About Ed Pulford

Ed Pulford is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. His research and teaching focus on anthropological and historical approaches to Eurasian borderlands, Sino-Russian relations, and comparative experiences of socialism and empire. He has lived and worked in China, Russia, Japan, and Korea, and his first book Mirrorlands explores Russia-China connections across time via a travelogue through the countries’ shared borderlands.

Ed Pulford is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and indigeneity in northeast Asia.

Ed's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Ed:

Ian Johnson, "Sparks: China's Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future" (Oxford UP, 2023)

May 9, 2024


Ian Johnson
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Even as most contemporary states look to history in order to legitimize their existence in some way or other, the past – and narrations of it – hold p…

Maria Repnikova, "Media Politics in China: Improvising Power under Authoritarianism" (Cambridge UP, 2017)

January 6, 2024

Media Politics in China

Maria Repnikova
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Despite its extraordinary diversity, life in the People’s Republic of China is all too often viewed mainly through the lens of politics, with dynamics…

Alyssa M. Park, “Sovereignty Experiments: Korean Migrants and the Building of Borders in Northeast Asia, 1860-1945" (Cornell UP, 2019)

December 27, 2023

Sovereignty Experiments

Alyssa M. Park
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Even in states where borders and sovereignty are supposedly well established, large movements of transnational migrants are seen to present problems, …

Maura Dykstra, "Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine: The Administrative Revolution of the Eighteenth-Century Qing State" (Harvard UP, 2022)

April 30, 2023

Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine

Maura Dykstra
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Uncertainty about the way a state should be working is not necessarily produced by having multiple voices offering competing ideas about it. As Maura …

Ruth Rogaski, "Knowing Manchuria: Environments, the Senses, and Natural Knowledge on an Asian Borderland" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

February 10, 2023

Knowing Manchuria

Ruth Rogaski
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Among all the world’s most storied and legend-filled regions, the place known to some over time as ‘Manchuria’ has had an especially wide range of ide…

Adam Brookes, "Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China's Forbidden City" (Atria Books, 2022)

December 2, 2022

Fragile Cargo

Adam Brookes
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The two parallel Palace Museums in Beijing and Taiwan, and their separate collections of thousands of precious artworks and artifacts from imperial ti…

Cole Roskam, "Designing Reform: Architecture in the People's Republic of China, 1970-1992" (Yale UP, 2021)

July 26, 2022

Designing Reform

Cole Roskam
Hosted by Ed Pulford

China’s urban landscapes are full of radically different architectural styles which memorialise different eras in the country’s political past, from t…

Katie Stallard, "Dancing on Bones: History and Power in China, Russia and North Korea" (Oxford UP, 2022)

May 6, 2022

Dancing on Bones

Katie Stallard
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Present-day relations between ‘the West’ and each of China, Russia and North Korea are often fractious to say the least, yet today’s global atmosphere…

Darren Byler, "Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City" (Duke UP, 2022)

April 13, 2022

Terror Capitalism

Darren Byler
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The continuing crisis in Xinjiang has, thanks to the work of many scholars and reporters, led to greatly increased awareness of the region's history a…

Sunhee Koo, "Sound of the Border: Music and Identity of Korean Minority Nationality in China" (U Hawaii Press, 2021)

November 24, 2021

Sound of the Border

Sunhee Koo
Hosted by Ed Pulford

When faced with some of the complex identity questions which often arise in borderlands, Koreans in China – known as Chosonjok in Korean, Chaoxianzu i…

Ksenia Chizhova, "Kinship Novels of Early Modern Korea: Between Genealogical Time and the Domestic Everyday" (Columbia UP, 2021)

November 1, 2021

Kinship Novels of Early Modern Korea

Ksenia Chizhova
Hosted by Ed Pulford

In the face of a Korean cultural world preoccupied with newness, literary output from the more measured and regulated Choson period (1392-1910) can se…

