Chen Honfai


Field of Study

Years of Stay at HYI

Sep 2006 to Dec 2007

University Affiliation (Current)

University Affiliation

Chen Hon Fai received his M.Phil. in Sociology in the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2001. As a Ph.D. candidate at CUHK, his dissertation was on the impacts of the structural position and cultural orientation of the Chinese gentry upon the development of study association and civil society as well as the transformation of civilization in late Imperial China. His research interests include sociological theory, comparative-historical sociology and Chinese society and culture. In 2004 he published a paper in the Journal of Classical Sociology entitled “Self-Reference, Mutual Identification and Affect: The Parsonsian Problem of Order Reconsidered,” which then won the first prize in its 2005 Prize Essay Competition as well as the 2004 Best Research Output by Research Post-Graduate Students in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  In that paper Chen argues that the condition of social order resides upon symbolic communication of affect and the mutual identification of individuals it renders possible. This theoretical perspective converges with the notions of “humanity” and “propriety” in Chinese Confucianism, which thereby furnishes the cultural framework against which existing sociological theories could be supplemented and elaborated.

Interested in becoming a Harvard-Yenching Institute fellow or scholar?

Learn More