Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Continuing Education/Special Program Instructor; Vice Provost for Advances in Learning
Peter K. Bol is the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. As Vice Provost (named in 2013/09) he is responsible for HarvardX, the Harvard Initiative in Learning and Teaching, and research that connects online and residential learning. Together with William Kirby he teaches ChinaX (SW12x) course, one of the HarvardX courses. His research is centered on the history of China’s cultural elites at the national and local levels from the 7th to the 17th century. He led Harvard’s university-wide effort to establish support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research; in 2005 he was named the first director of the Center for Geographic Analysis. He also directs the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history. In a collaboration between Harvard, Academia Sinica, and Peking University he directs the China Biographical Database project, an online relational database currently of 380,000 historical figures that is being expanded to include all biographical data in China's historical record over the last 2000 years.
He is the author of or a contributor to Neo-Confucianism in History, 11th -17th Century (forthcoming), The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History (2003), Ways with Words (2000), Culture and the State in Chinese History (1998), Energizing China: Reconciling Protection And Economic Growth (1998), "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China (1992), Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China (1992), and Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching (1990), as well as various articles on intellectual and cultural history. Bol was named a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow. The annual award recognizes tenured faculty members for distinguished accomplishment in the fields of literature, history, or art.