Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies: Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies seeks to maintain the vitality of China Studies in the US and Canada through fellowships and grants designed primarily for scholars early in their careers.  Studies on and in China have developed over the last 30 years in North America into a robust field, but current conditions pose daunting problems, especially for scholars just before and just after the dissertation.

Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants provide opportunities for scholars of different disciplines to share in-depth investigation of texts that are essential points of entry to Chinese periods, traditions, communities, or events in contemporary or historical times.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Henry Luce Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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

  • Art in Drama: Reading Dramatic Texts at the Interstices of Performance Culture and Visual Culture  |  Abstract

    This collaborative reading workshop shall add to our understanding of the visual dimension of drama in Ming and Qing China through an interdisciplinary approach to dramatic texts that portray or engage other forms of art, such as painting, gardening, woodblock printing, costuming, and performance arts (e.g., guqin-playing, female dance, ballad singing, and court pageantries, etc.). In this workshop, we bring together drama scholars with cross-genre, cross-media, and cross-disciplinary research projects all of which involve close reading of dramatic texts as a fundamental part of their scholarship. Each participant has proposed one to two dramatic texts at the center of their ongoing research projects to be the primary material for an intensive group discussion.

    Peng Xu
    Peng Xu

    Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures, Swarthmore College

    Quincy Ngan
    Quincy Ngan

    Assistant Professor, Department of the History of Art & MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University

  • Reading Chinese Reportage Across the Disciplines  |  Abstract

    This collaborative reading workshop explores reportage narratives in contemporary China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, including travel writings, environmental reportage, nonfiction works, and documentary films. Participants appraise the activist function of the reportage genre, assess its ideological limitations, idiosyncratic constraints and concurrent ethical challenges. The reading sessions of the workshop cross-examine literary reportage and documentary cinematography, focusing on the textualisation of real life images, and the visualisation of texts narrating real people and events. Ultimately, the workshop evaluates the representations, discourses, and analytical demarcations of the reportage concept, and explore new perspectives on the aesthetics of global reportage.

    Li Guo
    Li Guo

    Associate Professor, Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies, Utah State University

    Charles Laughlin
    Charles Laughlin

    Professor, East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Virginia

  • Reading Chinese Reportage Across the Disciplines  |  Abstract

    This collaborative reading workshop explores reportage narratives in contemporary China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, including travel writings, environmental reportage, nonfiction works, and documentary films. Participants appraise the activist function of the reportage genre, assess its ideological limitations, idiosyncratic constraints and concurrent ethical challenges. The reading sessions of the workshop cross-examine literary reportage and documentary cinematography, focusing on the textualisation of real life images, and the visualisation of texts narrating real people and events. Ultimately, the workshop evaluates the representations, discourses, and analytical demarcations of the reportage concept, and explore new perspectives on the aesthetics of global reportage.

    Li Guo
    Li Guo

    Associate Professor, Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies, Utah State University

    Charles Laughlin
    Charles Laughlin

    Professor, East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Virginia

  • Reading the Excavated Poetry (Shijing) from Early China: Approaching from Perspectives of Paleography, Philology, Phonology, and Classical Exegesis  |  Abstract

    This workshop aims to examine the overarching significance of the Poetry (Shijing) in light of the excavated bamboo and silk manuscripts from early China. We will invite scholars from the West and Asia to share strategies for deciphering and understanding the archaeologically discovered manuscripts related to the Poetry. Their areas of expertise range from Chinese paleography, philology, phonology, philosophy, history, and culture studies. Scholars will have the opportunity to read the galley proofs of the Warring States (453-221 BCE) Chu bamboo manuscripts acquired by Anhui University in 2015, which will allow them to explore various possibilities in deciphering the scripts, examining the materiality of the manuscripts, and interpreting their literary and aesthetic significance.

    Liang Cai
    Liang Cai

    Assistant Professor, History, University of Notre Dame

    Guolong Lai
    Guolong Lai

    Associate Professor, School of Art and Art History, University of Florida

  • The Intersection of Religion, Medicine, and Technology in Medieval Chinese Alchemy  |  Abstract

    Our reading workshop brings together an international group of specialists in Chinese medicine and religion to read the Taiqing jinye shendan jing, a text that stands at the crux of critical issues in the histories of religion, science and medicine in China. Beyond simply translating this text, our team will investigate how drugs featured in its pages traveled and were differently construed across diverse communities in medieval China. This project makes new technological strides, by developing digital tools to track the situated nature of drug lore—within communities, within textual genealogies and within time and space. We will arrive at a more refined understanding of the ways in which substances functioned in their reception, use and circulation in medieval China.

    Jonathan E. Pettit
    Jonathan E. Pettit

    Assistant Professor, Religion, University of Hawaii at Manoa