University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
  • Intranet

Dr Rosaria Franco

Assistant Professor in Modern History, School of International Studies
Faculty Director of Teaching, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences



Personal details


Room 432, Trent Building
The University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo 315100   

+86 (0)574 8818 0000 Ext. 8075


  • PhD in History (University of Manchester, UK)
  • MA in Modern European History (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Laurea in Lingue e Letterature Straniere (pre-reform) (Venice, Italy)


After completing my undergraduate studies in Russian and English language and literature with a pathway in modern history in Venice, I moved to Manchester to complete my postgraduate studies under the guidance of Peter Gatrell. In 2006-7 I joined his AHRC-funded project “Population displacement, state practice and social experience in Russia and Eastern Europe, 1930-1950s”. Since September 2007, I have been with the School of International Studies of The University of Nottingham in China.


Teaching and learning


  • Understanding the West
  • The Making of Contemporary Europe
  • Gender: Power and Society
  • The Making of Modern Asia


  • Gender & Society
  • Special Project in World History
  • History: Research Methods
  • Welfare States
  • The Making of Modern Europe
  • Russia: The Making of a Modern Power
  • Women and Children in the Modern World
  • Sex, Gender, Politics
  • Western Civilisation
  • Approaches to History and Politics
  • Introduction to Analytical Thought
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics (seminars)


Expertise Summary


  • Childhood and child welfare
  • Refugee history
  • Migration & social policy
  • State violence and policing
  • Transnational  Higher Education


  • Cold War
  • British imperial/ colonial history (Hong Kong, Asia)
  • Modern European history (including Russian/Soviet history)
  • Global trends in Higher Education

Professional Qualifications & Memberships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), UK   
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE)
  • Research Fellow of the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies (IAPS), Nottingham Ningbo
  • Member of the Society for the History of Children and Youth


Research Interest

My research focuses on the politics of welfare/ humanitarian assistance to address the needs of migrant, displaced, and refugee populations, especially children.

Since joining the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, I have extended my research to childhood, cultures of care, and child welfare in Asia. In 2012, I designed the EU–funded 4th EU-China Dialogue on ‘Left-Behind Children: Problems and Solutions’ (Ningbo 20-22 February 2012). This was a networking (people-to-people) exercise meant to facilitate the exchange of best practice between academics and NGO/INGO practitioners working with migrant and left-behind children in Eastern Europe and China.

Cross-referencing sources from British, Hong Kong, Russian and US archives, I am currently developing a project exploring how post-war politicized neo-humanitarianism affected the care arrangements for displaced and refugee children in post-war Europe and Asia (colonial Hong Kong), highlighting the underpinning new political view of children as investment for colonial and ideological empires (Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States) in the context of the Cold War.

I plan to continue researching migration issues past and present.

I can supervise PhD projects on the topics above, as well on migration, gender, social policy, and childhood more broadly, both from a historical and a contemporary perspective.

Current PhD students

Chang Liu, “The evolution of the Chinese militia (1946-1958):  A case study on Zhejiang” (Lead supervisor)


Orchid Account:




"No Happy Childhood behind the Iron Curtain: Cold War and Imperial Perspectives on the Anglo-Soviet Dispute over Baltic Unaccompanied Children (1947-1952)." Europe-Asia Studies (forthcoming)

"Infant Welfare, Family Planning, and Population Policy in Hong Kong: Race, Refugees, and Religion, 1931–61." Journal of Contemporary History (2018)  

"Chinese Refugee Children and Empires: The Politics of International Adoptions in Cold War Hong Kong." The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 46, no 3 (2018): 579-601,

"Stalin’s Humanitarian Government: Class, Child Homelessness and State Security in a Historical Perspective (1930s–40s)." European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire 25, no. 1 (2018): 1-26,

Other outputs

Review of Paul Hagenloh, Stalin's Police: Public Order and Mass Repression in the USSR, 1926-1941 (Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD, 2009). European History Quarterly, 43, no.1 (2013): 148-150 (by invitation).

"Practitioners and academics explore policy solutions to the problem of left-behind children in Europe and China." In: "EU-China dialogue on left-behind children in Europe and China." Documentation of the 4th EU-China Civil Society Dialogue, Ningbo, 20-22 February 2012.  - (Author)

"Left-Behind Children: Problems and Solutions. " In: "EU-China dialogue on left-behind children in Europe and China." Documentation of the 4th EU-China Civil Society Dialogue (Ningbo, 20-22 February 2012).   - (Author)

“Social Order and Social Policies toward Displaced Children: The Soviet Case (1917-1953)’ (Unpublished PhD Thesis. Manchester, 2006).

Selected Conferences & Talks

“The Politics of Resettlement of Baltic Unaccompanied Children from Post-War Occupied Germany” (Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, 20 June 2018) (Michael G. Karni Scholar Lecture 2017-18, by invitation)

“Refugee Children and Empires in Cold War Hong Kong”. International Conference “Children and Youth in a Global Age”, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 25-26 May 2018)

“Incongruous Representations? ‘Happy’ Chinese Refugee Children in 1950s’ Hong Kong”. Society for the History of Children and Youth, Ninth Biennial Conference (Camden, NJ, 21-23 June 2017).

“From International Humanitarianism to Child Welfare: The Limits of Colonial Social Policy in Post-war Colonial Hong Kong”. Children and War: Past and Present. Third International Multidisciplinary Conference (Salzburg, 13 – 15 July 2016).

“Migrant Mothers, Left-Behind Children: Gender, Migration and Motherhood Past and Present”. MATILDA Summer School (University of Vienna, 1-13 July 2013) (by invitation).

“Child Protection, State Security and Social Space in the USSR, 1930s and 1940s”. Society for the History of Children and Youth, Seventh Biennial Conference (Nottingham, 25–27 June 2013).

“Researching Left-Behind Children in China: The Need of a Multidisciplinary Approach”. British Society for Population Studies, Annual Conference (Nottingham, UK, 10-12 September 2012).

“A Matter of Life or Death: The Soviet State’s Assistance of Abandoned Children (1920s-1940s)”. Workshop “Child Health and Humanitarian Emergencies”, Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 22 May 2012) (by invitation).