John Fitzgerald is the head of the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University. One of Australia's leading researchers on Chinese history and the Chinese in Australia, he graduated from the University of Sydney in 1976 and spent the following year in China under the Australia-China student exchange program. He was awarded a PhD in modern Chinese history at the ANU and worked at the ANU Contemporary China Centre before moving to the University of Melbourne in 1985. He joined the Department of Politics at La Trobe University in 1992, where he was later appointed Professor of Asian Studies. In 2005 and 2006 he directed the International Centre of Excellence in Asia-Pacific Studies at the ANU.