Event Details

WHAT: RASBJ online talk by Professor Dominic Lieven on emperors and imperial monarchy in China and elsewhere, followed by Q&A

WHEN: August 31, Wednesday, 7:00-8:00 PM Beijing Time (online)

MORE ABOUT THE EVENT: Professor Dominic Lieven is an award-winning historian and scholar. In his new book IN THE SHADOW OF THE GODS, he examines the strengths and weaknesses of the emperors and empresses throughout history who ran and shaped our world. It examines how they coped in their roles as leader, hereditary monarch, and emperor, while being human and mortal. For RASBJ Dominic Lieven will concentrate on the Chinese tradition of imperial monarchy, looking at the ways in which it did and did not differ from other great imperial traditions. He will also show the similarities and differences between 'native/Han Chinese' dynasties and 'conquest dynasties' from China's northern borderlands. He will draw on the personalities, achievements and failures of a number of individual emperors (e.g. Han Wendi, Tang Taizong, Tang Xuanzong, Song Huizong and Qing Yongzheng) to illustrate what qualities made an emperor succeed or fail. Though his book is about history, some of its themes (e.g. geopolitics and leadership) are very relevant to contemporary international politics.

MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Professor Dominic Lieven is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has held senior positions at the London School of Economics. See more under Speaker.

HOW MUCH: This online event is free for members of RASBJ and of partner RAS branches; RMB 100 for non-members.

HOW TO JOIN THE EVENT: Please click "Register" or "I Will Attend" and follow the instructions. After successful registration you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to join the event. If you seem not to have received it, please check your spam folder.

Members of partner RAS branches: Please register in the correct ticket category at least 72 hours in advance to allow time for membership verification. You'll receive two emails from us, the first confirming receipt of your registration request and the second confirming your registration, with a link to join the event. Please check your spam folder to ensure you see all RASBJ emails.


  • Dominic Lieven (Speaker)

    Dominic Lieven



    Professor Dominic Lieven graduated from Cambridge University, where he graduated top of his year. He has been a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University, and from 1978 to 2011 was at the London School of Economics, where he was head of the Government/Politics department in 2001-4, and head of the department of International History from 2009-2011. He wrote " In the shadow of the gods" while a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge (2011-2019) where he is now an Honorary Fellow.
    Other honours include being a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    His books fall into two main categories. Five are historical archive-driven monographs on imperial Russia. Three are much broader comparative works: on empire, on European aristocracy, and lastly on emperors, leadership and hereditary imperial monarchy as a type of political system -- and the one that has dominated most of the globe for most of history.

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  • Alan Babington-Smith (Moderator)

    Alan Babington-Smith



    Alan Babington-Smith is the founding President of RASBJ and a graduate in History from Trinity College Cambridge.

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