Past Programs

American Research in the Humanities in China Fellows

The Committee on Scholarly Communications with China (CSCC) Program awards grants to U.S. scholars for research in China for periods of 4-12 months. Funding for the program was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The CSCC, jointly sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Social Science Research Council, was established in 1966 to promote contacts between individual American scholars and private scholarly groups and their counterparts in China.

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. 

Cynthia J. Brokaw
Cynthia J. Brokaw  |  Abstract
This study examines the development of publishing and the creation of a Chinese book culture on the southwestern frontier (Sichuan province) of the Qing empire. It maps the transmission of printing technologies and texts from the established coastal publishing centers to the frontier; describes the growth of publishing in the province; analyzes the content of Sichuan book culture, both elite and popular; and traces the textual integration of Sichuan into the Chinese world during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through a study of Tibetan publishing in Sichuan, it also explores the impact that a parallel, non-Han, textual culture had on this process of textual integration.

Professor, History, The Ohio State University  -  Book Culture in the Qing Frontier: Publishing in Sichuan in the Seventeenth through Twentieth Centuries
In Residence at Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences

Michelle M. Yeh
Michelle M. Yeh  |  Abstract
This is a new study of the culture of aromatics in Tang-Dynasty China (618-907). Aromatics are defined as fragrant flowers and leaves, grasses and leaves, barks and roots, herbs and spices, gums and resins. The discovery of aromatics and their increasing consumption provide a window on Chinese culture, from evolving attitudes toward nature and the supernatural; China’s interface with the Middle East, Europe, South and Southeast Asia; the role of aromatics in court culture and everyday life; to literary representations of aromatics. This study is anchored between material culture and aesthetics, between techno-culture and imaginative expressions; it draws on studies of Chinese religion, medicine, science, political economy, folklore, art history, and literature, as well as modern Western studies of scent. This project makes two original contributions by offering: 1) an overview of Chinese scent culture from the antiquity to the tenth century, and 2) a critical analysis of images of smell in Tang poetry. Visuality is universally considered a defining feature of Chinese language and poetry; this study opens a new avenue of inquiry by trying to understand how images of smell formulate and convey poetic experience in the context of Chinese scent culture.

Professor, University of California, Davis  -  Fragrant Songs: Scent Culture in Medieval China
In Residence at Suzhou University

Joshua Goldstein
Joshua Goldstein  |  Abstract
This project involves extensive field research into the informal recycling system centered in Beijing, assessing its local and regional effects, particularly in areas of Hebei and Hunan provinces. Beijing’s recycling sector is based on the labor of an estimated 300,000 rural migrant scavengers and collects an estimated 1.5 million tons of post-consumer waste (paper, plastics, metals) annually, but it has gone relatively ignored by scholars and faces neglect, if not outright discrimination, by the Beijing municipal government. Through extensive interviews with government administrators and migrant recyclers, as well as through the implementation of surveys and an extensive array of site visits, this study constructs the first comprehensive picture of this sector at a municipal and regional level; when work is complete, the collected data will be analyzed from a number of perspectives, and a book-length study on the topic will be produced.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Southern California  -  Municipal and Regional Level Analysis of Beijing's Post-Consumer Recycling Sector
In Residence at Peking University

Ying Zhu
Ying Zhu  |  Abstract
The project brings to light the missionary-affiliated documentary filmmaking practice of Sun Mingjin during the Sino-Japan war and the subsequent civil war in China. It draws comparisons between Sun’s film practice and that of his contemporaries in United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, and elsewhere during the period to situate his work within a global context. It further examines the role of Christian missionaries in the development of early Chinese film and China’s higher education and relates the legacy to the resurgent interest of Western countries in China’s current educational reform. It sheds new light on a cluster of complex issues concerning the production, circulation, and reception of the contemporary Chinese independent documentary movements.

Associate Professor, Media Culture, City University of New York, College of Staten Island  -  The Historical, Cultural, and Pedagogical Legacy of Sun Mingjin's Documentary Film Practice in China and Beyond

Eric Karchmer
Eric Karchmer  |  Abstract
This project examines the historical transformation of Chinese medicine that begins in the Republical era and culminates in the Communist Period. Contemporary Chinese medicine is defined, above all, by its relationship with Western medicine. On the one hand, doctors of Chinese medicine speak as if their medical practice is radically different than Western medicine. On the other hand, they combine both medical systems in their everyday clinical practice. This project examines the historical antecedents of this phenomenon. It seeks to find answers to this transformation through an historical examination of China’s colonial and postcolonial power relations.

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  -  The Making of Chinese Medicine: The Republican Era Encounter with Western Medicine