Professor Tim Brook Lecture

Professor Tim Brook
Department of History
and Institute of Asian Research

will be addressing the Vancouver Institute on February 23, 2008 at 8:15 p.m., Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.


Vermeer's Hat:
What 17th Century Dutch Paintings Reveal of Our Global World


Currently on sabbatical at Oxford University, Dr. Brook is Principal of St. John's College at UBC and holder of the Republic of China Chair in the Institute of Asian Research. He received his doctorate in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University and was an exchange student at both Fudan University and Peking University in the 1970s. Awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize, Association for Asian Studies in 2000, and the Garneau Medal, Canadian Historian Association in 2005, Dr. Brook is the author or coauthor of numerous scholarly works, including Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Chinese Elites in Wartime China; Opium Regimes: China, Britain, and Japan, 1839–1952; The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China; and Quelling the People: The Military Suppression of the Beijing Democracy Movement.

Special lottery draw

Followinhg the lecture, there will be a draw for tickets to the Chan Centre for the March 14 lecture by Dr. Mohammad Yunus. Please see his lecture page for details.

Background Information

(These references were compiled by the webmaster in the hope that they will prove interesting to some readers. The web being what it is, some of them will have vanished by the time you go to look them up, and there is—of course—no guarantee of their accuracy.)

Department of History, UBC, faculty page
Timothy Brook works on the social and cultural history of the Ming dynasty, the Japanese occupation of China during World War Two, and historical perspectives on world history and human rights. He is currently working on two projects: wartime collaboration, and cultural representations of torture. ...
Institute of Asian Research, UBC, faculty page
Dr. Brook's career as a China historian began during his last two years as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto (1969-74). He developed an interest in the Ming period while he was an exchange student in Beijing and Shanghai (1974-76), and continued to pursue this interest in the program in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University (1976-84). He has authored four books in the field of Ming history, the most recent of which, The Chinese State in Ming Society, will appear shortly. The Association for Asian Studies awarded The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China the Levenson Prize in 2000 for the best book on the history of China prior to 1900. Future projects include a general history of Yuan and Ming China, the fourth of a five-volume series on the history of imperial China which he is editing for Harvard University Press. ...
Frontline Interview: Tiananmen
When the army first went in at the beginning of June, the assumption on everyone's part is that it was acting according to plan; that the army had been charged to go in, use a maximum show of force and effectively intimidate anyone from ever trying this again. My own research leads to a very different conclusion. I see it as nothing but a trail of disasters from the first time the army appears in Beijing on May 19.
The army was ill prepared. They had a plan of which units would move in along which corridors to try and get to Tiananmen Square, but the details of the operation were a shambles. The army went in without sufficient provisions, without sufficient medical teams. They didn't seem to anticipate the damage they would cause. They didn't anticipate situations they would get in. APC drivers didn't even seem to have maps of the city. The soldiers didn't know how to behave. I think a lot of the soldiers had never even been in a city before; they were country boys. They didn't have the proper equipment; they didn't have the proper training. It was a mess. ...