John Gittings

Peace writings
Journal articles
Newspaper articles
Family links

After teaching at the University of Westminster I worked at The Guardian (UK) for twenty years as assistant foreign editor and chief foreign leader-writer (1983-2003). With my wife and constant partner for over 50 years, Aelfthryth Gittings (who died in December 2012), we brought up four sons and travelled widely in South America, Asia and Europe. In 2001-03 we set up The Guardian's first staff office on the Chinese mainland, in Shanghai. Afterwards we moved to Shipton under Wychwood in Oxfordshire, becoming active in local historical research, CND, and the Labour Party. (I have now moved into Oxford).

Having specialised for many years on China and East Asia, I have worked since I left The Guardian mainly on the history of peace thought, publishing a new book, The Glorious Art of Peace (OUP,2012), and many articles. The paperback edition of this book was published in October 2018 (see below) with a new preface. I have also contributed to the Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace (2016), and to the Oxford Handbook of Peace History (2023).

I am a Research Associate at the China Institute, School of Oriental & African Studies, London University, where I publish regular blogs, and an Associate Editor of the Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Peace. In November 2015 I served as a judge on the International People's Tribunal on 1965 Crimes against Humanity in Indonesia, and co-edited the Final Report. More recently I have written on the perception of global existential risk, and I am now studying China's policy in this area.

China and Existential Risk: Research Outline (2024)

Hiding in Plain Sight: Why we missed the threat of a pandemic -- and other existential risks. (July 2021).

Our perfect storm of crises -- Open Democracy, (Jan. 2019)

Peace History and Historians (Palgrave Handbook, 2016)


Oxford University Press

New Preface for 2018 edition