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.

Related Links

Search for Fellows and Grantees

Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

  • Creating the World of Chan/ Son /Zen: Chinese Chan Buddhism and its Spread throughout East Asia  |  Abstract

    Zen enthralled the scholarly world throughout much of the 20th century, and Zen Studies became a major academic discipline in its wake. Toward the end of the 20th century, some of the biases inherent in Zen Studies began to be exposed, and the parameters of the field shifted markedly into new directions. A consensus formed that the so-called “golden age” of Zen forged by Tang dynasty masters was largely the product of Song Chan revisionism. The aim of the conference is to forge new parameters for Chan/ Son /Zen Studies. The focus will be on developments in Chan Buddhism during the 10th through 13th centuries, and their impact throughout the East Asian region in Korea and Japan, both pre-modern and modern, as well as in China after the Song dynasty.

    Albert F. Welter
    Albert F. Welter

    Professor, East Asian Studies, University of Arizona

  • Digital Humanities Asia: Harnessing Digital Technologies to Advance the Study of China and the Non-Western World  |  Abstract

    This first-of-its-kind global conference on Chinese and Non-Western Digital Humanities will advance a new era in DH, bringing together leading and emerging DH scholars – not only of China – but also of East, South, Southeast, and Inner-Central Asia working in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Informatics. Four (4) areas of research are central, representing both the core of DH as a whole, as well as areas in which Chinese and Asian Studies scholars have been underserved and under-resourced: (1) Text Mining and Computational Analysis of Asian & Non-Latin Scripts; (2) the Spatial Analysis of Asian Human Geographies, (3) Network Analysis of Non-Western social formations, and (4) the development of Asian Studies Digital Humanities tools and platforms.

    Thomas Shawn Mullaney
    Thomas Shawn Mullaney

    Associate Professor, History, Stanford University

  • Fluid Matter(s): A Cross-Cultural Examination of Body Fluids and Drugs that Act Upon Them  |  Abstract

    “Fluid Matter(s): A Cross-cultural Examination of Body Fluids and Drugs that Act Upon Them” is an interdisciplinary conference concerned with fluids inside the body, and the material substances and practices that are used to act upon, move, handle, or contain them. Our goal is to develop a framework for cross-cultural comparisons of the conceptualizations and roles of “matter” in medicine and related practices of body care. The conference focuses on three subjects: (1) body fluids and how they move or are moved by physicians and/or drugs (2) drugs and healing substances themselves and how they are used to act upon body fluids (3) the role of fluids in the creative process of purposeful transformation that occurs during the preparation of drugs.

    Natalie Caroline Koehle
    Natalie Caroline Koehle

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian Center on China in the World, Australian National University

  • Land Dispossession in Rural China and India  |  Abstract

    The purpose of the proposed conference is to begin a substantial conversation between scholars who study rural land dispossession in India and China. This interaction should prove very valuable for both sides. It will allow the development of comparative perspectives that can provide analytical leverage for explaining particular developments in each country. It should also help inspire common theoretical frameworks for analyzing rural land dispossession not only in China and India, but also in other developing countries.

    Joel Andreas
    Joel Andreas

    Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

  • Theater under the Ming and the Habsburgs: Angelica in and out of the Cathay  |  Abstract

    Objective: A conference about Spanish and Chinese theater in the 16th and 17th centuries. This is a project that consists of approximations within fields that do not communicate often. Proposed points of comparison: Mise en scène of Spanish comedia in Chinese, and vice-versa Balance of comic and tragic elements Spanish theater in Chinese communities (Philippines, Taiwan, etc.) Jesuit theater in China, or about China missions Urban and court theater in the 16th century Ritual theater in China and religious comedia in Spain and the Americas Development of theater and development of capitalist systems Entertainment as the objective of theater Music and dancing in theater Printing of theater: copies for staging, actors, and reading Theater and images: ekphrasis, publication

    Juan P. Gil-Osle
    Juan P. Gil-Osle

    Associate Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University