Skip to main content Start main content

Research Themes


Research Themes

The Department’s research covers the following areas.

This research area includes the study of art and visual culture in modern and contemporary Greater China and Asia. Possible topics are Chinese art history, especially the modern and contemporary periods; art, space and the environment; art and memory; war and art; urban culture and art; media studies and theories; Hong Kong art and design; art production and the archive; art activism; alternative art space; new media art and culture; Chinese-language cinema; inter-asia cultural and art studies; visual and spatial history of islands.
This research area focuses on the study of modern China’s cultural and political relations with other parts of Asia, particularly East, Southeast and South Asia, from a historical perspective. Specific topics explored include but not limited to the exchange of ideas, war and peace, human migrations, and regional integration.
This research area includes the study of government ideals and statecraft of the dynastic founders, government organisational principles and administrative systems; institutions and policies for political order and social stability; expansion and consolidation of territories; ethnic conflicts and acculturation; performance of the emperors and their high ministers; bureaucratic malpractices and partisan conflicts; means of social control and ideological indoctrination; the presence of the state in local society; book printing, literacy and social mobility; social welfare and social discord; and testing Confucian claims and ideals.

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.


Your browser is not the latest version. If you continue to browse our website, Some pages may not function properly.

You are recommended to upgrade to a newer version or switch to a different browser. A list of the web browsers that we support can be found here