Dr Toby Lincoln

Associate Professor in Chinese Urban HistoryToby Lincoln 2013

Contact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5907
  • Email: tl99@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Attenborough Tower Room 807

    Personal details

After graduating from the University of Birmingham in 1999, I spent two years living and working in China. On my return to the UK, I embarked on further study in London before pursuing a D.Phil at the University of Oxford. After a year as a postdoctoral associate at the Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University, I joined the department here at Leicester in 2010.


Examples of the modules I teach:

  • Enter the Dragon: Modern Chinese History, 1839-1989
  • When Two Dragons Fight: China and Japan at War in the Twentieth Century


Research themes

I study modern Chinese urban history. Concentrating on the twentieth century, I am particularly concerned with urban morphology, the changing rural-urban relationship and daily life in different environments. Additionally, I work on the relationship between war and the city, the importance of social networks in Chinese history and how ideas about cities have and are being disseminated across East Asia.

Current research projects

I am currently working on two research projects. The first is an AHRC early career research fellowship. The title is Postwar Urban Reconstruction in China 1938-1958. This research explains how urban reconstruction in China during and after World War II (WWII) laid the foundation for the country to become the world's largest urban society. In focusing on the war as a transformative period in the development of China's cities, instead of the Communist Revolution, it writes the country into the global history of urban change throughout the 20th century. This research begins with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, which is when widespread urban destruction commenced. It ends with the start of the Great Leap Forward in 1958, which marked the intensification of policies to create industrial socialist cities. The second is a summary of Chinese urbanization from its origins to the present, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press as part of its New Approaches to Asian History series. It explores how China's imperial urban civilization has been transformed into the world's largest urban society, focusing on the development of the urban system, changes to urban morphology, and daily life in cities.


Economic, political and social history of modern China; Chinese urban history and industrialisation.

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