Amid vehement protests over the lack of tenured women faculty and the highly-publicized denial of tenure to a female political theorist, a noted female scholar in Chinese politics will begin her tenure at Harvard July 1.
Elizabeth J. Perry, currently a professor of political science at the University of California, was appointed a full professorship in Harvard's Government Department about a year ago.
Her arrival next month was advertised this week in a front-page article of the Harvard Gazette, in which she was lauded for the original and comprehensive nature of her scholarship.
"We're just ecstatic that she's coming," said Kenneth A. Shepsle, chair of the Government Department, noting that Perry is one of the leading scholars of Chinese domestic politics and has been a "stellar" professor at Berkeley.
Perry said she decided to accept tenure at the University because of its "outstanding program in East Asian studies and top-ranked government department," explaining that it seemed an excellent place to pursue the training of graduate students as well as her own research.
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At Harvard, Perry will teach courses related to her specialty and may also instruct in the field of comparative politics, Shepsle said.
Perry, who did her undergraduate work at William Smith College, holds an M.A. in political science from the University of Washington at Seattle and a Ph.D., also in political science, from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
She was a visiting professor at National Taiwan University and has taught at a number of U.S. universities, including a stint at Harvard in 1982-83.
Perry said she is expecting her 11th book, co-authored with scholar Xun Li, to come out within a few weeks. Her most recent work, titled Danwei: The Chinese Workunit in Historical and Comparative Perspective, focuses on the Chinese workplace.
Her next project is a study of Chinese workers as citizens and will explore the conditions under which they articulate political, rather than work-related, demands.
Born in Shanghai in 1948, Perry said that while her birthplace probably contributed to her interest in the region, it was her undergraduate experience that was formative.
"I was in college in the late '60s, and the Cultural Revolution was then raging in China," she said. "It seemed an exciting political model and an alternative for those of us who were dissatisfied with the current political system."
Perry will assume teaching responsibilities for the coming semester but will be on leave in 1998 pursuing her own research