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    African Humanities Program senior advisers Lynette Steenveld, Adigun Agbaje, and Sandra Barnes at Makerere University in Uganda

  • china studies

    The Henry Luce Foundation and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation support vibrant ACLS fellowship programs in China studies.

  • ACLS Fellow Jean Givens

    ACLS Fellow Jean Givens examines medieval medical manuscripts at the University of Lund 

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies


The deadline for this program has passed. The description below is for information purposes only.

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies seeks to maintain the vitality of China Studies in the U.S. 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 the United States into a robust field, but current conditions pose daunting problems, especially for scholars just before and just after the dissertation. To address this situation, the program will offer three competitions:

  • Predissertation-Summer Grants, for graduate students  who wish to conduct preliminary preparations in China prior to beginning basic research for the dissertation.  The grants are for graduate students -- with a Ph.D. prospectus in hand or developing one -- to investigate the research currently underway in Chinese archives and field sites, to establish contact with Chinese scholars, and to secure necessary permissions for their own fieldwork or archival research;
  • Postdoctoral Fellowshipssupporting scholars in preparing their Ph.D. dissertation research for publication or in embarking on new research projects; and
  • Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants, providing 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. 

Applications in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences are welcome. The program supports the study of Chinese culture and society in all periods. Research in Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan is eligible.

This program is made possible by funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for postdoctoral fellowships.


Predissertation- Summer Grants

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Tenure: 3-4 months (in 2014) for a preliminary visit to China necessary to prepare for beginning basic research for the dissertation
  • Eligibility:
    1) An applicant must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a university in the United States.
    2) The application must contain a letter from the dissertation supervisor stating the need for a summer visit to China prior to dissertation research. This may include work useful to development of the prospectus.
  • Deadline: Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system no later than 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, November 12, 2013
  • Notifications will be sent in May 2014.
  • Final report required on completion.

Predissertation grants provide funding for graduate students to explore venues and make preliminary research arrangements, and to gain advice from potential collaborators regarding subsequent research in China.

Application essays must provide the rationale for the research agenda with particular attention to the evidence needed to answer research questions. The essay should present a rational for the need for a summer visit to China prior to dissertation research. It should also provide a plan for travel in China, identifying the individuals, institutions, and sites to be visited. Inclusion of correspondence with potential contacts in China is desirable.

A working knowledge of Chinese is required.

Stipends may be used for costs associated with travel to China for research: air and ground transportation, visas and living expenses. 

Please see the 2012 Predissertation Grantees here.


Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Amount: up to $45,000
  • Tenure: maximum of one academic year and minimum of one semester (beginning from June 2014 to September 2015).
  • Eligibility:
    1) An applicant must hold a Ph.D. from an institution in the United States or be a U.S. citizen with a Ph.D. from any institution. The Ph.D. degree must be completed by November 12, 2013 (including defense and revisions) and conferred by May 31, 2014. (If the date of conferral is after the application deadline, the application must include an institutional statement attesting that all requirements for the Ph.D. have been fulfilled. Successful applicants will be asked to submit proof of conferral.)
    2) An applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must have an affiliation with a university or college in the United States.
    3) An applicant must hold a Ph.D. degree conferred no earlier than January 1, 2005.
  • Deadline: Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system no later than 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, November 12, 2013.
  • Notifications will be sent in May 2014.
  • Final report required on completion.

Postdoctoral fellowships support work based on the applicant’s research in China that aims to produce a scholarly text in English.

A working knowledge of Chinese is required.

Stipends may be used for travel, living expenses, and research costs. Other support may be accepted (sabbatical leave or other grants) but the total received cannot exceed the 125% of the fellow’s academic annual salary. There is no financial support for dependents. 

Please see the 2012 Postdoctoral Fellows here.

Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants

  • Amount: up to $15,000
  • Tenure: Workshops must be held between June 1, 2014 and September 2015.
  • Eligibility:
    1) Each member of the organizing team must hold a Ph.D. from a university in the United States or be a U.S. citizen with a Ph.D. from any university.
    2) Workshops must be held at a location in the United States or Canada. 
    3) No formal eligibility requirements for participants.
  •  Deadline: Completed applications must be submitted electronically to chinastudies@acls.org  no later than 9 p.m.; Eastern Standard Time, November 19, 2013.
  •  Notifications will be sent in May 2014.
  • Final report required on completion.


These grants provide support for collaborative reading of texts in a workshop format that is interdisciplinary and crosses scholarly generations. A wealth of often complex and challenging texts is a distinctive feature of the Chinese cultural record, making close reading by a group of scholars especially fruitful, because they can bring to bear diversity of research, experience, and expertise. Collaboration refers primarily to the sustained, collective examination of texts. But it may also characterize the conceptualization of the workshop by several scholars. If there is more than one organizer, a principal organizer should be named who will be responsible on behalf of the group for corresponding with ACLS, for signing the grant letter and receiving funds, and for signing the final report. Workshop participants should be drawn from several different institutions.

Formats of workshops may vary, but each should be based on texts that illuminate a period, tradition, culture, location, or event. At the workshop each text may be introduced by one or two participants, with others being asked to read and explicate a portion thereof. Close reading and careful translation are thus the basis for workshop discussion. Sufficient time should be provided for sustained collaborative reading – one day would seem too brief; three days much more productive.

Reading workshops are intended to be less formal than conferences; they should involve interactive reading, interpretation and commentary within a seminar-sized group. [Applications proposing a series of individual presentations, especially to a larger audience, should be directed to the Chiang Ching Kuo/ACLS program in “New Perspectives in Chinese Society.”]

Awards for collaborative reading workshops may be used to support travel and lodging costs of participants, acquisition of materials, communications, and local arrangements. Funds may not be used for salary replacement, honoraria, or institutional indirect costs. Funding will not be provided for events that constitute elements of a series or colloquium, or that otherwise form part of the annual cycle of a university program. Luce/ACLS-funded reading-workshops must bring together scholars who would not otherwise have the opportunity to work together.

The primary objects of study should be written texts, but these may be supplemented by images and objects such as archaeological artifacts.

The principal objective is a new understanding of the texts and the subject matter they illuminate. A publication might result, but it is not a requirement of the reading-workshop grant. No additional financial support for publication is anticipated.

Selection Criteria

  • The significance of the texts chosen for illuminating aspects of the study of the cultures, histories, and societies of China.  
  • Interdisciplinarity in the study of texts; for example, sociologists and literary scholars might be invited to read historical documents, historians to join the reading of philosophical manuscripts, etc.

Including graduate students, and scholars from Chinese institutions, is encouraged.

Awards will be made based on the rationale for the type of event(s) planned and the prospect for new interpretations of the texts selected for reading.

A final report is required, written in a form that may be published on the ACLS website.

To download the application for Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants, please click  here.
(If you wish to keep a paper copy of the application for your records, use the ‘print as image’ option in your printer settings for best results.)

Please see the 2012 Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grantees here.

Appropriate fields of specialization include but are not limited to: American studies; anthropology; archaeology; art and architectural history; classics; economics; environmental studies; film; gender studies; geography; history; languages and literatures; legal studies; linguistics; musicology; philosophy; political science; psychology (excluding clinical or counseling psychology); religious studies; rhetoric, communication, and media studies; sociology; and theater, dance, and performance studies. Proposals in the social science fields listed above are eligible only if they employ predominantly humanistic approaches (e.g., economic history, law and literature, political philosophy, history of psychology). Proposals in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary studies are welcome.