Dr James

Dr James Leibold

Associate Professor, Convener, Politics Major

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Politics and Philosophy

SS 305, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA East Asian Studies (Wittenberg University), MA East Asian Studies (Washington University), PhD Chinese history (University of Southern California).



Membership of professional associations

Association of Asian Studies; Australian Association of Asian Studies; Chinese Studies Association of Australia; Executive Editor, Asian Ethnicity; Member, La Trobe University Curriculum Renewal Taskforce, 2008.

Area of study

Asian Studies

Brief profile

Dr Leibold has research expertise on the politics of ethnicity, race and national identity in modern Chinese history and society, and is currently engaged in research on ethnic policies and conflict in contemporary China with a particular focus on the Uyghur and Tibetan communities of Western China. He is the author and co-editor of four books and over twenty-five peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and a frequent contributor to the international media on these topics. He is the lead Chief Investigation on a Australia Reseach Council Discovery Project (DP180101651) on "Urbanising Western China: Nation-building on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier" with Associate Professor Benjamin Hillman (ANU), and Dr Gerald Roche (University of Melbourne). Dr Leibold lecturers on the history and contemporary politics of modern China in the Politics, International Relations and Asian Studies programs at La Trobe. 

Research interests

Asian History

- Please contact me to discuss a topic.

Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific

- Ethnic policy, ethnic relations and ethnic conflict in Asia, and Australia-Asia relations

Language and Culture in Society

- Please contact me to discuss a topic.

Teaching units

  • AST1ICI - Introduction to Asia: China and India.
  • POL2NAS - Nations and States.
  • POL3CIW - China in the world: A re-emerging superpower?
  • POL3INR - New Authoritarian Empires: Russia, China and the Politics of Eurasia
  • POL1AUP - Introduction to Politics: Democracies and Dictatorships

Recent publications




  • Leibold, J. (2018 forthcoming) "Chinese nationalism," in Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies, ed. Tim Wright. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Leibold, J. (2016) "Preferential policies for ethnic minorities in the People's Republic of China," in Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China, ed. Zang Xiaowei, pp. 165-88 (London: Edward Elgar).
  • Leibold, J. (2016) "Interethnic conflict in the PRC: Xinjiang and Tibet as Exceptions?" in Ethnic Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang: Unrest in China's West, eds. Ben Hillman and Gray Tuttle, pp. 223-250 (New York: Columbia University Press).
  • Leibold, J. and Danielle Xiaodan Deng (2016) "Segregated Diversity: Uyghur Residential Patterns in Xinjiang, China," in Inside Xinjiang: Space, Place and Power in China's Muslim Far Northwest, eds Anna Hayes and Michael Clarke, pp 122-48 (London: Routledge).
  • Leibold, J. and Chen Yangbin (2014) "Introduction: Minority Education in China: Balancing Unity and Diversity in an Era of Critical Pluralism," in Minority Education in China: Balancing Unity and Diversity in an Era of Critical Pluralism, eds. James Leibold and Chen Yangbin, pp. 1-24 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press).
  • Leibold, J. (2014) "Han Chinese Reactions to Preferential Minority Education in the PRC," in Minority Education in China: Balancing Unity and Diversity in an Era of Critical Pluralism, eds. James Leibold and Chen Yangbin, pp. 299-319 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press).
  • Leibold, J. (2012) “Searching for Han: Early Twentieth-Century Narratives of Chinese Origins and Development,” in Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China's Majority, eds. Thomas Mullaney, James Leibold, Stéphane Gros and Eric Vanden Bussche, pp 210-233 (Berkeley: University of California Press). (preprint pdf)
  • Leibold, J. (2012) “'Filling in the Nation: The Spatial Trajectory of Prehistoric Archaeology in Twentieth-Century China,” in Transforming History: The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth Century China, eds. Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow, pp. 333-71 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press). (preprint pdf)
  • Leibold, J (2012) “Torikomare yuku henkyô” [Appropriating the Frontier], in Sôgô Kenkyû Shingai Kakumei [A Comprehensive Study:  Xinhai Revolution], Shingai kakumei hyakushûnen kinen ronshû henshû iinkai, ed. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten).
  • Leibold, J. (2009) ‘Identification and Belonging’, Encyclopaedia of Modern China, volume 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons): 281-3 (preprint pdf)
  • Leibold, J. (2003) 'Rethinking Kuomintang National Minority Policy: The National Question and Regional Warlordism on the Early 20th Century Chinese Frontier'. In Cindy Yik-Yi Chu and Ricardo K.S. Mak (eds) China Reconstructs, Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, pp.103-24 (Preprint pdf or published version)



  • Leibold, J. (2013). "Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking by Michael Keevak," The American Historical Review, 117.5: 1552-3.
  • Leibold, J. (2013). "Sociology of ethnicity." Asian Ethnicity, 14.1: 132-35.
  • Leibold, J. (2010). ‘Communist Multiculturalism: Ethnic Revival in Southwest China by Susan McCarthy’, The China Journal 64 (July).
  • Leibold, J. (2008). ‘Failure and Chinese Nationalism’, H-Net Reviews.
  • Leibold, J. (2006). 'Review of Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, The Internet and Political Participation in China by Zhou Yongming', Asian Studies Review, 30.2 (July).
  • Leibold, J. (2006). 'Review of China in War and Revolution, 1895-1949 by Peter Zarrow', The China Journal, 56 (June): 184-86.
  • Leibold, J. (2006). 'Review of On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier by Åshild Kolås and Monika Thowsen', China Information, 20.2 (June): 331-333.
  • Leibold, J. (2005). 'Review of Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service by Fredrick Wakeman', New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 7.1 (June): 168-71.
  • Leibold, J. (1999). 'Chinese Archives: Review Article', Journal of Oriental Studies, 34.2.


  • Expert Assessor for the Australian Research Council (ARC) on Discovery projects related to both modern Chinese history and contemporary politics, 2011
  • Expert Assessor for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada in modern Chinese history, 2010
  • Invited to review book manuscripts for Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, University of British Columbia Press, Palgrave Macmillian
  • Invited to review article manuscript for The China Journal, Modern China, Twentieth Century China, The Journal of Asian Studies, etc.
  • China book Review editor and then Regional Editor of Asian Studies Review
  • La Trobe University Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2008.