A Fellow & Tutor at Merton College and the University Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Oxford, Gerth grew up in Chicago and has conducted research in China and Japan for over twenty-five years. After receiving his PhD from Harvard in 2000, he taught at the University of South Carolina until moving to Oxford in 2007. His interests include modern global and Chinese/East Asian history, with special interests in consumerism, nationalism, environmentalism, and everyday life under communism. He is currently writing a series of books on the history and contemporary implications of Chinese consumerism. The latest is As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything, which explores the wide-ranging ramifications of China’s shift toward a market economy over the past thirty years.
His first book, China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation, examines the connections between nationalism and consumerism in China in the first half of the twentieth century. In addition, he has published and presented several papers on comparative aspects of modern Chinese and world history and has received numerous awards to support his research. He is currently working on two book projects. He is first writing a book conceptualizing consumerism across twentieth-century China. The second project uses archival materials, periodicals, memoirs, and interviews conducted in China to investigate the impact of the Chinese Communist Party’s radical social policies on everyday life in the nation’s urban centers during the 1950s.