Vivienne Shue

Professor Emerita


Vivienne Shue, an emeritus professor, joined the Government Department teaching faculty in1982.  She served as Department Chair from 1987-1993 and was the Frank and Rosa Rhodes Professor of Chinese Government from 1995-2002, when she moved to Oxford University as Leverhulme Professor and Director of Contemporary China Studies there.  Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2008, she taught masters and doctoral students in Chinese politics and society at Oxford until 2012, and helped to establish the University of Oxford China Centre.  Best known, perhaps, for one of her early works, THE REACH OF THE STATE: SKETCHES OF THE CHINESE BODY POLITIC (1988), her most recent book (co-edited with Patricia M. Thornton) is TO GOVERN CHINA: EVOLVING PRACTICES OF POWER (2017).  Other books include PEASANT CHINA IN TRANSITION: THE DYNAMICS OF DEVELOPMENT TOWARD SOCIALISM (1980), STATE POWER AND SOCIAL FORCES (co-edited with J. Migdal and A. Kohli, 1994), TETHERED DEER: GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY IN A CHINESE COUNTY (co-authored with M.J. Blecher, 1996), and PAYING FOR PROGRESS IN CHINA: PUBLIC FINANCE, HUMAN WELFARE AND CHANGING PATTERNS OF INEQUALITY (co-edited with C. P. W. Wong, 2007).  Her current research and writing probe the political origins and outcomes of China’s 21st century high-speed, high-tech development planning ambitions, especially the spatial and social management dimensions of its distinctive master-planning regimes.  Recent essays include “Maps, Dreams, and Trails to Heaven: Envisioning a Future Chinese Nation-Space,” (in Shue and Thornton, TO GOVERN CHINA, 2017); a retrospective reflection, “Mao’s China: Putting Politics in Perspective” in J. Brown and M. Johnson eds., MAOISM AT THE GRASSROOTS (2015); and “Modern/Rural China: State Institutions and Village Values” in A. Bislev and S. Thǿgersen eds., ORGANIZING RURAL CHINA: RURAL CHINA ORGANIZING (2012).  Her latest article, “Party-State, Nation, Empire:  Rethinking the Grammar of Chinese Governance,” Journal of Chinese Governance (2018), is an attempt to place today’s Chinese socio-spatial master-planning imperative into long-term political-historical perspective.