Timothy Brook is a historian, sinologist, and writer on the topic of China. He holds the Republic of China Chair, Department of History, University of British Columbia. Brook's research focuses on the social and cultural history of the Ming Dynasty in China; law and punishment in Imperial China; collaboration during Japan's wartime occupation of China, 1937–45 and war crimes trials in Asia; global history; and historiography.


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Recent episodes featuring Timothy Brook
Episode 57 - Dr. Timothy Brook (UBC)
In this episode, Dr. Timothy Brook reviews the Meiji Restoration from the perspective of Chinese history, reconsidering historical narratives comparing Chinese and Japanese responses to Western imperialism and detailing how the Restoration impacted China and Japan's positions in the region.  We discuss how nationalism shaped reactions to the West, the origins of Japanese imperialist expansion in East Asia, and the legacies and lessons of the Meiji Restoration for Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations today. (Transcript here).
Tiananmen Square Massacre
Dr. Brook, a scholar of Chinese history and Professor at the University of British Columbia, discusses his book about the massacre in Beijing and various details about what actually happened. The discussion then focuses on the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, twice purged by Mao Zedong and whose own son had been injured and crippled during the chaos of the Cultrual Revolution (1966-1976). Deng acted to use overwhelming, and lethal force, on the students. Defenders of Deng suggest the killing was a necessary step to promote stability. They note how tens of millions of people were brought into the middle class through Deng’s market friendly polices. The actions were also justified as preventing chaos like China had experienced during the Cultural Revolution in the ten years before Mao’s death in 1976. Dr Brook discusses this view and legacy of Deng, and the history of democracy in China. The interview then turns to what Dr. Brook sees as the future for China with President Xi now set to rule for life, like Mao before him.
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Jan 6th, 1951
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 hour, 15 minutes