For China and the World: Sir Robert Hart

In the winter of 2012-13 BICC collaborated with Dr Weipin Tsai (Royal Holloway University of London), and Professor Hans van de Ven (Cambridge) on a project to restore the decrepit gravestone of Sir Robert Hart and Hester, Lady Hart. The Harts are buried in Bisham, near Marlow, yards from the bank of the River Thames. The initiative culminated in a rededication ceremony held in the churchyard on a cold February day in 2013.

A new 31 minute film, ‘For China and the World’, documents this process, and explores the story and legacy of Robert Hart, who for six decades led China’s Imperial Maritime Customs service. With narration by Tim Pigott-Smith, the documentary assess the private and public worlds of this enigmatic figure. The film gets its world premiere on Saturday 29 March during the Asian Film Expo at the 2014 annual meeting of the US Association for Asian Studies in Philadelphia. You can catch the trailer here, and copies of the DVD can be purchased here.

Director Jeremy Routledge, from Calling the Shots, and co-producer Robert Bickers, will be on hand for a Q & A after the film screening: 2:10pm room 309/310, Marriott Downtown Philadelphia. The film will be shown at Queen’s University Belfast this coming May, and in London, on 12 June.

China Dreams: The Debate

China Dreams: The Debate
, Directed by Bill Callahan.

Bill Callahan’s film gets a screening as part of the AAS Film Expo, followed by a Q & A with the director himself. When: Saturday, 03/29/14, 2:50pm

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping made the ‘China Dream’ his official slogan, many people inside and outside the PRC have been asking ‘What is the China Dream?’ Is it for national greatness or for a comfortable life? This 11 minute video’s provocative approach will inspire student discussions of Chinese identity, politics and international relations.

Next month Bill is presenting another film he has directed at the Ethnografilm Festival in Paris: “Border Crossings”. Time: Friday April 18, 2014, 3:00pm. Venue: Cine 13, 1 Avenue Junot, 75018 Paris, France

Borders not only separate things, but are the place where people come together. “Border Crossings” (10 min.) examines how Chinese and non-Chinese people experience their encounters with the Other (and thus with their Self) at the Lo Wu Bridge, the iconic border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

BICC HEFCE Scholarship opportunities

Two BICC scholarships are available for study on the M.Phil. Modern Chinese Studies course at the University of Oxford, commencing in October 2014.  Both scholarships provide £20,000 p.a. towards fees and maintenance.  One scholarship is for the full two years of the course.  The second scholarship is for one year only.  These scholarships will be awarded on the strength of each candidate’s academic background and on the quality of a proposal for doctoral study. The scholarships are funded by the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme award to the ‘Sustainable Funding for Language-based Area Studies’ initiative, led by SOAS, University of London.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Either qualify for UK or EU fee status or be ordinarily resident in the UK or EU.
  • Have submitted an application to the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies and expect to start the course in October 2014
  • Intend to continue to a doctoral degree after completing the M.Phil.

Students who have not yet applied to the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford should do so using the application code 2014/MCS/BICC no later than 20 April 2014. Your scholarship application will not be considered until you have submitted a full graduate application. Further details about making a graduate application are available at of one of these scholarships will be dependent upon the applicant meeting all requirements for admission to the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies, and taking up a place on this course for 2014/15.

Application Process

The deadline for applications is 20 April 2014.

Applications should include:

  • A copy of the application materials submitted to the University of Oxford for entrance to the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies
  • A statement outlining how undertaking the MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies would prepare the applicant for doctoral study and provide an indication of the applicants’ research interests for doctoral study.

Applications should be submitted by email to

All applicants will automatically be considered for both scholarships.

For more information on the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford see:

费城: BICC goes to Philadelphia

BICC has a strong presence at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, which is taking place in Philadelphia on 27-30 March. (In Mandarin Chinese it is 费城: Feicheng). BICC researchers have organised four panels, and contribute to several others. Two BICC-funded films were also accepted for screening in the AAS Film Expo: ‘For China and the World‘, produced by Robert Bickers and Calling the Shots, and ‘China Dreams: The Debate‘, directed by Professor Wiliam Callahan.

Dr Margaret Hillenbrand (Oxford) has organised a panel on ‘The Past and Present of Digital Culture in China‘, William Callahan has organised ‘China Dreams: Historical, Theoretical, and Policy Perspectives on the PRC’s Future‘, which explores in a multidisciplinary way the meaning of the concept ‘The China Dream-Zhongguo meng’ which was introduced by Xi Jinping soon after he was appointed the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. This term struck a chord in China, becoming the “hottest term” of 2012 according to Beijing’s State Language Commission. Former BICC researcher Kelvin Cheung (The Hong Kong Institute of Education) is also presenting on the panel.

Anna Lora-Wainwright (Oxford) has co-organised a panel with Yanhua Deng on ‘Protest and Policing in Contemporary China‘, chaired by Prof. Kevin O’Brien and with Prof. Guobin Yang acting as discussant. The panel examines contention and policing in contemporary China.  It looks at various forces involved in protest control, including the police, work units, social ties, and information communication technologies (ICTs).  It also highlights the range of strategies citizens use to fight back against repression, such as resorting to elite allies and ICTs-based mobilization.  Focusing on one in-depth case study of high-profile resistance in a rural setting. Dr Rachel Silberstein (Oxford) has co-organised with Buyun Chen, of Swarthmore College, a panel on ‘Fashioning Textiles, Fabricating Fashion: The Technology of Cloth and Clothing from Seventh to Twentieth Century China‘, which  explores how the production and consumption of textiles shaped fashion in Chinese history.

Robert Bickers is participating in a roundtable assessing the impact and legacy of Paul Cohen’s 1984 volume Discovering History in China, while Professor Barend ter Haar (Oxford) is chairing another roundtable on ‘Literacy and Writing in Premodern China‘. Manchester network co-ordinators Pierre Fuller and Jane Caple are also presenting.