Dr Maurizio Marinelli joined Sussex in September 2013 after leaving Australia where he was Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the China Research Centre at the University of Technology Sydney. During his career, he also taught East Asian studies in Italy, China, and the United States. Between 2005 and 2010, he was Director of the MSc program in East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol (UK). During his last two years at Bristol, he was also Principal Investigator of the ESRC research project ‘Colonialism in comparative perspective: Tianjin under nine flags, 1860-1949’.

His research is located at the crossroads of culture, geography, history and politics, with a particular focus on Chinese cities. Through this interdisciplinary lens, he explores the two main themes of ‘civilising the citizens’ and the socio-spatial transformation of urban China as a means to engage with larger related universally experienced themes (i.e. urban aesthetics regimes, regeneration of colonial/global spaces, urban design and public space, living heritage, etc.). He has completed several studies on the historical and socio-political dimensions of urban transformation in the port city of Tianjin, the Chinese capital Beijing, and colonial-global Hong Kong. His research has been published in leading academic journals, including Theory and Society; Emotion, Space and Society; China Information; Urban History; China Heritage Quarterly; the Journal of Chinese Political Science, Postcolonial Studies, and Cultural Studies Review.

He is currently working on a new book project on land redevelopment and urban transformation in Hong Kong, with particular attention to street markets.

He looks forward to supervise PhD students specialising in East Asian History, especially those who are interested in pursuing their research in one of the following areas: East and West encounters; colonial and post-colonial identity; urban transformation and the re-writing of history; urban aesthetics and cultural heritage; propaganda, citizenship education, and ‘stability preservation’; Chinese intellectuals vis-à-vis the public and the State; Chinese Revolution in comparative perspective. 


Senior Lecturer in East Asian History

Co-Director of Sussex Asia Centre

Community and Business

Dr Marinelli collaborates with various China-related cultural activities in London and abroad, with particular attention to heritage, visual cultures and art exhibitions.

On 18 January 2019, he was an invited speaker on 'Linguistic and Cultural Challenges with China' at the China-Britain Trade Expo, held at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Westminster, London.

On 7th December 2019, he was an invited speaker at the Global China Dialogue: Governance for Global Justice, held at the British Academy, London.

On 23 Jan 2017, he was invited to present his work ‘Hong Kong’s Living Heritage: The Role of Street Markets in the Construction of the Fragrant Harbour’, Presented as part of the AHRC Network on ‘China Ports: History, heritage & development: Establishing a cross-disciplinary, Sino-British dialogue’, Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

On 23 June 2016, he was invited to present his work ‘In the Name of ‘Beauty’: The Italian concession in Tianjin as a Template for Urban Regeneration in the Past and the Present?’ Keynote Speaker at ‘La concession Italienne de Tianjin: Labellisation, restauration, reconversion. Quelles valeurs patrimoniales?’,UniversitéParis 1, Pantheon La Sorbonne, Institute National d’Histoire de l’art.

n 19 February 2015, the beginning of the Chinese New Year, he was invited to present his work in the History of Design Research Seminars Series, Royal College of Arts/Victoria &Albert Museum. Title of his talk: “Saving the ‘Vital living past’ of Hong Kong: Stories of urban resistance in the Central District”.

On 14 August 2015, he was invited by the Chinese Embassy in London to the Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.

On 21 November 2015, he was invited by the Royal Academy of Arts to organise a roundtable discussion entitled Rewritten Histories. This roundtable is linked to the retrospective of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's work. For more on this:

On 24 November 2015, he was invited to present his work on 'ecological civilisation' at the Global China Dialogue: Transculturality and New Global Governance, which was held at the British Academy. The Dialogue was part of the (2015) 'UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange', and jointly organised jointly by CCPN Global (China in Comparative Perspective Network Global), the China Media Centre, University of Westminster, and the Development Institute, Fudan University, and supported by the British Council and the Cultural Office of Chinese Embassy in the UK.

He is often invited to comment on contemporary events, such as the 'umbrella revolution' in Hong Kong in autumn 2014 (e.g. Panorama), urban transformation in China (e.g. The Financial Times), and the explosions in Tianjin-Binhai new area in August 2015 (The Conversation).