Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Xiaoping Fang

Fang Xiaoping is Assistant Professor of History in School of Humanities of the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He received his PhD in History from the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he majored in modern China and the history of science, technology and medicine in East Asia from 2002 to 2008. He studied and worked at the Needham Research Institute of Cambridge, UK (2005-2006), the Asia Research Institute of the NUS (2008), and the China Research Centre of the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (2009-2013). His current research interests focus on the history of medicine, health and disease in twentieth-century China. He is the author of Barefoot Doctors and Western Medicine in China (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012 & 2015).

Dr Fang's project at the IAS is entitled 'Pandemics in Mao’s China: Disease and Mobility between the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution'.  It explores the mobility of four disparate Chinese social groups - returning diaspora, urban residents, rural populations and Red Guards - and how they related to the spread and control of the two pandemics: El Tor cholera - the first global pandemic to affect China - and epidemic meningitis - the country’s most deadly pandemic after 1949. It investigates how social control and pandemic control schemes strengthened each other in Mao’s China. It applies medical and political history to create a delicate social study of a previously unexplored aspect of socialist China between the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution.