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Peter K. Bol

Charles H. Carswell Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (1980–1982)

Headshot of Peter K. Bol

Peter K. Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. His research is centered on the history of China’s cultural elites at the national and local levels from the 7th to the 17th century. He is the author of "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China, Neo-Confucianism in History, and Localizing Learning: The Literati Enterprise in Wuzhou, 1100-1600, coauthor of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I-ching, co-editor of Ways with Words, and various journal articles in Chinese, Japanese, and English. He led Harvard’s university-wide effort to establish support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research; in 2005 he was named the first director of the Center for Geographic Analysis. As Vice Provost (2013/09-2018/10) he was responsible for HarvardX, the Harvard Initiative in Learning and Teaching, and research that connects online and residential learning.He also directs the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history. In a collaboration between Harvard, Academia Sinica, and Peking University he directs the China Biographical Database project, an online relational database currently of 515,000 historical figures that is being expanded to include all biographical data in China's historical record over the last 2000 years. Together with William Kirby he teaches the ChinaX course, one of the HarvardX courses.