Thomas P Barrett

Dr Thomas P Barrett


Thomas is a Japan-trained historian of East Asia, who specialises in the international, diplomatic and transnational history of the region up until the end of the long nineteenth century.

Thomas P Barrett

Before taking up his current post in Cambridge, Thomas was trained in the Japanese Tōyōshi 東洋史 tradition, completing his BA at Aichi University (the successor to the Shanghai-based Toā Dōbun Shoin 東亜同文書院) and his MA at the University of Tokyo. In 2016, he began his PhD at the University of Tokyo as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science DC Research Fellow under the guidance of Professors Murata Yūjirō 村田雄二郎 and Kawashima Shin 川島真. In 2019, he moved to the University of Oxford to complete his doctoral work under the supervision of Professor Henrietta Harrison. He has also studied at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and at National Taiwan University in Taipei.

Titled ‘Foreigners and the Making of the Chinese Diplomat’, Thomas’ doctoral thesis evaluates the significance of foreigners who were employed as counsellors, secretaries, legal advisors and consuls in late Qing and early Republican China’s legations and consulates, as a means to trace how Western European diplomatic culture and practice came to be institutionalised in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The project was funded in Japan by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and in Britain by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Parts of the project have been published in the renowned Japanese journals Shigaku Zasshi 史学雑誌 and Tōyō Gakuhō 東洋学報, and in an edited French volume published in October 2021 by the École française d'Extrême-Orient. Further articles and monographs in the English and Japanese languages are also currently in preparation.

Thomas’ current project seeks to develop an analysis of how China and the way it related to the outside world in the pre-modern era was understood both in the Japanese and European intellectual contexts. He is also developing other projects on the relationship between Qing China and Chosŏn Korea in the late nineteenth century, and on the history of Japanese sinology.

What's on

Inger Mewburn

Kicking the can down the road: How to create research impact in seven (not so easy) steps

06/06/2023 at 17.30

We hear terms like ‘research impact’ and ‘engagement’ all the time, but what does ‘impact’ and ‘engagement’ actually look like in practice?

selection of books written by Professor Inger Mewburn

Productivity workshops for researchers with Prof. Inger Mewburn aka The Thesis Whisperer

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Join Professor Inger Mewburn, also known online as the Thesis Whisperer, for one or both workshops to help increase your productivity: Getting sh!t done and Building a second brain (for writing)

'You' by Gavin Fry

Art Exhibition: 'Things Put Differently'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Things Put Differently' featuring Gavin Fry and works by Anthony Green and Mary Cozens-Walker.

Photo of artist Gurpran Rau holding a piece of her artwork

Art Exhibition: 'Patterns of Renewal'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

We're delighted to be the first to display Gurpran Rau's latest exhibition 'Patterns of Renewal', featuring a series of paintings created during lockdown inspired by her walks in the woods of Cambridgeshire.