Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society

Funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, ACLS offers a program of support for work in China studies.

In this cycle of competitions awards were made to proposals adopting an explicitly cross-cultural or comparative perspective: projects that, for example, compare aspects of Chinese history and culture with those of other nations and civilizations, explore the interaction of these nations and civilizations, or engage in cross-cultural research on the relations among the diverse and shifting populations of China. Proposals are expected to be empirically grounded, theoretically informed, and methodologically explicit.

Read more about this program.

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  • "Artistic Exchanges between China and the West during the Late Qing Dynasty (c. 1795 to 1911)  |  Abstract

    The proposed workshop is intended to explore artistic relations between China and the West during the late Qing dynasty (19th c). It focuses on a period that came after an era of intensive cross-cultural exchange during the height of that dynasty (late 17th and 18th c), when chinoiserie was all the vogue in the West and when in China an openness to Western influences led to a parallel phenomenon sometimes referred to as européenerie. By choosing a, relatively informal, workshop format, we hope to spark a discussion focused on a question that has emerged in the last few years as one that is crucial for our understanding of East-West relations (and of international relations in general): what happens to cultural and artistic exchanges in a politically hostile climate?

    Petra ten-Doesschate Chu
    Petra ten-Doesschate Chu

    Professor, Communication and Arts, Seton Hall University

  • Comparative Perspectives on Body Materiality and Structure in the History of Sinitic and East Asian Medicines  |  Abstract

    How did Chinese medical practitioners historically understand the material forms and physical structures of the human body, and how did their perceptions shape their beliefs about illness, diagnosis and therapy? Our workshop addresses these questions through a cross-cultural investigation of what we are calling Sinitic medicine, namely healing practices derived from canonical texts originally written by Chinese authors. It was a shared cultural reference for doctors in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere; and Sinitic medicine was also influenced by non-Chinese practices. Through comparative study, our workshop aims to uncover new information about the history of the Chinese medical body and to promote new ways of studying it.

    Yi-Li Wu
    Yi-Li Wu

    Visiting Scholar, EASTmedicine, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, UK

  • Comparative Perspectives on Materiality in the History of the Book: China and East Asia  |  Abstract

    Our workshop seeks to provoke discussion among China Studies scholars and their counterparts in Korean Studies and Japan Studies about the question of materiality (material culture) in the academic discipline of Book Studies, and specifically the materiality of books in Chinese and East Asian regional societies. The team’s long-term goal is to propose an alternative model for analyzing the materiality of books from China, Korea, and Japan and, in turn, to demonstrate innovative approaches to constructing knowledge about the book cultures of East Asia as a region. In sum, we will advance a framework that is potentially transformative to the field of Book Studies as a whole.

    Patricia Sieber
    Patricia Sieber

    Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University

  • Memory and Text in Premodern East Asia: Concepts, Theories, and Methods  |  Abstract

    This workshop offers unique opportunities for scholars from the China, Japan, and Korea fields to exchange, compare, and explore different modes of research surrounding “memory and text.” Organized into a three-day program with two roundtables and nine seminars, it promises to bring intense and exciting discussion of the interaction between memory and text, may it concern the individual or the group, the spatial or the temporal, or “product” or “process.” Insights from this workshop will provide a foundation from which to draw coherent concepts, theories, and methods for the research of memory and text in premodern East Asian studies. The first of its kind, it is posed to inspire broad and bold rethinking of the study of the past as a subfield across Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies.

    Meow Hui Goh
    Meow Hui Goh

    Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University