CEAS is a multi-disciplinary research institute that includes among its Core Staff specialists in sociology, social policy, international/comparative politics, international relations, political economy, international business and development studies. When the expertise of its Associates is taken into account, the Centre’s intellectual and research range is expanded to include colleagues in history, economics, accounting, human geography, education and policy studies.

CEAS core members and their research interests:

Ryerson Christie: application of critical security studies to the analysis of human security and peace-building; the roles of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in current security practices; ways in which 'technical' development programmes are entwined with broader security practices; impact of military-led development programmes on local politics; efficacy of China’s foreign aid regime. Most of these have a focus on Southeast Asia and Cambodia in particular.

Gaston Fornes: management in developing countries with a focus on China and Latin America; within this, the study of the national and international expansion of small and medium sized enterprises, the relations between China and Latin America, and the foreign exchange exposure of organisations operating in these contexts.

Martin Gainsborough: the micro politics of elite rule, particularly the commonalities in elite rule regardless of formal political system; comparison of elite interventions in development in the global south and north; specialism on South East Asia and, particularly Vietnam.

Jeffrey Henderson: comparative sociology, politics and political economy of economic transformation; the developmental consequences of global production networks; relation of economic governance to inequality and poverty; the rise of China and the consequences of its global externalization (in relation to trade, investment, energy security, foreign aid etc); predominant geographic focus on East Asia but subsidiary interests in Central-Eastern Europe and parts of the developing world.

Winnie King: East Asian Political Economy and Development with particular reference to state-societal and state-business relations and their impact on policy development and reform; regionalism and regionalisation in the transformation of the space and scope for non-state actor participation in the political and international arena; PRC-Taiwan relations in the light of these issues; transnational social movements and informal networks in Sino-EU relations.

Junko Yamashita: social policy in East Asian and European welfare states, particularly the interaction of care policy, care work, gender and the care labour market; non-profit organisations (NPOs), their participants and their activities; and social exclusion and labour markets.

Yongjin Zhang: China’s international relations in relation to its history, politics and economic transformation; the political economy of Chinese global businesses; East Asian regionalism and regional security in the Asia-Pacific; international relations in ancient China (ideas, institutions and law).

Research funding

Recent external grants include:

Title: The British Inter-University China Centre (BICC)
ESRC, Higher Education Funding Council for England, AHRC
Lead Applicants:
Robert Bickers, Frank Pieke, and Bill Callahan
BICC is a joint venture between Bristol, Oxford and Manchester collaboration between the universities of Oxford, Bristol and Manchester to develop the UK's premier teaching and research facility on China. It has been funded by a series of grants since 2000. The latest phase of funding from 2012-14 came from the AHRC. BICC’s mission is threefold. It aims to expand undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Chinese language and Chinese area studies, facilitate the performance of original research in Chinese studies, and initiate a broad range of dissemination and outreach activities, particularly but not exclusively in the UK. BICC brings together three leading universities that each have already embarked on major strategic investments in Chinese studies. The Centre builds upon the partners’ unique strengths in China studies, particularly in politics, international relations, development and social studies, modern and classical Chinese language, culture and history. The partner institutions also have considerable expertise in Chinese economics and business studies.

Title: Double burdened of Care in East Asia
Funder: Japan Society for Promotion of Science, (12,000,000 yen/£92,000), 2012-13
Lead Applicants: Junko Yamashita and Naoko Soma (Yokohama National University)
Comparative research on emerging female ‘sandwich’ generations in East Asian societies and the ways their experiences are shaped by policy configurations, social and cultural contexts and their personal/family relationships. Research is exploratory in nature, with an aim to shed light on deficiencies of policy planning and intervention.

Title: Comparative Policy Analysis of Care Regimes in East Asia: The Contemporary Issues in Social Care
Funder: Japan Society for Promotion of Science, (4,000,000 yen/£30,000), 2009-11
Lead Applicants: Junko Yamashita and Naoko Soma (Yokohama National University)
Comparative policy analysis on care regimes in East Asian societies. Collection of data related to elderly and child care in East Asian countries. Database created by empirical research from this project is publically available (via The project examined the response of East Asian societies to acute socio-demographic changes and their impact on the provision of care for children and the elderly.

Title: China and the future of the developing world
The Leverhulme Trust
Award: £124,000, 2007-10)
Lead Applicant:
Jeffrey Henderson
This project focused on the implications of China's growth and international expansion for other parts of the developing world. It assessed: the formation, by Chinese companies, of global production networks, China's search for secure supplies of oil, gas and other minerals, China's impact on the institutions of global governance (WTO, IMF, UN and so on) and the prevailing 'rules of the game'. The geo-political consequences of all of these changes was explored.

Title: Colonialism in comparative perspective: Tianjin under nine flags, 1860-1949
Funder: ESRC
Lead Applicant: Robert Bickers
Summary:The resurgence of interest in the practices and legacies of colonialism has seen much attention paid to the insights comparative perspectives draw. Nevertheless, in practice, there has been very little empirically focused, detailed and truly comparative scholarship, especially with regards to Chinese cities. A 3-year research project, led by Dr Maurizio Marinelli (University of Bristol) and funded by the ESRC, will start in September 2008 and comprise a team of 8 researchers. The project will take advantage of the opportunities offered for a comparative analytical approach by the Chinese port city of Tianjin. Between 1860 and 1945, Tianjin was the site of up to nine foreign-controlled concessions, as well as, temporarily, a multi-national military government (1900-02), and a series of evolving municipal administrations. The research aims at producing a comparative and trans-national analysis of the identities, practices and rivalries of five of the major powers established in Tianjin: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. The project will provide powerful new insights into the understanding of colonial history, as well as the history of China, and will produce work with crossover value between a variety of different subfields of history and political science. Three international conferences, three monographs, two edited collections of papers and a number of journal articles are promised.

Title: The History of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Lead Applicant: Robert Bickers
This major £300k three-year grant (2003-2006) further develops work already funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation underpinning an international collaboration with partners in Cambridge and at the Second Historical Archives of China. The Archives holds the voluminous records of the formerly British-dominated Chinese Maritime Customs Service, an agency of the Chinese state from 1854-1949. The project has developed a new catalogue to the 55,000-item collection, a major set of online resources, and is generating new datasets from previously unknown raw data, as well as guides to the Service, and a number of research papers. Overall the project is designed to further understandings of the modern Chinese state, British imperial history, and the history of an internationalising China, focusing on the role the Chinese Maritime Customs Service played in these historical processes. At Bristol the project employs Dr Weipin Tsai as research fellow, while Catherine Ladds is developing a PhD on British careers in the service. The Cambridge team is led by Dr Hans van de Ven.


CEAS produces excellent individual and collaborative research outputs. Since 2008 its seven core staff members alone have published more than 12 books and 50 journal articles and chapters in edited books. The books include Martin Gainsborough’s Vietnam: Rethinking the State (Zed Books 2010), Jeffrey Henderson’s East Asian Transformation (Routledge 2011), Gaston Fornes’ The China-Latin America Axis (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) and Ryerson Christie’s Peacebuilding and NGOs (Routledge 2013). The articles have been published in journals such as: Economy and Society, Journal of Democracy, Globalizations, Asia-Pacific Journal of Management, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Social Policy and Society, Security Dialogue and Global Networks and Development and Change.