University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
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Dr David O'Brien 

Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Chinese Studies , School of International Studies

 4-David O'Brien

Personal details

Contact

Room 219, Trent Building
The University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo 315100   
China

+86 574 8818 6421

david.obrien@nottingham.edu.cn

Qualifications

BA, MA, PhD, PGCHE

Biography

Dr David O'Brien completed a PhD at the National University of Ireland, University College Cork which examined the construction of ethnic identity in northwestern China.

His research interests include ethnic identity and policy, the Chinese political system as well as social science research methodologies, particularly in the Chinese context.

Dr O'Brien's cross-disciplinary research is based on many years of qualitative fieldwork and seeks to explore how ethnic identity continues to evolve in China and the interplay between state and individual interpretations of identity.

Previously he worked as a journalist for an Irish national newspaper reporting on a wide range of topics in Ireland as well as Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, South Africa, India and Nepal. He has worked and lived in China for a number of years.

Teaching and learning

Research interests

  • Ethnic identity in China
  • China's ethnic identity policy
  • China's Western development economic policy
  • China-Central Asian relations
  • Chinese Communist Party leadership
  • China's international relations
  • Ethnographic research methodologies

Research

Publications

Publications

Book

Collins, Neil and O’Brien, David The Politics of Everyday China Pocket Focus Series Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018.

Journal Articles

Zhang, Xiaoling, O’Brien, David and Brown, Melissa Shani. ‘‘No CCP, No New China’: discourses of pastoral power in the Xinjiang region of China’, China Quarterly, No. 235, September 2018.

O’Brien, David. “The Mountains are High and the Emperor is Far Away: An Examination of Ethnic Violence in Xinjiang,” International Journal of Chinese Studies 2(2) (2011): 389-406.

Edited Volume

Chen, Faith, O’Brien, David and Chan, Hing Kai, International flow in the Belt and Road Initiative context: Business, People, Ideas and History. Basingstoke: Palgrave, (Forthcoming 2019).

Book Chapters

O’Brien, David and Brown, Melissa Shani. ‘Harmony and Dancing on the New Frontier: The Idealisation and Commodification of Ethnic ‘Otherness’ in Xinjiang’. In Reclaiming Identity And (Re)Materialising Pasts: Approaches To Heritage Conservation In China, edited by Carol Ludwig and Yi-Wen Wang, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press (Forthcoming 2018). 

O’Brien, David and Brown, Melissa Shani. ‘Ethnic Harmony and Spaces of Otherness on the New Frontier: The Idealisation of Ethnicity and the Past’. In Situating the Periphery Temporal and Spatial Dimensions of Memory in contemporary China, edited by Marc A. Matten and Valentina Punzi (Forthcoming 2018).

O’Brien, David. “If there is harmony in the house there will be order in the nation: An exploration of the Han Chinese as Political Actors in Xinjiang”. In Inside China’s New Frontier: Analysing Space, Place and Power in China’s North-West, edited by Anna Hayes and Michael Clarke. London: Routledge 2015.

O’Brien, David. “Violence and identity – the ‘self’ and the ‘other’: An exploration of ethnic relations and conflict in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”. In Asian Studies – Within and Without, edited by Fan Hong and Peter Herrman. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Press, 2013.

Book Reviews

O’Brien, David. “Review of Michael Clarke Xinjiang and China’s Rise in Central Asia.” Asian Ethnicity 14 (2) (2013): 142-143.

O’Brien, David. “Review of Jay Dautcher Down a Narrow Road: Identity and Masculinity in a Uyghur Community in Xinjiang.” Asian Ethnicity 14 (1) 2012: 136-137.

O’Brien, David. “The Mountains are High and the Emperor is Far Away: An Examination of Ethnic Violence in Xinjiang,” International Journal of Chinese Studies 2(2) (2011): 389-406.

 

Conference Papers

‘Hetero-photography: Chinese Tourists' Visual Encounters with Xinjiang and Japan’. Melissa Shani Brown and David O’Brien Annual Conference of the British Association for Chinese Studies, Kings College London, September 12-14, 2018.

‘Touristic encounters of the Other in Xinjiang and Japan, Melissa Shai Brown and David O’Brien Asian Studies Association of Australia, Sydney University. July 2-5, 2018

‘See Ethnic People in their Natural Environment’: The Idealisation and Commodification of Ethnicity in Xinjiang". Melissa Shani Brown and David O’Brien Trans-Asian Mobilities and Encounters: Exchange, Commodification and Sustainability, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, January 23 – 24, 2017.

Friendship, Complicity and Danger: an exploration of the ethical dilemmas in carrying out research in the sensitive region of Xinjiang, China "Identity, Agency and Fieldwork Methodologies in Risky Environments" - International KOSMOS Workshop, Humboldt University Berlin, July 29-30, 2016.

Whose China Dream is it anyway? An examination of propaganda in different language versions of the Xinjiang Daily newspaper, Xiaoling Zhang, Melissa Shani Brown and David O’Brien, China’s Propaganda System: Legacies and Enduring Themes, University of Kent, July 1, 2016.

Harmony and Dancing on the New Frontier: The idealisation and commodification of ethnic ‘Otherness’ in Xinjiang.  Melissa Brown and David O’Brien, Majoritarian Nationalism and the rights of non-dominant groups. Interdisciplinary symposium organised under the Rights and Justice RPA by the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies, Centre for Race and Rights and ICEMIC. 15th-16th June 2016.

“Who are they talking to? An examination of the different language versions of Xinjiang Daily, Xiaoling Zhang and David O’Brien, British Association for Chinese Studies Annual Conference, University of Leeds, UK, September 2015.

“Religion, Ideology and the Sense of Home: An Exploration of Ethnic Identity in China's Troubled Xinjiang Region”, Ideologies in Translation Co-organised by the Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Centre for the Study of Political Ideologies, University of Nottingham United Kingdom, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, April 2015.

"Violence, identity and the sense of home: An exploration of belonging in urban Xinjiang." Intercultural Communication Between Chin And the Rest of the World: Beyond (Reverse) Essentialism and Culturalism?, University of Helsinki, Finland, June 5 2014.

“An exploration of belonging in urban centres in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Power, Identity and the Authoritarian State - Urban Experiences Juxtaposed, Royal Geographic Society Annual International Conference 2013, Royal Geographic Society, London, August 27-30, 2013. 

“Violence, identity the ‘self’ and the ‘other’: An exploration of ethnic relations and conflict in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Asian Studies Ireland Association 4th Annual Conference 2013, University College Cork, November 30, 2012. 

““I don’t know why I was attacked; I was only trying to get home”: How ethnic violence in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region has impacted on how ethnic groups see themselves and others.” China Postgraduate Network 5th Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh, June 19, 2012.