Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society

Funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, ACLS offers a program of support for collaborative work in China studies.

In this cycle of competitions awards were made to proposals adopting an explicitly cross-cultural or comparative perspective: projects that, for example, compare aspects of Chinese history and culture with those of other nations and civilizations, explore the interaction of these nations and civilizations, or engage in cross-cultural research on the relations among the diverse and shifting populations of China. Proposals are expected to be empirically grounded, theoretically informed, and methodologically explicit.

Read more about this program.

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  • Contact Zones and Colonialism in China’s South, 221 BCE to 1368 CE | Abstract

    The international conference, “Contact Zones and Colonialism in China’s South,” will encourage interdisciplinary discussions from the fields of history, linguistics, and archaeology concerning this region. We will focus discussion around questions of colonialism in early South China and mainland Southeast Asia: to what extent were cross-cultural and cross-ethnic contacts characterized by colonial types of power relations? To what extent was migration into the region a form of settler colonialism? And was there nonetheless a colonial dynamic among disparate peoples and in local communities of the South when cross-cultural interactions were commercial or agricultural, and not directly supported by an imperial government?

    Erica F. Brindley
    Erica F. Brindley

    Professor, Asian Studies, History, and courtesy in Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University

    Francis Allard
    Francis Allard

    Professor, Anthropology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

    John Phan
    John Phan

    Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Columbia University

  • In the mind, in the Body and in the World: Emotions in Ancient Greece and China | Abstract

    This workshop seeks to bring together scholars of ancient China and Greece,working broadly in the history and philosophy of emotions, to investigate the emergent discourses of emotions in ancient philosophy, medicine and literature from c. 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. Recent work among scholars working in both ancient traditions has shown that the emotions emerged as an object of inquiry around the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, as part of a series of debates about the nature and workings of the body, the human being more broadly, and the physical world. The goal of this workshop is to explore, from a cross-cultural framework, how and why certain accounts of emotions may have emerged in China and Greece during the most formative period of their cultural and intellectual development.

    Curie Virag
    Curie Virag

    Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

    Douglas Cairns
    Douglas Cairns

    Professor, School of Classics, History and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh

  • Politics, Societies, and Disasters: China and Beyond | Abstract

    This proposed conference will bring together scholars from various disciplines and countries to engage in an interdisciplinary and comparative study of disasters in China and other countries. The participants will present their papers on social, cultural, and political aspects of disasters in China, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and the US and engage in discussions. The purpose of this conference is to develop a theoretical and analytical framework with comparative concepts and mechanisms from disasters in China and other contexts.

    Bin Xu
    Bin Xu

    Assistant Professor, Sociology, Emory University

  • The Wood Age in Asia: Comparative Perspectives on Forest History in China | Abstract

    This conference aims to bring together scholars of China and other regions of Asia to discuss the notion of a "wood age" - a period prior to industrialization when wood was the primary material basis of society. Using perspectives from social and cultural history; archeology and paleoecology; and the histories of art, architecture, science, and medicine, this conference will address the wide range of ways that people interacted with forests. While China is at the heart of our conversations, we will also include research from South and Southeast Asia. These dialogues will help move forest history beyond the early focus on deforestation while offering an environmental critique of Asian history and correcting the current Eurocentric bias of forest history.

    Ian Matthew Miller
    Ian Matthew Miller

    Assistant Professor, History, Saint John's University (NY)

    Bradley Camp Davis
    Bradley Camp Davis

    Assistant Professor, History, Eastern Connecticut State University

    Brian G. Lander
    Brian G. Lander

    Assistant Professor, History, Brown University

    John S. Lee
    John S. Lee

    Postdoctoral Associate, Agrarian Studies, Yale University

    Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
    Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan

    Professor, India & South Asia Studies, Anthropology, Yale University