Call for Applications: Training Program on “Qualitative Methods in the Study of Chinese Politics: History and Ethnography”

Call For Applications

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for our June 2015 training program in Nanjing:

Qualitative Methods in the Study of Chinese Politics: History and Ethnography 

A training program sponsored by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the School of Government, Nanjing University
June 15-24, 2015 

Visit the Program’s website to learn more and apply:
Application deadline is March 31, 2015

About the Program

With the advance of the Reform and Opening Up policy and rapid economic development in the past 30 years, China is attracting attention from countries all over the world. While academic studies on the Chinese economy, politics, society, culture and other fields are flourishing, scholars of Chinese politics are facing unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges: How to correctly and deeply understand and explain the political system, political process and political change in China during this great transformation?

Due to historical and current factors, there are some weaknesses in studies of contemporary Chinese politics in China. There is an inherent deficit in the discipline of Political Science in China, because many universities’ departments of politics were dissolved in the “Department Adjustment” in the early 1950’s and have been restored only since the 1980’s. Since the era of Reform and Opening Up, studies of Political Science in China have seen much development, such as the widening of research fields, the upgrading of academic standards, and the introduction of theories and methods of Western Political Science. However, there remain shortcomings in the fields, topics and methods within studies of Chinese politics. On the one hand, despite greater freedom in academic research, ideological constraints still remain; on the other hand, behaviorism and quantitative methods introduced from the West are dominant in China now, whereas alternative approaches are relatively neglected. Of course, quantitative approaches are important, but they are inherently limited in illuminating the particularities of Chinese politics. Qualitative approaches are also very important. 
In light of this situation, the Harvard-Yenching Institute, the School of Government at Nanjing University, the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, and the School of Government at Sun Yat-sen University have decided to hold a jointly organized training program on “Qualitative Methods in the Study of Chinese Politics: History and Ethnography”, with the purpose of encouraging interdisciplinary and qualitative approaches to the study of Chinese politics. 
Unlike conventional programs which emphasize quantitative methodological training, this program will emphasize qualitative methods, such as historical analysis, institutional analysis, comparative analysis, and ethnographic field work. This program also will emphasize cross-disciplinary approaches, utilizing theoretical resources from History, Anthropology, Sociology and Philosophy, in order to enrich and diversify the study of Chinese politics. Through the program, we hope to encourage new approaches to Chinese politics which combine quantitative and qualitative methods, and perspectives from both Social Sciences and Humanities. We also hope to promote the development of Chinese politics studies by expanding and enriching the range of academic research, personnel training, international communication, and cross-disciplinary dialogue.
The first of three training programs will be held in June 2015 at the Xianlin Campus of Nanjing University. A maximum of 20 trainees will be selected from among applications of young faculty researchers and Ph.D. candidates in universities and other academic organizations in China as well as other countries and regions. The program will feature lectures by outstanding scholars on different aspects of theories, approaches and methods in Chinese politics studies.  These scholars will also share their own research strategies and experiences with trainees. The program will encourage participants to develop original research topics and innovative viewpoints on the basis of their individual academic backgrounds and interests. 
After the program, a small number of outstanding trainees will be invited to participate in an oral interview organized by the Harvard-Yenching Institute. Some of these interviewees may be invited to spend the following academic year at Harvard University on a fellowship provided by the Harvard-Yenching Institute.