Dr. Elisabeth Forster (Professurvertretung)

Mailing Address:Academic profile photo forster.JPG

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg    
Institut für Sinologie
Werthmannstraße 12
79098 Freiburg, Germany


Phone:  0049 761 20396748

E-Mail: elisabeth.forster@sinologie.uni-freiburg.de


Dr. Elisabeth Forster is a visiting professor (Professurvertretung), replacing Prof. Dr. Nicola Spakowski in the summer semester of 2022. During this period, she is on leave from her position as Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Southampton, UK.


University Education:


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford (Thesis title: ‘The Invention of the New Culture Movement in 1919’)


Master of Studies in Oriental Studies (focus on China), University of Oxford


Previous Teaching Position:

Since Sept 2018

Lecturer in Chinese History, History Department, University of Southampton

Winter term 2017-2018

Visiting Professor, Institute for Asian and African Studies, University of Hamburg


Departmental Lecturer in Modern Chinese History and Politics, History Faculty, University of Oxford



1919 - The Year That Changed China: A New History of the New Culture Movement (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2018).


Peer Review:

(With Isaac Taylor), “Asking the Fox to Guard the Chicken Coop: In Defense of Minimalism in the Ethics of War and Peace,” Journal of International Political Theory, January 2021, 1–19.

“Threatened by Peace: The World Peace Movement and the ‘China’ Representation Question in the United Nations (1949-71),” Cold War History 21, no. 4 (2021): 411–27.

“Bellicose Peace: China’s Peace Signature Campaign and Discourses about ‘peace’ in the Early 1950s,” Modern China 46, no. 3 (2020): 250–80. 

‘The buzzword “New Culture Movement”: Intellectual marketing strategies in China in 1919’. Modern Asian Studies 51, no. 5 (September 2017): 1253-1282.

‘Rethinking the Inferiority Complex: Chinese Opinions on Westerners’ Knowledge of Chinese (1910s–1930s)’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 45, no. 6 (August 2017): 923–41.

‘From Academic Nitpicking to a “New Culture Movement”: How Newspapers Turned Academic Debates into the Center of “May Fourth”’, Frontiers of History in China 9, no. 4 (December 2014): 534–557. 



“Behind the Mask,” History Today, June 2020.

“Do All Revolutions End Badly?,” History Today 69, no. 4 (April 2019), www.historytoday.com.

‘Review: “Imagining a Postnational World: Hegemony and Space in Modern China” by Marc Andre Matten’, 國史館館刊 (forthcoming).

(Together with Jan Knoerich), ‘Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Introduction’, in Paul Irwin Crookes and Jan Knoerich (eds.), Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations in an Era of Technological Change: Security, Economic and Cultural Dimensions (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, June 2015).

Review: ‘Writing Lives in China, 1600-2010: Histories of the Elusive Self,’ by Marjorie Dryburgh and Sarah Dauncey (eds.), in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 77, no. 3 (2014): 636 – 637.


Other publications:

‘Do Not Fear the Atomic Bomb’, Text of the Month Der „SASS-Collection: The History of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1992)”, Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, February 2017.

‘A Short Note on Working in the Beijing Municipal Archive’, European Research Centre for Chinese Studies, Max Weber Stiftung, April 2018. 



2021: Guest on BBC Radio 4 "In Our Time", talking about the May Fourth Movement with Melvyn Bragg, Rana Mitter and Song-Chuan Chen. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001282c

2019: Chris Buckley and Amy Qin, “Why Does a Student Protest Held a Century Ago Still Matter in China?,” May 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/03/world/asia/china-may-4-movement.html


Main Research Interests:

Intellectual, cultural, political and media history of modern China

Peace movements and peace discourses in China’s long 20th century

New Culture Movement (May Fourth)

The role of the English language in China




Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Institut für Sinologie
Werthmannstraße 12
D-79098 Freiburg i. Br.

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