Su Yun Kim, "Imperial Romance: Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905-1945" (Cornell UP, 2020)

September 7, 2021

Imperial Romance

Su Yun Kim
Hosted by Ed Pulford

As in colonial situations elsewhere, Korean experiences of Japanese empire featured many attempts by the imperial authorities to regulate intimate asp…

David R. Stroup, "Pure and True: The Everyday Politics of Ethnicity for China's Hui Muslims" (U Washington Press, 2022)

August 9, 2021

Pure and True

David R. Stroup
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Compared to their Uyghur and Kazakh co-religionists in Xinjiang, China’s largest single Muslim group – the Hui – has received less media and scholarly…

Andrew F. Jones, "Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Global 1960s" (U Minnesota Press, 2020)

July 16, 2021

Circuit Listening

Andrew F. Jones
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Music from East Asia has recently been making its way round the world on waves created and mediated by new technologies and global interconnections. T…

Emily Ng, "A Time of Lost Gods: Mediumship, Madness, and the Ghost after Mao" (U California Press, 2020)

June 22, 2021

A Time of Lost Gods

Emily Ng
Hosted by Ed Pulford

If China’s Mao era is seen by many as a time of great upheaval and chaos, there are also people and places for whom things appear quite different. Wri…

Odd Arne Westad, "Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 Years of China-Korea Relations" (Harvard UP, 2021)

May 7, 2021

Empire and Righteous Nation

Odd Arne Westad
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Being arguably each side’s most enduring international bond, the China-Korea relationship has long been of great practical and symbolic importance to …

Andray Abrahamian, "Being in North Korea" (Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2019)

January 21, 2021

Being in North Korea

Andray Abrahamian
Hosted by Ed Pulford

As well as presenting practical challenges, addressing the question ‘what is it like in North Korea?’ raises ethical concerns around who is entitled t…

Kelly A. Hammond, "China's Muslims and Japan's Empire: Centering Islam in World War II" (UNC Press, 2020)

December 30, 2020

China's Muslims and Japan's Empire

Kelly A. Hammond
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The 1930s-40s expansion of the Japanese empire was marked by significant interest among Japan-based scholars and policy-makers in China’s Muslim popul…

David Tobin, "Securing China's Northwest Frontier: Identity and Insecurity in Xinjiang" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

November 20, 2020

Securing China's Northwest Frontier

David Tobin
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Greater interest in what is happening in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang in recent years has generated a proportional need for context, an…

James Carter, "Champions Day: The End of Old Shanghai" (Norton, 2020)

September 23, 2020

Champions Day

James Carter
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Shanghai’s status as a bustling, international place both now and in the past hardly needs much introduction, although the centrality of horse racing …

Sören Urbansky, "Beyond the Steppe Frontier: A History of the Sino-Russian Border" (Princeton UP, 2020)

September 8, 2020

Beyond the Steppe Frontier

Sören Urbansky
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The fact that the vast border between China and Russia is often overlooked goes hand-in-hand with a lack of understanding of the ordinary citizens in …

Gregory Afinogenov, "Spies and Scholars: Chinese Secrets and Imperial Russia’s Quest for World Power" (Harvard UP, 2020)

July 20, 2020

Spies and Scholars

Gregory Afinogenov
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The ways in which states and empires spy on and study one another has changed a great deal over time in line with shifting political priorities, writt…

Gina Anne Tam, "Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860-1960" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

July 7, 2020

Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860-1960

Gina Anne Tam
Hosted by Ed Pulford

The question of how a state decides what its official language is going to be, or indeed whether it even needs one, is never simple, and this may be p…

Brian DeMare, "Land Wars: The Story of China’s Agrarian Revolution" (Stanford UP, 2019)

June 18, 2020

Land Wars

Brian DeMare
Hosted by Ed Pulford

Many people outside China, and indeed many urbanites living in the country, rarely think about its vast rural areas. Yet today’s People’s Republic in …