Tom Cliff

School of Culture, History & Language, College of Asia & the Pacific

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Tom Cliff


My current research and teaching is concerned mainly with "China's Motor" – private enterprise – and it's cultural and economic underpinnings, and political engagements. Central underpinnings are the institutions associated with family and lineage, and with money, land, and labour. One aspect of private enterprises' political engagement that I focus on is how consensus about the social order is formed and maintained through these institutions, and how these institutions are vehicles for challenging the prevailing social order. Specifically, I examine charity mobilisation of private individuals and enterprises in the contemporary PRC, and the related state governance and private industrial structures. In the past, I have conducted research and written on the Han experience of living in Xinjiang. My first book Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang (Chicago University Press, 2016) won the Association for Asian Studies' prestigious E Gene Smith prize for Best Book on Inner Asia (2018).

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