Kevin O'Brien

712 Barrows Hall
510 642-4689
Alternate #:
925 935-2118


Kevin O'Brien's picture


Research Interests: 
Social Movements
Protest Policing
Local Elections
Comparative Legislatures
Political Reform
B.A., Grinnell College, 1979
Ph.D., Yale University, 1987
Personal Statement: 

Kevin O’Brien is the Alann P. Bedford Professor of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science. He is also the Director of Berkeley's Institute of East Asian Studies and the Walter and Elise Haas Professor of Asian Studies. A student of Chinese politics in the reform era, he has published nearly 50 articles on topics such as legislative politics, local elections, fieldwork strategies, popular protest, policy implementation, protest policing, and village-level political reform. He is the author of Reform Without Liberalization: China's National People's Congress and the Politics of Institutional Change (Cambridge, 1990) and the co-author of Rightful Resistance in Rural China (Cambridge, 2006). He is the co-editor of Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (Stanford, 2005), Rural Politics in Contemporary China (Routledge, 2014), and Grassroots Elections in China (Routledge, 2011), and the editor of Popular Protest in China (Harvard, 2008). His most recent work centers on the Chinese state and theories of popular contention, particularly as concerns the policing of protest and types of repression that are neither "soft" nor "hard." He has won various grants and awards and serves on the editorial or advisory board of ten journals.



(New York: Cambridge University Press,  2006)

Rural Politics in Contemporary China (ed. with Emily T. Yeh and Ye Jingzhong) (London: Routledge, 2014) Reviews


(Cambridge: Harvard University Press,  2008) Reviews



Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (ed. with Neil J. Diamant and Stanley B. Lubman) (Stanford: Stanford University Press,  2005) Reviews

Reform Without Liberalization: China’s National People’s Congress and the Politics of Institutional Change (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990) Reviews


Grassroots Elections in China (ed. with Zhao Suisheng) (London: Routledge, 2011) Reviews


Protest Control and Policing
Village Elections
The China Field
Policy Implementation