Mid-February, the University of Manchester was graced with the special appearance of the president of the American Historical Association: Kenneth Pomeranz. A leading China expert, Professor Pomeranz delivered a guest lecture to students and faculty evaluating the weaknesses, and addressing criticism, of his famous thesis in The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Written over a decade ago, Pomeranz lays down the framework of “accidents of geography” to explain Western success and Eastern failure in recent history.


By way of Professor Zheng Yangwen and Dr Pierre Fuller, the busy Pomeranz took time out of his busy schedule to talk in Manchester after landing in the UK the same day, and just before arranged appearances in London before flying back to the USA. A student of Sterling Professor Jonathan Spence (The Search for Modern China), Pomeranz is considered to be the historian of this generation’s Chinese history studies.