James Lee
Brief Biography: Big Data, New Facts, Important Comparisons

James Z. Lee (1952 -) is Chair Professor of History and Sociology and the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He and his colleagues in the Lee-Campbell Research Group construct, analyze, and disseminate Big Social Science Data collections dealing with historical and contemporary China.  Their research findings from these data fuel a new scholarship of discovery featured in A New History for A New China, a Coursera Massive Open On-line Course, designed to show how such facts complicate current understandings in Part One of comparative societies, in Part Two of human behavior, and eventually in what may be Part Three of the Coursera course of the construction of individual and group identities www.coursera.org/course/newchinahistory1 .

Professor Lee’s current research focuses on wealth accumulation and inequality of opportunity in historic and contemporary China, and their underlying and associated socio-demographic processes.  His and his colleagues’ analyses of China’s Silent Revolution: the Social Origins of Peking University and Soochow University Undergraduates, 1949-2002 published as a 21 page Chinese article, 无声的革命: 北京大学、苏州大学的学生社会来源 1949-2002, in the January 2012 issue of 中国社会科学杂志 and in August 2013 as a 300 page book with the same title by Beijing Joint Publishing has attracted over one hundred news and editorial print articles, interviews, webcasts, and broadcasts posted on one thousand Chinese websites.

Professor Lee’s published works include seven authored or co-authored books, seven co-edited books or textbooks, seven User and Training Guides to various Big Social Science Datasets, and seventy articles focused largely on the demographic, ethnic, fiscal and frontier history of late imperial China, as well as on the population behavior, social organization, and social mobility of contemporary China.   A John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (2004), he is the co-recipient of seven best book or equivalent honors.

  • The American Sociological Association Population Section awarded One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000 the 2000 Otis Dudley Duncan Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Social Demography
  • The Social Science History Association awarded One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000 the 2000 Allan Sharlin Award for Best Book in Social Science History
  • The Chinese Academic Yearbook中国学术年鉴 named 辽东移民的旗人社会 (Banner Society and the Settlement of Eastern Liaodong) one of the top five history books of 2004年出版的五本最佳历史著作之一
  • The American Sociological Association Asia and Asian America Section awarded Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900 the 2005 Biennial Prize for Outstanding Book on Asia
  • The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences named La population Chinoise: mythes and réalités (The Population of China: Myths and Realities) a 2007 Finalist for the Prix Jean-Charles-Falardeau Prize for Best French language book in the Social Sciences
  • The Japanese Population Association awarded Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900 the 2012 Biennial Prize for Best Book or Article published in 2009 and 2010 in Population Studies
  • The Jiangsu Academy of Social Science awarded无声的革命: 北京大学、苏州大学的学生社会来源 1949-2002(Silent revolution: the social origins of Peking University and Soochow University undergraduates, 1949-2002) the 2014 third prize for Outstanding Achievement in Philosophy and Social Science

Professor Lee’s students and postdoctoral fellows include previous and current faculty at UC-Berkeley, UC-Irvine, UCLA, the University of Hong Kong, HKUST, the University of Iowa, Nanjing University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the University of Tübingen, and the University of Washington, Seattle.

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