Dr Tom Cliff


Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Tom Cliff is a Lecturer in Anthropology and the political economy of China at the School of Culture, History, and Language, in the College of Asia and the Pacific. He convenes the Bachelor of Philosophy (Humanities and Social Sciences), or PhB (HaSS) — the ANU's elite and demanding undergraduate research program in the HaSS disciplines.

Tom is currently investigating non-state welfare and public goods provision in rural China. The research is centrally concerned with charity "model" innovation, model dissemination and the spread of ideas, and state charity mobilisation.

In 2018, Tom's first book Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang (Chicago University Press, 2016) won the Association for Asian Studies' prestigious E Gene Smith prize for Best Book on Inner Asia.

Please see Google Scholar for recent publications.


Current student projects

Stefanie Kam: Securitisation, Desecuritisation and Counter-Securitisation (PhD; Panel member)

Jasmine Wang: The Ultra Rich in the PRC (PhD; Supervisor)



Research interests

China's Motor: Entrepreneurs and private enterprise. Family and lineage. 

Institutions: of production, market, and social order.

Charity: State structures and mobilisation. Non-state welfare and public goods. 

Experiences: of frontier settlement; of the Socialist State-Owned Enterprise.

Past student projects

Alex Pan: Competing Media Perspectives on China's Economic Situation, 1945-1949 (PhB; Supervisor)

Alana Tolman: Social and Political Aspects of Bruneian Tertiary Education Policy (Hons; Supervisor)

Yuan Xiaoxi: The Influence of English on Modern Chinese through the 20th century (MAPS; Supervisor)

Lucy Zheng: Power of Language: Political Slogans, Cyber Censorship and Increasing Nationalism in 2010s China (MAPS; Supervisor)

Li Linshan: Lineage Groups and Modernity in Contemporary Southeast China (MAPS; Supervisor)

Ingrid Mao: Contemporary Banality in China (PhB; Supervisor)

Xu Yiwen: Collective Parental Anxiety about After-Class Education in China (MA Advanced; Supervisor)



PhD. (Chinese Studies, ANU)

Researcher's projects

Family, Enterprise, and Civic Duty in Contemporary China

Business-Local State Relationships in China (ARC DP140101289, with Andrew Kipnis)

Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang

Expertise Areas

  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
  • Social Change
  • Studies of Asian Society


Dive into the research topics where Tom Cliff is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Network (past 5 years)

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or