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Brett Sheehan

Associate Professor of History

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-3128
Office: SOS 173

Curriculum Vitae

Biographical Sketch

Brett Sheehan is associate professor of Chinese history at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley in 1997. He is the author of Trust in Troubled Times: Money, Banking and State-Society Relations in Republican Tianjin, 1916-1937, Harvard University Press, 2003, and numerous articles and book chapters. He is currently working on a book exploring the relationship between authoritarian developmental states and capitalism from about 1900 to 1953 in China.


Ph.D. Modern Chinese History, University of California, Berkeley, 12/1997

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 2006-  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

My research lies at the intersection of politics, society, and economics. It addresses a series of questions: How did people come to trust financial institutions? What was the relationship between capitalism and authoritarianism? How did economic institutions shape Chinese elite structures and state-society relations?

Research Keywords

modern china business history trust capitalism authoritarianism terrorism society and economy political economy financial crises money and banking bank runs

Research Specialties

Modern China, economy and society, money and banking, business

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

Chinese Business History, Associate Editor,



Sheehan, B. G. (2003). Trust in Troubled Times: Money, Banks and State-Society Relations in Republican Tianjin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Book Chapter

Sheehan, B. (2013). "Unorganized Crime: Forgers, Soldiers, and Shopkeepers in Beijing, 1927, 1928". The Order of Space in Republican Chinese City pp. 95-112. Brill.
Sheehan, B. (2007). "Banks and Bankers in Motion" In Cities in Motion. pp. 81-105. Berkeley, California: UC, Berkeley, Institute of East Asian Studies.
Sheehan, B. G. (2006). "The Modernity of Savings." In Everyday Modernity in China. (Vol. 121-155). Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press.
Sheehan, B. G. (2000). "Urban Identity and Urban Networks in Cosmopolitan Cities: Banks and Bankers in Tianjin, 1900-1937." In Remaking the Chinese City: Modernity and National Identity, 1900-1950. pp. 47-64. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
Sheehan, B. (2000). "The Persistence and Limits of Localism: State Power, the Public Sphere and the Money Economy in Tianjin, 1916-1937." In Guoshishang zhongyang yu difang de guanxi [Central and Local Relations in Chinese History]. pp. 1311-1386. Taipei: Academia Historica.

Journal Article

Sheehan, B. (2010). "Boycotts and Bombs: The Failure of Economic Sanctions in the Sino-Japanese Conflict in Tianjin, China, 1928-1932". Management and Organizational History. Vol. 5 (2), pp. 197-220.
Sheehan, B. (2008). An Awkward but Potent Fit: Photographs and Political Narratives of the Tianjin Incidents During the Sino-Japanese Conflict, November 1931. European Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 7 (2), pp. 193-227.
Sheehan, B. G. (2005). "Myth and Reality in Chinese Financial Cliques in 1936". Enterprise and Society. Vol. 452-491
Sheehan, B. (1998). "Warlords, Cadres and Bankers: Private Commercial Banking in the Republican and Post-Mao Periods". Journal of Asian Business. Vol. 14 (1), pp. 5-22.

Research Report

Sheehan, B. (2007). "Civilization and Economy: Is Synthesis Possible in the Age of Micro History?" Conference Report on "The Economic Performance of Civilizations: Roles of Culture, Religion, and the Law," organized by the Institute of Economic Research on Civilizations, University of Southern California, February 23-27, 2007. Chinese Business History.

Honors and Awards

Dorothy and Hsin-Nung Yao Outstanding Teaching Award, 2003-2004   

Service to the Profession

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Book Review Editor for modern China, Journal of Asian Studies, 09/15/2012-  
Member, Editorial Board, Enterprise and Society, 01/2007-  

Professional Memberships

American Historical Association, 01/01/1998-  
Association for Asian Studies, 01/01/1998-  
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