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.

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.

Kate 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 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.

Annabella 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.

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.

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.

Siu Yiu  (DPhil Candidate in Oriental Studies, Wolfson College)

Siu Yiu is studying for a DPhil in Oriental Studies under the supervision of Professor James Lewis and Professor Robert Chard. He holds an MPhil in Traditional East Asia from the University of Oxford, an MSc in History of International Relations from London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), and a BA majoring in International Politics and minoring in Philosophy from Peking University. The focus of Siu Yiu’s research is on China’s border policy in the early modern period and his DPhil dissertation examines the historical context and considerations behind the policy-making process.

Amanda 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.