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Han Zhao

I was a doctoral graduate in History Department at the University of Warwick. I have completed my doctoral thesis 'The Cultures of Shame in Britain, c. 1650-1800' under the supervision of Professor Mark Knights.



This thesis examines the cultures of shame in the latter half of the
seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain. It offers a critical response to
two oversimplified accounts of shame in the current non-historical literature:
the traditional view, which identifies shame as a socially-constructed and
morally-problematic emotion, and the recent revisionist view, which claims that
shame is virtuous and entirely autonomous. By identifying shame as an emotion,
a sense of honour, a moral sanction, a commodity, and a disciplinary weapon,
and scrutinising it through the lens of religion, politeness, print, and law,
this thesis explores how contemporaries experienced, interpreted, represented,
and utilised shame for spiritual, moral, commercial, and judicial purposes over
time. It demonstrates that shame, within different historical contexts, could
be social as well as personal, morally virtuous as well as morally irrelevant
or even bad. Shame was an essential religious emotion. Religious shame was a
self-imposed and morally-virtuous emotion; it was desired and embraced by early
modern Protestants, who saw it as a sign of piety and a means to come nearer to
God. While religious shame was an emotion primarily concerning personal
salvation, shame in a secular context was a socially-constructed concept
dealing with a person’s public honour. Early modern people regarded shame as
something of great moral and disciplinary value, which functioned as an inward
restraint keeping people away from sin, and a form of community and judicial
punishments. However, the moral and disciplinary characteristics of shame were
not immutable; in the eighteenth century, shame faced the danger of being
abused and reduced to a superficial and detrimental concept.


2011. 10 - China Scholarship Council - Warwick Joint Award


2011.10 - 2015.9 PhD in History, University of Warwick

2009.9 - 2011.6 MA in History, Wuhan University

2005.9 - 2009.6 BA in Journalism, Wuhan University

Working Experience

2008.1 - 2008.6 Journalist (intern), China Centre Television

2006.7 - 2006.8 Journalist (intern), Changjiang Daily


Han Zhao

Han Zhao

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