Kevin O'Brien

712 Barrows Hall
510 642-4689
Alternate #:
925 935-2118
Kevin O'Brien's picture


Research Interests: 
Contentious Politics
Protest Policing
Local Elections
Comparative Legislatures
Policy Implementation
State-Society Relations
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 at UC-Berkeley. He is also the Director of Berkeley's Institute of East Asian Studies and the Walter and Elise Haas Professor of Asian Studies. He received a B.A. from Grinnell College and a Ph.D from Yale University, and taught at Ohio State before moving to Berkeley in 2000. His research focuses on contemporary Chinese politics. Among his publications are Reform Without Liberalization: China's National People's Congress and the Politics of Institutional ChangeRightful Resistance in Rural China (with Lianjiang Li), Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (co-edited with Neil Diamant and Stanley Lubman), and Popular Protest in China, as well as articles on legislative politics, local elections, fieldwork strategies, NGOs, migrant workers, implementation, policing, rural protest and village-level political reform. 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." 




(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