

Catherine Laporte-Oshiro is reading for the DPhil in International Relations on a Rhodes Scholarship and is supervised by Professor Todd Hall. She holds an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford China Centre and a BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University She works on US-China relations, in particular the intersection of economics, security and norms. Her current research focuses on US economic policy towards China in the post-Cold War era, including China’s MFN/PNTR status, its WTO accession and the rise of the mega-FTAs, which she uses to examine the influence of uncertainty and speculation on the US policymaking process, as well as that of Chinese actions and rhetoric.

mayugeYuge Ma (DPhil Candidate, Environmental Change Institute, Wolfson College)

Yuge Ma is a DPhil Candidate in Environmental Change Institute (ECI), University of Oxford and Co-founder of the Juxtapose Project. Her research focuses on comparing the energy and low carbon policies of India and China, global energy governance and China-India relations.
She was a guest researcher with the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and Beijing (2011-2012), a Global Governance 2022 fellow (, an Avantha International Fellow 2013 with Aspen Institute (India), and research associate with the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) in Delhi. She also conducted her fieldwork in low carbon development with The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. Before that, she was a special consultant to the Overseas R&D Centre of Panasonic in Japan. Her recent book Grow Up in India (Lijiang Publishing House, 2013) is the first-of-its-kind to introduce contemporary India through the lens of a Chinese student.
Yuge graduated from Tsinghua University with bachelor’s degrees in energy efficiency technology and in law. She spent one year as a graduate student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

annabella-masseyAnnabella Massey (DPhil Candidate in Chinese Studies, Wadham College)

Annabella Massey is a DPhil candidate in Chinese Studies. Before coming to the University of Oxford, she worked in Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, on the JET Programme. She was involved in various academic and journalistic projects in Japan, serving as co-editor of the 2012 publication Japanese Literature and World Literature: A Symposium at Waseda University. She holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick. Her fiction and poetry have been featured in a number of publications, including the Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt Publishing, 2011). She is particularly interested in modern and contemporary Chinese and Japanese literature, Chinese visual arts and film, and World Literature. Her MPhil dissertation examines the literary significance of the professional blood seller in modern Chinese fiction, concentrating on: Young Master Gets His Tonic by Wu Zuxiang; The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian; Chronicle of a Blood Merchant by Yu Hua; and Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke..

JeanChristopherMittelstaedt4Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt (DPhil Candidate in Politics, St Antony’s College)

Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt is a DPhil Candidate in Politics at St Antony’s College. Under the supervision of Professor Patricia Thornton, he is interested in the relationship between politics and law in China. With a special interest in the construction of the border between the political and the legal, he looks at the dynamics between intra-Party and legal norms and their realisation in mass campaigns and the 1975 Constitution. Prior to coming to Oxford, Jean Christopher pursued a Master’s degree at SciencesPo Paris in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action (cum laude), specialising in constitutionalism and legal reforms in China. He received his Bachelor’s degree in International Politics from Peking University (taught in Mandarin) where his thesis focused on the political philosophy of Nietzsche and the problem of translating philosophical works into Chinese, earning him an Exceptional Thesis Award.

Elizabeth Smith Rosser (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, Pembroke College)

After graduating first class with a BA in Chinese (Modern and Classical) from SOAS, University of London, Elizabeth joined the University in 2015 as an Oxford-Ko Graduate Scholar to pursue the MSt in Chinese Studies. She passed with Distinction and under the continued supervision of Prof. Barend ter Haar, is currently writing her DPhil thesis on the uses of historical figures in premodern Chinese jokebooks from the Song to Ming period (960-1644). Elizabeth is a Pembroke-Clarendon Scholar. She served as President of Oxford Chinese Studies Society from 2016-17 and recently helped research the twenty-part BBC Radio 4 series ‘Chinese Characters’, written and presented by Rana Mitter, which introduces aspects of Chinese history and culture through twenty historical figures. In her spare time, she translates Ming literature and co-runs a small cocktail bar.

Nelson So2Nelson K. H. So (DPhil Candidate in History)

Nelson K. H. So is a DPhil candidate in History. His research project examines the international history of East Asia during the Cold War period, with a particular focus on the foreign policy decision-making process of statesmen in the region at times of diplomatic crises or incidents during the 1950s to the late 1970s. He received his BA in History from King’s College London in 2011, and MSc in International History from the London School of Economics in 2013. He is one of the convenors of the International History of East Asia Seminar. He is generally interested in the modern history of East Asia, and is able to read Chinese, English, and Japanese.

lin-sunLin Sun 孫琳 (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, St Antony’s College)

Project title: The Economy of the Empire Building: Resource Mobilization and Trade Networks in the Early Qing China, 1583-1644
My project examines how that the Manchu rulers financed their empire formation. From 1583 to 1644, the Manchus amassed resources from both China and Korea, which were then distributed to the Manchu elites and their Mongolian allies in order to boost and cement Qing’s rule. In this project, I combine the theories of empire-building with the economic aspect in order to figure out the role of economy in the construction of the Qing empire.
Since the early 16th century, much of China’s silver was imported from both Europe and Japan as China was engaged in a thriving trade with them at that time. Prior to 1630, the inflow of silver from Spanish America and Japan promoted the monetization of the Chinese economy and the Manchus collected a considerable amount of silver via the ginseng trading with Ming China. However, the abrupt decline in silver production during the world recession after 1630 caused economic turmoil and hit the Chinese government. Meanwhile, the Manchus became relatively stronger since they developed themselves through waging wars to establish trade relationships with Korea and China. This made the Ming dynasty an easier prey to the Manchus. The project aims to offer new understandings of the Qing’s empire-building process as a set of trade networks the Qing built with the Mongols, Korea, the Ming China through economic resources that were mobilized, and write the history of the Qing empire from late 16th to early 17th centuries.

