Paula S. Harrell is a China and Japan historian (Ph.D., Columbia University) who currently teaches courses on China's history and political economy for the BALS program at Georgetown's School of Continuing Studies. In addition to her faculty experience at Georgetown, Harrell has taught courses on China, Japan, and East Asia at the University of Maryland and Dickinson College. She has published two books on China-Japan relations: Asia for the Asians (MerwinAsia/WEAI-Columbia University, 2012) and Sowing the Seeds of Change (Stanford University, 1992). Harrell is also a major contributor to Ezra F. Vogel’s just-published study, China and Japan: Facing History (Harvard University Press, 2019).
Harrell has combined work in academia with practical experience in the development assistance field. She designed aid projects for USAID/Jordan and Harrell Partners, LLC, and served as management specialist for the World Bank’s China Department where she took part in the appraisal, negotiation, and supervision of a series of Bank-financed projects that helped jump start China’s economic takeoff in the 1980s. Harrell’s field research included analysis for the Bank’s major poverty reduction initiative in China, “China: Strategies for Reducing Poverty in the 1990s” (World Bank, 1993).
On the SCS faculty since 2008, Harrell has taught a succession of courses on China’s political economy, inter alia, "Beijing Olympics 2008,“ China and the Internet,” and “China’s Rise to Global Power." She won the Outstanding Faculty Award for the BALS program in 2019. Drawing on her years of Japan research as well, Harrell provides commentary online and in public talks in DC and Honolulu on the topic of China, Japan and the prospects for regional stability.