About our staff
Dr Christopher Harding
BA, MA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS
Senior Lecturer; Asian History
- Tel: +44 (0)131 650 9960
- Email: Christopher.Harding@ed.ac.uk
Room 2.23, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place
Please note: due to COVID restrictions, I am not currently using my office.
My personal webpages are at www.christopher-harding.com
I can also be found on Twitter: @drchrisharding
- Deputy Director of Research (Knowledge Exchange & Impact)
Affiliated research centres
I grew up in London before heading ‘up north’, as it seemed at the time, to Oxford University. Following an undergraduate degree in History I was the co-founder of a company producing music for the computer games industry, before being lured back into academia via an MSt in Historical Research and then a DPhil in South Asian history, both at St Antony’s College, Oxford.
In 2004 I had the opportunity to go to Japan for a couple of years on a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Scholarship, studying the language intensively, working on some comparative South Asia – Japan research, and training and working as a journalist with Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbun.
I returned to the UK at the start of 2007 to take up a post at Edinburgh University, where I now research and teach on both South Asia and Japan. In April 2012 I was privileged to be the recipient of the EUSA Teaching Award for Best Course (Pioneers of Cultural Communication 4MA) and to receive the Runner Up award for Innovative Teaching.
Since becoming one of AHRC/BBC's ten New Generation Thinkers in 2013-14, I have mixed my research and teaching with broadcast journalism for BBC Radio 3 and 4, including a four-part series on global cultures and mental health: The Borders of Sanity. I also write for a broad range of publications - please see my personal webpages for more on all this.
The summit of Mount Fuji after a night-time climb. Our fellow climbers were equipped with hats and lights, except for a stray Japanese businessman with suit and briefcase – either climbing for charity or very, very lost following some after-work drinks.
Book and peer review for:
- History of Psychiatry
- Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry
- English Historical Review
- Journal of Ecclesiastical History
- Journal of Asian Studies
- Funding bodies, including AHRC
- Academic publishers, including Routledge.
Personal webpages: www.christopher-harding.com
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Comparative & Global History
- Medicine, Science & Technology
- Nineteenth Century
- Twentieth Century & After
In my research I explore the highly fruitful cultural dialogue that took place between the Western world and Asia (principally Japan and India) across the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
I focus on mental health and related religious and philosophical ideas, looking especially at the pioneering of new practices in psychiatry, psychotherapy, and spirituality.
The image above comes from a manga by the artist Torisugari, who told me about his experiences with depression in an episode of The Borders of Sanity.
Current research activities
I am currently working on a book about modern Westerners’ search for meaning in Asia and Asian culture, from Samuel Taylor Coleridge through T.S. Eliot to mindfulness practitioners in the present day. The book is due for publication with Allen Lane in 2022.
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
- In Search of Modern Selves: Psychiatry and Psychotherapies in India and Japan, 1880 - the Present (4MA)
- Japan: Politics, Culture, and Social Change: 1868 – 1952
- Global Connections Since 1450
- South Asian Studies 2 (School of Social and Political Science)
- 4MA Dissertation supervision, on Indian, Japanese, and 'East-West' topics
- Seeking Japan in a Westernizing World: Revolution, Romance, and Imperialism, 1868 - 1945
- Historical Methodology
- Approaches to History
- Writing History
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
|Donghyuk Kim||PhD||Missionary attitudes and influences under British direct rule in Mysore, 1831-1881||Lead supervisor|
|Avi Hingorani||PhD||A Clash of Colour: An Intellectual Dialogue on Race, Caste, and Class in the United States and India (1905-1965)||Lead supervisor|
The Reception and Spread of Western Art Music in Japan during the Meiji Period (1868-1912)
(Allen Lane, November 2020)
(Penguin audiobook, 2020)
(US edition of Japan Story)
Co-edited with Soumen Mukherjee
(Allen Lane, 2018)
(Penguin audiobook, 2018)
[Buddhist Psychoanalysis: On Kosawa Heisaku]
Co-authored with Drs. Nagao and Ikuta
(Kongo Shuppan, 2016)
Co-edited with Fumiaki Iwata and Shin'ichi Yoshinaga
(Routledge, 2014; paperback edition 2016)
(Oxford University Press, 2008)
Harding, C.G. 'Introduction', in Mukherjee & Harding (eds), Mind, Soul, and Consciousness: Religion, Science, and the Psy Disciplines in Modern South Asia (Routledge, 2019).
Harding, C.G. 'Historical Reflections on Madness', in White, Read, Jain & Orr, The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health (Palgrave, 2017).
Harding, C.G. Introduction, Chapter 1, and Conclusion, in Harding, Iwata & Yoshinaga (eds), Religion and Psychotherapy in Modern Japan (Routledge, 2014/2016).
Harding, C.G. ‘Religion’, in Suzuki Akihito & Kitanaka Junko (eds), Psychiatry, History and Anthropology (in Japanese; University of Tokyo Press, 2016).
Harding, C.G. 'India' [co-authored], in Lewis & Minas, Mental Health in Asia and the Pacific: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Springer, 2017).
Harding, C.G. ‘The Contemplative Gaze: Bede Griffiths and the Needs of Post-Independence Indian Christianity’, in T. Sarkar, P. Malekandathil & J.Pachuau (eds), Christianity in History: Encounters, Engagements, and Experiences (Primus, 2016).
Harding, C.G. ‘The Therapeutic Method of Heisaku Kosawa', Japanese Contributions to Psychoanalysis, volume 4 (The Japan Psychoanalytic Society, 2013).
Harding, C.G. ‘State of Insecurity: Self-Defence and Self-Cultivation in the Genesis of Japanese Imperialism’, in K. Nicolaidis, B. Sebe, & G. Maas, Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity, and Colonial Legacies (I.B. Tauris, 2014).
Harding, C.G. 'The Freud Franchise: Independence of Mind in India and Japan' in Celebrity Colonialism: Fame, Power and Representation in (Post) Colonial Cultures, ed. R Clarke, (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009) 73 - 87
Harding, C.G., 'Buddhism, Christianity, and Psychotherapy: A Three-Way Conversation in the Mid-Twentieth Century', European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling [January, 2018]
Harding, C.G.,'Hikikomori', The Lancet Psychiatry, January 2018.
Harding, C.G., 'Culture, Sexuality, and Psychotherapy', The Lancet Psychiatry, May 2017.
Harding, C.G., 'Culture and Psychotherapy in Japan', The Lancet Psychiatry, January 2017.
Harding, C.G. 'Religion in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy: Exploring the Japanese Experience and the Possibility of a Transnational Framework', East Asian Science, Technology, and Society (Duke University Press; February 2016).
Harding, C.G. ‘Japanese Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: The Making of a Relationship’. History of Psychiatry; June 2014.
Harding, C.G. 'The Emergence of 'Christian Psychiatry' in Post-Independence India', Edinburgh Papers in South Asian Studies, 24 (2011)
Harding, C.G. 'The Christian Village Experiment in Punjab: Social and Religious Reformation,' South Asia 31(3) (2008): 397 - 418
Selected Book Reviews
For my journalism and radio/podcast work, please see my personal webpages