(520) 621-3737
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Office Hours
Spring 2023: Tuesday 12:00-2:00 pm via zoom
Lanza, Fabio

I am a cultural historian of twentieth-century China, with a particular focus on political activism and urban space.

My first single-authored book, Behind the Gate: Inventing Students in Beijing traces the origins the category of “students,” which has been coeval and coincident with Chinese modernity itself. Through an original analysis of one of the crucial episodes in the historiography—and imagination—of modern China, the May Fourth movement of 1919, I show how the signifier “student” was the result of a historical process. To put it simply, while in China—as elsewhere—there had always been people who studied, the political category of “student” was far from pre-determined and was actually produced through political practice during a particular historical moment. You can listen to an interview I had with the New Books in East Asian Studies.

With my colleague Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney, I have co-edited De-Centering Cold War History: Local and Global Change (Routledge, 2012).

My second monograph, The End of Concern: Maoism, Activism, and Asian Studies, follows the history of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars throughout the long sixties, as a way to explore an important moment of transition in the Cold War and to highlight the role of Maoism as a political and intellectual inspiration for activists around the world. You can listen to my interview on the book in New Books in East Asian Studies.

I teach introductory classes on Modern China and Modern East Asia as well as a course on Communist China through films, memoirs, and fictional narratives. I am also looking forward to teach a new course on “The Global Sixties”. In all my courses, by expanding the reading list beyond what are usually considered historical sources, I lead students to look at how history is continuously produced around us and to read everyday materials as potential “archives.” For graduate students, I teach Historiography, Comparative World Revolutions, a course on the Chinese city,  and I contribute to the world/comparative minor.

I was born and bred in Venice, Italy and moved to the US in 1998. When I am not working, I am usually working out or cooking.


Currently Teaching

CHN 376A – Contemporary China in Historical Perspective

The People's Republic of China has emerged as the second largest economy in the world and a major player on the global stage, and that has quickly turned it into an object of both admiration and fear, appreciation and vilification. How we view China depends in part on our political leanings, what kind of media we consume, but, most importantly, on what we actually know about the country, its people, and its history. This course explores some of the most important issues concerning today's China and its relationship with the rest of the world, by viewing them in a longer historical perspective and focusing on the complex legacy of the last two hundred years.

While we will adopt a historian's approach, we will read and use works by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists. And while the focus of the course is China, the methodology we deploy here can and should be applied to other cases.

EAS 160A3 – Chinese Civilization

This course offers an introduction to the Chinese civilization from the earliest times to the end of the 18thcentury. It will cover major historical eras and events, as well as the traditions of thought and practices running through them. Literary and artistic genres will be introduced as means to better understand larger social trends. Students will practice close reading and analysis of historical documents, literary compositions, and cultural artifacts. Through these hands-on engagements, they will get to know the diverse voices and perspectives within the Chinese tradition and explore their contemporary relevance. Absolutely no previous experience with the study of China is necessary. At the same time, we hope to bring new perspectives to those who already have some familiarity with Chinese history and culture.