J Mark Elvin

Prof J Mark Elvin


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Personal profile


Mark Elvin retired from the University in 2006, and, apart from an occasional semi-popular article and review, and offering comments at a handful of conferences each year, has moved away from his previous research interests in Chinese history, and is working on annotating his draft translation of a crucial but relatively neglected European work in Latin on plant science, R. J. Camerer's De sexu plantarum epistola [Letter on the sexuality of plants] of 1694.

Career highlights

Harkness-Commonwealth Fellow, Harvard (1962-64); Research Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge (1966-67); Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford (1973-89); Inaugural Holder of the Chaire Européenne at the École Normale Supérieure, Paris (1993); Professor of Chinese Studies (vice Professor Rudolf Wagner), Sinologisches Seminar, University of Heidelberg, Germany (2003-2004).


MA (Cantab et Oxon), PhD (Cambridge)

Research interests

Chinese history: environment, economy, demography, proto-science, geography, emotions.

Expertise Areas

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Economic Development and Growth
  • Fertility
  • Economic Geography
  • Literature in Chinese
  • Asian History
  • History and Philosophy of Science (incl. Non-historical Philosophy of Science)
  • Islamic Studies


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