The Department’s research covers the following areas.
This research area focuses on literature both as an expression of culture and as an active participant in the shaping of culture in pre-modern and modern China. The themes addressed include the interactions between elite and popular culture, oral and written culture, literature as a tool of indoctrination and resistance, literature and the book trade, literature and performance, literature and religion and literature and gender.
This research area will take an interdisciplinary approach in examining the ethnic relations in both historical and contemporary China, focusing on the relations between the state and the ethnic minorities, case studies of ethnic conflict, multiculturalism, and other issues.
This research area scrutinises the ideas, institutions and movements that defined China’s modern experience from the late Qing, through the Republican era, up to the end of Mao Zedong’s stewardship of the People’s Republic. Themes include the various ‘-isms’ that inspired intellectual debates; reform programmes with and without state sponsorship; social movements initiated from the top-down and the bottom- up; revolutions and nation-building projects; and new institutions such as the party-state and mass organisations.
This research area examines Neo-Confucian conceptions of man’s place in the universe; universal principles and their particularistic manifestations; knowledge and action in learning; perfection of the self; the moral uplifting of the populace; articulations for a strong government and social and cultural integration; major Neo-Confucian schools and their doctrines; the major works of Neo-Confucianism; the philosophies of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming; the ideological rebels of late Ming; and Confucian reflections on the early Qing.
This research area examines the history of Chinese thought, including Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism and popular religions and their material productions from early to pre-modern China. In addition to the internal coherence of Chinese systems of thought, institutional and cultural contexts and practices are emphasised. These include the close interaction between ideas and social change, politics and economics.