Welcome to my website! I am a cultural historian of modern Japan and India, based at the University of Edinburgh.
My most recent book is The Japanese: A History in Twenty Lives (Allen Lane, 2020), exploring the great sweep of Japan’s history through the lives of twenty remarkable men and women. My next book delves into Westerners’ long-running fascination with Asia, from the Greeks through adventurers and poets including Marco Polo and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, all the way to the 1960s counter-culture and beyond. The Light of Asia: A History of Western Fascination with the East will be out in January 2024.
I write for a range of publications, including BBC History magazine, History Today, Aeon magazine, the Guardian, the Telegraph, Engelsberg Ideas and the New York Times. I am also an occasional broadcaster with BBC Radio, presenting episodes of Radio 3’s arts and ideas programme Free Thinking alongside a range of documentaries, including a four-part series on culture and mental health called The Borders of Sanity.
I offer expert commentary for newspapers, magazines and broadcasters, including BBC News Channel, TIME, Sky and CNN. My consultancy work has included assisting with the BBC and British Museum collaborative project Living With the Gods, presented by the former director of the museum Neil MacGregor.
To find out more about my writing and broadcasting, please follow the links at the top of the page. For my research and teaching, please visit my university webpages. Do also feel free to get in touch, via Twitter (@drchrisharding) or using my Contact page.
P.S. If you’re wondering about the main image on my website, these are statues of ‘Jizō’: a Buddhist deity who keeps watch over children and travellers. You can find them all across Japan, merging over time with their surrounds to become features of the natural landscape.
Jizō image credit: Jordy Meow @ Pixabay. Author photo credit: Felicity Millward.