Centre for Languages and Literature

The Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Person

Enthused by the challenges of teaching and constantly grappling with the problem of how to give my students tools that will actually allow them to communicate – and not just speak or read and write – in Chinese. Former Berkeley and Harvard post-doc and founder of the international garbology school of Cultural Revolution research. Heaviest book so far: Mao's Last Revolution (co-author Roderick MacFarquhar), available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese, but – as if to prove that a Sinologist is not without honour except in his own country and among his own people – not in Swedish. Recently concluded a decade of work on book called Spying for the People: Mao's Secret Agents, 1949–1967, described by Hayden Peake in Studies in Intelligence as "an extraordinarily fine work of historical scholarship on a topic about which little had been known."

Research

About the research

For many years, I worked primarily (and published regularly) on the twin topics of the language of contemporary Chinese politics and history of the Cultural Revolution. Eventually, my language-oriented research morphed into something akin to a general analytical approach or “tool box” and ceased to be in itself a subject of further reading and writing. Today, “doing things with words” just makes up an important component of what I teach my advanced students of Chinese politics. The history of the Cultural Revolution ended up on my proverbial back burner in 2008 (and has remained there ever since), once I had published “The Global War on Terrorism as Meta-Narrative: An Alternative Reading of Recent Chinese History” and “‘Did anyone here recognize that?’ – On Torture Today,” two texts in equal measure concerned with the troubled present of “the West” and China’s painful past. Since the mid noughties, the subject that has held my attention has been the domestic use of agents by Public Security organs in Mao’s China. It constitutes an all but completely “blank” space in Chinese as well as foreign acdemic research on the social history of the PRC, but one that now after more than half a century can finally be probed and explored by anyone with the necessary scholarly skills. For the next couple of years, I intend to devote myself to it and to build on the work that has already gone into my book Spying For the People, published by CUP at the very end of 2012.

Publications

Books (12)
Editorships (11)
Articles (51)
Book chapters (16)
Prefaces (3)
Encyclopaedia entries (11)
Conference contributions (7)
Reports (12)
Working papers (2)
Reviews (33)
Newspaper articles (1)
Miscellaneous (3)
Supervision at Lund University (1)

Research portal (Lund University)

Administrative

Tasks

  • Manager of Research and Research Education at Chinese Studies
  • Member, Board of Section 5, Centre for Languages and Literature

Teaching

Other tasks and qualifications

- Editor of Cambridge Studies in the History of the People's Republic of China, a book series published by Cambridge University Press, 2014–
- Member of the advisory board of H-PRC, a resource for scholars with an interest in PRC history, part of H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences Online).
- Member of the steering committee of The Birgit Rausing Language Programme, 2010-2018.
- Member of the Société Royale des Lettres de Lund.

Michael Schoenhals

Professor, Manager of Research and Research Education
Chinese Studies
Centre for Languages and Literature

Contact information

E-mail michael.schoenhalsostas.luse

Phone +46 46 222 93 03

Room SOL:A411

Visiting address Helgonabacken 12, Lund

Postal address Box 201, 221 00, Lund

Internal post code 20

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