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. 

  • Echoes of the Lanting ji  |  Abstract

    “Echoes of the Lanting ji” examines a selection of texts of different genres written during the 4th through 12th centuries. Its aim is to identify and interpret their evidence of the Lanting ji’s abiding imprint on medieval Chinese literature and cultural life, including investigation of its resonances in later poetic tradition (from subtlest echoes to the collection’s shaping influence on the popularity of certain poetic themes and the development of criteria for aesthetic judgment), the role of Wang Xizhi’s “Preface to Lanting ji” in transforming the preface genre into a revered category of literary composition, and the extent and nature of this collection’s broader cultural and social influences, such as on later literati notions and rituals of interpersonal fellowship.

    Ding Xiang Warner
    Ding Xiang Warner

    Professor, Asian Studies, Cornell University

  • Genealogies of Knowledge: Reading Gsan yig/Thob yig Literature from the Tibetan Frontiers of Late Imperial China  |  Abstract

    Life writing began to be pursued with vigor in Tibetan cultural regions beginning in the twelfth century. This workshop will host an interdisciplinary team of scholar to read together a widespread but neglected Tibetan autobiographical genre known as "records of teachings received" (Tib. gsan yig/thob yig). Each day, two participants will direct our reading of selections a gsan yig text. Together we will: 1) identify, translate, and interpret sections from each text where the author discusses their work as literature (ie. reflections on style, rhetorical devices, and gsan yig as literary self-stylization) and 2) discuss future collaborative digital humanities projects that could better map and share the mass data points described in these texts (persons, places, transmission).

    Matthew William King
    Matthew William King

    Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside

  • Reading for Pleasure: Chinese Popular Literature and the Cold War  |  Abstract

    Reading and discussing Chinese-language popular literature published and circulated in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 1960s, we explore the mass appeal of these texts in different Chinese societies and the complex processes by which popular literature disseminated political and ideological messages, cultivated desire for and mediated connections with the other side of the Cold War binary. We will also investigate different conceptualizations of the “popular” across the Cold War divide and study the circulation routes and industrial structures of popular literary production.

    Shuang Shen
    Shuang Shen

    Associate Professor, Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Pennsylvania State University

  • The Zhuangzi: Reading Beyond the "Inner Chapters"  |  Abstract

    Although the Zhuangzi is well known as one of the most important works of early Chinese literature and philosophy, most of the text has been ignored, with a focus only on the first seven “Inner” chapters. The primary goal of this workshop is to read selected chapters (or groups or parts of chapters) from the “Outer” and “Mixed” sections as texts in their own right. The focus will be on philosophical and literary analysis, but will include some discussion of their possible date, affiliation, historical significance, and so on, as well as the broader hermeneutic issues of reading a text composed like the Zhuangzi. Aside from better understanding the Zhuangzi, the workshop will shed greater light on the diversity of positions that went into the formation of Daoism.

    Franklin T. Perkins
    Franklin T. Perkins

    Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Nanyang Technological University