Professor Paul Clark

BA MA Auckland, Diploma Peking University, AM PhD Harvard


Paul Clark is a pioneer in the academic study of Chinese films. After completing a masters degree in New Zealand Māori history, he was one of the first three New Zealand students to go to Beijing on official exchange for two years study. His Harvard PhD thesis was on the Chinese film industry from 1949 to 1983. He has published books on Māori history, Chinese cinema, a cultural history of the Cultural Revolution, and on Chinese youth culture in 1968, 1988 and 2008. His current Mardsen Fund project is on changing leisure spaces in Beijing since 1949.

Research | Current

  • Chinese films and popular culture, including culture during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
  • Chinese youth culture
  • Beijing since 1949

My current book project is a history of leisure and changing leisure spaces in Beijing since 1949. It builds on two strands in my research career: history and cultural studies. This project is supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand. I continue to write on Chinese film history, particularly the period from 1949 until the 1980s.

My most recent book, published in 2012, is on the development of Chinese youth culture from 1968 to 2008, showing how young Chinese learned to assert their identity in three very different historical circumstances.  My cultural history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) which covers the beginning of this period, was also published by Cambridge University Press. The 2005 book on the Fifth-Generation filmmakers was reprinted in 2014 with an update.

Teaching | Current

CHINESE 130 Rethinking China

CHINESE 203 China on Screen

CHINESE 303 China on Screen

CHINESE 724 Chinese Film and Popular Culture

Postgraduate supervision

Paul Clark supervises doctoral and Masters research on Chinese film, modern Chinese literature and modern Chinese history. Two current doctoral students are researching the question of realism in contemporary Chinese cinema and the hidden cultural meanings in the model performances of the Cultural Revolution.


  • 2014 - present, Member of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council
  • 2012 - present, Associate Director, New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre
  • 2009 - present, Editor, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies
  • 2009 Guest Editor, Renditions: A Translation Journal, Spring 2009 Chinese film script issue (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • 2008 - present, Academic Director, The New Zealand Centre at Peking University
  • 2008, 2009 Humanities Panel member, Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand
  • 2006- present, Board Member, Confucius Institute, Auckland


Paul Clark is Chair Professor of Chinese in the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics. He was also Director of the North Asia CAPE (Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence) from July 2018 to August 2021.

Areas of expertise

Contemporary Chinese popular culture, including films; the Cultural Revolution; Chinese youth culture since 1949; Beijing social history since 1949.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2014-2019 Marsden Fund award, Royal Society of New Zealand, “Recreating Beijing: Public space, private pursuits and popular agency since 1949.

2009-2017 Editor, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 

2009 Guest Editor, Renditions: A Translation Journal, Spring 2009 Chinese film script issue (Chinese University of Hong Kong).

2008 Academic Director, The New Zealand Centre at Peking University – on-going.

2008, 2009, 2010 Humanities Panel member, Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand.

2006-2008 Marsden Fund award, Royal Society of New Zealand, “Being Chinese: Youth and globalisation 1968, 1988, 2008.

2006 Board Member, Confucius Institute, Auckland.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Clark, P. (2018). Projecting influence: Film and the limits of Beijing's soft power. In P. Voci, L. Hui (Eds.) Screening China's soft power (pp. 21-37). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Clark, P. J. A., Pang, L. K., & Tsai, T.-H. (Eds.) (2015). Listening to China's Cultural Revolution Music, Politics, and Cultural Continuities. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages: 292. 10.1057/9781137463579
  • Clark, P. J. A. (2014). Chongsu Zhongguo: yidai dianyingren he tamende dianying (in Chinese) (Chinese translation). Zhengzhou, China: Henan University Publishing House. Pages: 304.
  • Clark, P. J. A. (2012). Youth Culture in China: From Red Guards to Netizens. New York and Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pages: 303.
  • Clark, P. J. (2011). Closely watched viewers: A taxonomy of Chinese film audiences from 1949 to the Cultural Revolution seen from Hunan. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 5 (1), 73-89. 10.1386/jcc.5.1.73_1
  • Clark, P. J. A. (2009). Special Issue: Chinese Film [Guest editorship, working with nine other international film scholars, of Chinese University of Hong Kong journal]. Renditions: A Chinese-English Translation Magazine, 71, 1-137.
  • Clark, P. J. A. (2005). Reinventing China: A Generation and Its Films. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press. Pages: 265. Related URL.

Contact details

Office hours

Please email me for an appointment.  

Primary office location

ARTS 2 - Bldg 207
Level 4, Room 438
New Zealand

Web links