Paul Cohen

Edith Stix Wasserman Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and History


Retired from teaching in 2000, but continues to be active in the field of Chinese history.

I retired from Wellesley in 2000 after teaching Chinese (and occasionally Japanese) history at the college for 35 years. I remain actively involved at Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese studies, with which I have been affiliated since 1965. I continue to do research and write in the field of Chinese history, focusing mainly on the period from the nineteenth century to the present. "Recently, in a departure from the past, I have branched out a bit, having just
completed a book titled History and Popular Memory: The Power of Story in Moments of Crisis. It was published by Columbia University Press and contains chapters on Serbia, Palestine/Israel, China, France, the USSR, and England. In working on this book I made two discoveries: first, a book that doesn't focus mainly on China takes a lot less time to write, and, second, there was a whole world out there that I knew next to nothing about. It was like going to college again in my retirement.

Personal interests include sports (tennis, cycling, swimming), cooking (especially making pastries that taste great but aren't very good for your health), traveling ( I spend three months a year in Asia, mainly Hong Kong), reading (which I do much more widely than in my preretirement years), and spending time with my children, grandchildren, and other people I love.