Dr Thoralf Klein

MA, Dr Phil, Dr Habil

  • Reader in Chinese and Global History

Thoralf Klein is a historian of modern China and a global historian. His research focuses on the relationship between China and the wider world in the last 200 years. He has published on a wide range of topics, including the history of religion (with special emphasis on Christianity and political religion), imperialism and (post-)colonialism, transcultural studies, media history, the representation of China in the West, and the history of German-Chinese relations.

Having received his doctorate in 2000 from the University of Freiburg (Germany), Dr Klein went on to complete his Habilitation at the University of Erfurt in 2007. In 2007/08, he was a Fellow at the College of Cultural Studies at the University of Konstanz. He is currently a review editor and member of the steering group at H-Soz-u-Kult: Communication and Information Services for Historians.

Dr Klein is currently working on a monograph provisionally titled Making History: The Boxer War and Its Media, 1900 to the Present.Based a range of textual, (audio)visual, oral and performative materials in Chinese, English, German, and French, the study explores how the different perspectives of participants, observers, memory and research contributed to construing an historical event.

In collaboration with Dr Kirsten Bönker (University of Bielefeld, Germany), Dr Klein has also recently started a project on Competing Socialisms: The Sino-Soviet Rivalry in Africa during the Cold War (1950s–1990). The project examines the competitive engagement of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in (sub-Saharan) Africa in the fields of development aid and economic cooperation as well as education and knowledge exchange. It will also examine how the two competitors sold their visions of cooperations not only to the target countries but also to domestic audiences.

Dr Klein has taught at undergraduate, Masters’ and PhD levels, developing courses on Chinese, East Asian and world/global history. At Loughborough, he teaches a first-year survey module on making and unmaking of the world order and has convened three out of five first-year history fieldtrips to Berlin. In the second and third years, he offers modules on China’s and East Asia’s interactions with the wider world, in which he draws on his broad research expertise in these fields. Dr Klein served as programme director for History in 2011–2014 and has recently been appointed external examiner for the MA programme in History at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Klein has supervised doctoral dissertations and MA theses on the history of imperialism, war, migration, media, religion and the environment in China as well as other parts of East Asia and the world and invite postgraduate students to work with me in these and other related fields.

Current PGR Students

  • Cuomu Zhaxi (completion expected in December 2019), Inclusion and Exclusion: Media Representations of Tibetans on Chinese Central Television and Their Audience Receptions
  • Zhang Jiaxin, The Expansion of Chinese Sports under the Song Dynasty

Previous PGR Students

  • Li Xinan (Richard) (2019), Believing through Belonging: A Sociological Study of the Christian Conversion of Chinese Migrants in Britain
  • Wang Yingzi (2019), Chinese Television between Propaganda and Entertainment: Socialist Traditions, Marketisation and Popular TV Dramas, 1992-2017
  • Drephal, Max (2015), The British Legation at Kabul: The Coloniality of Diplomacy in Independent Afghanistan, 1922-1948.
Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China book cover

Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China

Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present (Leiden: Brill, 2014)

Thoralf Klein with Thomas Jansen and Christian Meyer (eds.)

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Die Basler Mission in der Guangdong (Südchina) book cover

Die Basler Mission in der Guangdong (Südchina)

1859-1931. Akkulturationsprozesse und kulturelle Grenzziehungen zwischen Missionaren, chinesischen Christen und lokaler Gesellschaft [The Basel Mission in Guangdong]. München: Iudicium 2002.

Thoralf Klein

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  • Klein, T. (Ed.) (2019). The Boxer War: Media and Memory of an Imperialist Intervention. Kiel: Solivagus.
  • Klein, T., & Schumacher, F. (Eds.). (2006). Kolonialkriege: Militärische Gewalt im Zeichen des Imperialismus [Colonial Wars: Military Violence in the Name of Imperialism]. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition.

Journal Articles

  • Klein, T. (2019). Biography and the Making of Transnational Imperialism: Karl Gützlaff on the China Coast, 1831-1851. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 47(3), 415–445. DOI: http:/doi/full/10.1080/03086534.2018.1539726.
  • Klein, T. (2014). How Modern was Chinese Modernity? Exploring Tensions of a Contested Master Narrative. International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, 2(3), 275–301. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/hcm.473.
  • Klein, T. (2011). Conversion to Protestant Christianity in China and the ‘supply-side model’: explaining changes in the Chinese religious field. Religion, 41, 595–625.
  • Klein, T. (2012). Rethinking the Origins of ‘Western’ Imperialism in China, 1790-1860: Global Constellations and Imperial Policies. History Compass, 10, 789–801.

Book Chapters

  • Klein, T. (2014). The Other German Colonialism? Power, Conflict and Resistance in a German-speaking Mission in China, ca. 1850-1920. In N. A. Berman, K. Mühlhahn, & P. Nganang (Eds.), German Colonialism Revisited: Asian, African and Oceanian Responses (pp. 161–178). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
  • Klein, T. (2014). The Missionary as Devil: Anti-missionary Demonology in China, 1860-1930. In J. Becker & B. Stanley (Eds.), Europe as the Other: External Perspectives on European Christianity (pp. 119–148). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13109/9783666101311.119