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. 

Scott B. Cook
Scott B. Cook  |  Abstract
Throughout the Chinese cultural tradition, the pleasures and pains of alcohol have often been a central focus of political, intellectual, and literary discourse, the perfect trope for everything from poetic inspiration to political downfall. While ripe with potential for historical discovery and cross-cultural insight, this topic has thus far received little attention. This project explores the role of alcohol in early Chinese intellectual history, toward a more broadly comparative study on Chinese alcohol culture.

Professor, Chinese and Japanese, Grinnell College  -  Imbibing the Spirits: The Virtues (and Vices) of Alcohol in Early Chinese Culture

Xun Liu
Xun Liu  |  Abstract
This study investigates the Daoist role in the social and cultural transformation of modern Nanyang from the 1850s to the 1950s. Current scholarship has largely focused on the persecution of Daoism due to the May-Fourth iconoclastic rejection of Chinese indigenous religions as bastions of cultural backwardness and obsolescence. This project examines the Daoist initiatives and involvement in reforms in education, philanthropy, agriculture, public health, and city parks in Nanyang from the late Qing to 1949. It shows that Nanyang’s Daoist clerics and temples played active positive roles in local modern developments, creating a vibrant public space for both the expanding state and local community.

Associate Professor, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick  -  Daoist Monastic History, Clerical Activism, and Modern Reforms in Nanyang, 1860s-1950s

Siyen Fei
Siyen Fei  |  Abstract
“Chastity and Empire” examines the development and significance of the chastity cult in Ming (1368-1644) China’s border areas, in particular Shaanxi and Guizhou. Bridging the fields of gender and frontier studies, this project aims to renegotiate the conventional political and military boundaries of the Ming empire through a sociological analysis of the cultural infatuation with female chastity. Not only will the cross-disciplinary approach shed new light on the nature of traditional Chinese empires and the process of sinicization but it will also open a new direction for Chinese women’s history.

Assistant Professor, History, University of Pennsylvania  -  Chastity and Empire: A Comparative Study of the Chastity Cult in Ming Border Areas

Mark S. Swislocki
Mark S. Swislocki  |  Abstract
This project addresses human-animal relations and the establishment of political jurisdiction over nature in metropolitan and frontier China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, drawing on library and archival resources and fieldwork. It shows how the theory of evolution inspired Chinese to draw new boundaries between human and animal, nature and culture, and real and mythical. It identifies new relationships between zoological researchers and native hunters, noting how hunting became increasingly subject to state controls and identified as a non-Han, minority practice. Finally, it reveals how putting animals at the center of analysis inverts notions of center and periphery, as cities are emptied of animals and frontiers made into new centers of a progressive politics of nature conservation.

Assistant Professor, History, New York University Abu Dhabi  -  Classifiers, Hunters, and Conservators: Natural History and Human Animal Relations in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century China

Alexa Alice Joubin
Alexa Alice Joubin  |  Abstract
This study reveals how Chinese literary humor, as both translated and local genres, participates in the simultaneous processes of mitigation and preservation of traumatic collective memory. A series of chronologically-arranged and thematically-connected case studies of films, fictions, and dramas from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong examine comic conceits, Western influence, and various modes of parody from the May Fourth movement (1919-1930s), when nationalist projects attempted to claim ownership of trauma, to the post-1990 era, a crucial period of nostalgic reflection on a “century of pain.” While modern Chinese national history is rhetorically constructed around tragic narratives, the comic culture is part and parcel of the articulation of historical contingencies.

Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, Pennsylvania State University  -  A History of Modern Chinese Humor