Skip to main content

China in the World. Postgraduate Research Summer School in Chinese Studies

Final Activity Report Summary - CHINA IN THE WORLD (China in the World. Postgraduate Research Summer School in Chinese Studies)

The project provided research training in Chinese studies through a series of four summer schools held in Nanjing (2006), Leeds (2007), Bristol (2008) and Oslo (2009). The summer schools have achieved the overarching aim of enhancing European research capacity in all areas of Chinese studies, particularly Chinese society, politics, and modern and contemporary history, by facilitating the training of postgraduate research students from Europe in the most current and relevant research approaches and techniques. Furthermore, the participation of a large number (39) of highly-respected speaker-trainers from a range of academic fields throughout the project has enabled a concentration of training expertise not normally available in any one particular European university.

As well as increasing and improving the research skills of students, the summer schools have also presented valuable opportunities for cross-national scholarly and professional networking among participants through the inclusion of students from Europe, China, Japan, North America and Australia. The attendance of Chinese postgraduate students has laid the foundation for future research and professional collaboration between European and Chinese junior researchers. Global collaboration in the field of Chinese studies has been further enhanced by the attendance of students from North America and Australia, facilitated by the World Universities Network (WUN).

The focus of the summer schools was modern and contemporary Chinese history, Chinese society and politics. Each summer school covered a different theme and keynote speakers functioned as facilitators and trainers, with some participating in several summer schools to provide an element of continuity. The main formats of the events were short thematic introductions by speakers; task-based group work, discussion of theories, research approaches and empirical analysis guided by experienced researchers based on set materials; small peer-group seminars and critique of participants' own research; and research-relevant excursions or hands-on training sessions.

The theme of the Nanjing Summer School was 'China and globalisation in a historical perspective'. Training focused on Chinese historical archives and resources, theories of globalisation that debated modernity, colonial and post-colonial experiences, world systems, and the 'new world order', and included visits to the second archives of Nanjing and Jiangning town, exploring urban development and social change since 1978.

The Leeds summer school was themed 'China, globalisation and social stratification'. Training focused on social and spatial mobility and citizenship in China, theories and measurements of class and social strata, and conducting fieldwork in China, and included hands-on training in the craft of the semi-structured interview and literature searches in an on-line environment.

The theme of the Bristol summer school was 'China, Europe and the world'. Training focused on China's regional integration and implications for its economic and social development and relations with Europe, theories and practices of regional integration, and included training in survey work in China and a Q&A session on academic publishing. One of the highlights of the Bristol summer school was a special seminar on 'China, globalisation and the future of ASEAN' by the ASEAN secretary-general, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

Finally, the Oslo summer school's theme was 'China global: Nation state and ethnicity'. Training focused on narratives of nation in China, its minority nationalities and Greater China, theories of nation and ethnicity, the cosmopolitan, the national and the local. The highlight of the Oslo summer school was a keynote speech by globally acclaimed scholar of nationalism, Professor Benedict Anderson (Cornell, USA).