Dr Helena F.S. Lopes

BA, DPhil, MA, MA

  • BS8 1TB

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research interests

I am a historian of modern China and its interactions with the world. My research focuses on the history of the Second World War and the early post-war period in East Asia, and on imperialism(s) and anti-imperialism in twentieth century China. I am also interested in histories of Chinese migration and of Portuguese communities in China, as well as on Chinese/Sinophone cinemas.

I started a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Department of History in September 2020. My project investigates Chinese state and non-state interactions with European colonial powers that ruled territories in South China in the 1940s: Britain, Portugal, and France. It analyses the interconnection between the movement of refugees, expressions of Chinese anti-imperialist nationalism, and the exercise of European colonialism in Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhouwan. This comparative and transnational study rethinks the entangled histories of World War Two, Cold War and decolonisation in South China, as well as its global connections. Based on multilingual and multi-sited research this project will shed new light on China-Europe relations at a time of great transition: from war to post-war and Cold War, from Nationalist to Communist rule, and from imperial domination to global decolonisation.

I was formerly a Senior Research Associate in the History of Hong Kong at Bristol, having worked with the Historical Photographs of China Project. My contributions to the project’s blog, Visualising China, can be read here.

I studied in Lisbon, London, Taipei, and Oxford. I hold a DPhil in History from St Antony’s College, Oxford. I have conducted research in four continents and with sources in five languages. My research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, amongst others.

I am committed to public engagement and have been playing an active role in knowledge dissemination through events and platforms open to all. I was one of founding convenors of the International History of East Asia Seminar, held at the Oxford China Centre since 2016 and which I co-organised until 2019. I am also a member of the interdisciplinary network Colonial Ports and Global History based at the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (with colleagues from different institutions).



I am finishing a monograph on neutrality and collaboration in the South China enclave of Macau during the Second World War in East Asia (1937-1945). Macau, the first and last European colonial settlement in China, was the only foreign-administered territory to remain unoccupied by Japan throughout the war. Through a variety of previously unused multilingual sources collected in various countries I explore Chinese wartime diplomacy, uses and abuses of neutrality, and experiences of transnational collaboration.

I have recently published on the relocation of schools from mainland China and Hong Kong to Macau during the Second World War, on history of the Red Cross in Macau, on Portuguese Eurasian POWs in Hong Kong and Japan, and on representations of a global World War Two in Chinese cinema.



Over the past few years I have taught modern Chinese history and global history and supervised dissertations at the University of Bristol and the University of Oxford.

I was a Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Bristol in 2019-20, convening and teaching the third-year special subject Internationalising Modern China. I also taught History in Public and Global History and I continue to teach the latter in 2020-21.

Before joining Bristol, I was a Departmental Lecturer in Modern East Asian History at Oxford’s Faculty of History and Merton College (2017-19).


Dive into the research topics where Helena F.S. Lopes is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 6 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or