Brendan Forde commenced his PhD at the Department of Political and Social Change in March 2012. He has a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies from the Australian National University, as well as a Masters of Asia-Pacific Studies and a Graduate Diploma. In 2011, he received first class honours from the ANU for his honours thesis which looked at elite leadership change in the Chinese Communist Party. The topic of his current research concerns the politics of rural China, particularly at how villagers participate in political processes. In 2013, Brendan spent nearly twelve months conducting field research in several villages in China. He holds an Australian Postgraduate Award.