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. 

  • Chinese Socialism in/as Theory: Political Economy in Revolutionary China  |  Abstract

    China’s socialist revolution produced an array of strategies to transform social relations through the very formations borne of revolutionary experience. The concrete conditions of revolution also gave rise to theoretical writings on conceptual problems arising from the transition to socialism. From the 1930s through the late 1970s, intellectuals sought to rethink classical Marxist categories and models of socialist development, including those drawn from the Soviet Union, in light of China’s distinct historical circumstances. Such interventions include the 1930s “social history” debates, the 1950s battles over the role of the Law of Value in socialism, and the problem of “bourgeois right” and the adequacy of the wage-form. Demonstrating the crucial role of political economic theory in the Chinese revolution, these broad theoretical engagements also resonate with contemporary projects on how to understand and transform social relations arising from histories of uneven development.

    Harlan David Chambers
    Harlan David Chambers

    Doctoral Candidate, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Columbia University

    Rebecca E. Karl
    Rebecca E. Karl

    Professor, History, New York University

    Benjamin Kindler
    Benjamin Kindler

    Doctoral Candidate, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

  • Doing Justice to Rape and Sexual Violence in PRC History  |  Abstract

    Sexual violence echoes through scholarly and popular histories of socialist China: from the state's publicized efforts to crack down on rapists, to accusations against cadres who demanded sexual favors; from the sent-down youth who were raped in the countryside, to the many sexual abuse charges leveled at so-called enemies. Workshop participants have collected case files related to rape and sexual violence in the PRC, and we propose an interdisciplinary workshop to read a selection of these documents and think seriously about the challenges we face when we try to do a text-based history of rape. The literature on sexual violence in the PRC suggests that we have not yet fully mapped the political, socio-cultural, and discursive realms within which these accusations were recorded.

    Jeremy Brown
    Jeremy Brown

    Associate Professor, History, Simon Fraser University

    Zhang Man
    Zhang Man

    Doctoral Candidate, Maoist Legacy Project, Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Germany

    Amanda Shuman
    Amanda Shuman

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Maoist Legacy Project, Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Germany

    Aminda Smith
    Aminda Smith

    Associate Professor, History, Michigan State University

  • Lotsawa Workshop: Celebrating Buddhist Women’s Voices in the Tibetan Tradition  |  Abstract

    Until now the voices of Tibetan Buddhist women have been difficult to discern since primary sources by and about women are scarce and those that exist extend across literary corpuses. The impetus for this collaborative reading and translation workshop comes from the Buddhist nuns at Larung Gar in eastern Tibet who recently published a groundbreaking compilation of 52 volumes of writings by, for, and about Buddhist women in the Tibetan language. Titled the Dakinis’ Great Dharma Treasury (Mkha’ ’gro’i chos mdzod chen mo) and published in 2017, this compilation opens up new horizons for the reading and interpretation of Tibetan texts. Our workshop will engage intergenerational scholars from China, Europe, and North America to collaborate in close readings and discussions about the translation of select passages from these exemplary texts and other works proposed by participants.

    Holly Gayley
    Holly Gayley

    Associate Professor, Buddhist Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

    Sarah H. Jacoby
    Sarah H. Jacoby

    Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures; Religious Studies, Northwestern University

    Dominique Townsend
    Dominique Townsend

    Assistant Professor, Religion, Bard College

    Padma 'tsho
    Padma 'tsho

    Professor, Tibetan Studies, Southwest University for Nationalities

  • Reading Biji: Randomness, Fluidity, Materiality, and Emotionality  |  Abstract

    This workshop aims to assess biji (notebooks) as a genre of writing and as sources for scholars who study the society, culture, and literature of Song China (960-1279). The discussion will consist of four themes. The first group of scholars look into the unique epistemology of “randomness” embodied in the often unsystematic appearance of biji. The second group of readers address biji as a genre and examine the often-fluid boundaries that distinguished biji from other types of texts. The third group explores biji as an important source for studies of material culture and everyday life. And the fourth group draws on biji as a source for understanding how Song people addressed interpersonal relationships and feelings.

    Ari Daniel Levine
    Ari Daniel Levine

    Associate Professor, History, University of Georgia

    Cong Ellen Zhang
    Cong Ellen Zhang

    Associate Professor, History, University of Virginia

    Leah Ya Zuo
    Leah Ya Zuo

    Associate Professor, History and Asian Studies, Bowdoin College