LingTang2Ling Tang (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, St Peter’s College)

Ling Tang joined the University of Oxford in 2016 as a DPhil candidate in Oriental Studies under the supervision of Prof. Rachel Murphy and Dr. Maria Jaschok upon obtaining her MPhil in Sociology at the Hong Kong Baptist University, where she was supervised by Prof. Jack Barbalet.  Ling studies gendered and sexualized guanxi and critically brings into the discussion the concept of erotic capital, which she sees essential for understanding of instrumental interpersonal relationship in urban China and beyond.  Her research interests include gender, sexuality, ethnicity, social networking, migration and cultural studies. Ling is also interested in art, especially public art, including graffiti, street performance and social media-based art projects. She has co-founded a photography-based visual anthropology feminist art project called “whatswoman“.

Mingde Wang (DPhil Candidate in International Relations, St Cross College)

Mingde Wang is reading for the DPhil in International Relations on a Marie Curie Fellowship associated with the PRIMO (Power and Regions in a Multipolar Order) project at the Department of Politics and International Relations. He has an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Leiden University, and has taught IR and Chinese politics in the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His research interests include political psychology in international politics, decision-making and international security. His current research focuses on trust and hegemonic-rising power relations in major Cold War alliances of Asia-Pacific, such as the Sino-Soviet alliance and the US-Japan alliance.

lxLucie Qian Xia (DPhil Candidate, Oxford Department of International Development, Merton College)

Lucie is reading for a DPhil in International Development at Merton College. She works on EU-China relations and network diplomacy. Her passion for EU-China relations stems from her experiences of living between European and Chinese cultures from a young age; she spent her childhood in Oxford and has studied and worked in London, Beijing, Brussels and Paris. She holds an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in French Studies from Renmin University of China. Prior to her current doctoral studies, Lucie worked with the Delegation of the European Union to China and various think tanks in Brussels and Beijing.

wang-xingXing Wang (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, University College)

I am a Dphil student in Oriental Studies. My previous education background includes British literary history (BA, Beijing), social and medical anthropology (MSc, UCL) and oriental history (MA, Oxford). Broadly speaking, I am interested in the anthropology and history of witchcraft, the intersection between magic and medicine, and the phenomenology of mantic practises in traditional societies. My Dphil research project is composed of the social history of physiognomy (相術) in mid and late imperial China, the natural philosophy and cosmology of traditional Chinese physiognomy, and the comparison between Chinese physiognomy and the physiognomic tradition in Europe.

yuan-aiYuan Ai (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, Queen’s College)

YUAN Ai 袁艾is a D.Phil. student at Queen’s College, Oxford University, specializing in Chinese philosophy. She obtained a B.A. at Renmin University in 2010, with a major in Chinese Classics. From 2010-2012, she studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she obtained an M.Phil. in Philosophy. In 2013, she completed a one-year M.A. programme in Sinology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. For her D.Phil. research, she is focusing on ethical issues regarding how to live a good life, as discussed in the Zhuangzi, by analyzing different concepts and their relations.

AmandaZhang2Amanda Zhang (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, St Antony’s College)

Amanda  has started ( in 2016) reading for a DPhil in Oriental Studies on a Swire Scholarship and is supervised by Professor Henrietta Harrison. She holds an MSt in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford, an LLB and a BSocSci (Government and Laws) from the University of Hong Kong. She is particularly interested in the making of the modern Chinese woman. Amanda was awarded the 2016 Ko Prize for her master’s thesis titled: “Fateful Beauties: The Making of the Shanghai Paramount Ballroom and its Dance Hostesses, 1932 – 1949.” Her current research focuses on female spies and treason trials in Republican China.

Guanli Zhang (DPhil Candidate in Geography and the Environment, St Antony’s College)

Sep. 2013 – Now DPhil Candidate in Geography and the Environment, Oxon
Sep. 2012 – Jun. 2013 MSc in International History, LSE
Sep. 2011 – Jun. 2012 MSc in International Relations, Peking University
Sep. 2007 – Jun. 2011 Bachelor of Law in International Politics, Peking University
Sep. 2007 – Jun. 2011 Bachelor of Economics, Peking University
My current research focuses on the formation of environmental knowledge and anti-pollution mobilisation in rural China. It follows an anthropological approach and builds majorly upon findings from two heavily contaminated villages in Zhejiang, China. I am always keen in probing into the relation between strategies of rural residents’ environmental struggles and local social context. In my dissertation I intend to contextualise the happenings in my research fields and analyse the roles of relevant actors and factors.

YunyunYunyun Zhou (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, St Antony’s College)

Yunyun Zhou (周芸芸) is a DPhil candidate (starting in 2015) under Professor Rachel Murphy’s supervision. With an interdisciplinary background, her research interests involve political culture, social movement, and gender politics in contemporary China. Her current research project examines women’s political presence in the authoritarian party-state and the reformulation of ‘state-feminism’ in China’s reform era. She holds an MSc in Sociology from the University of Oxford and double-majored in Psychology and Chinese Literature during her undergraduate studies. She has been an academic visitor at the University of California, Berkeley and Peking University. She is the founding president of Oxford Chinese Studies Society and an active member of several grass root NGOs (of gender, LGBT, education, development) in Oxford, Beijing and Xi’an.