BICC congratulates …

… the following former holders of its doctoral studentships for their recent successes:

Dr Nicholas Horsburgh, for her appointment to a Lectureship at the University of Sheffield;

Dr Isabella Jackson, who is moving to take up a Lectureship at Trinity College Dublin;

Dr Andrew Wormald, for securing a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation award to support his post-doctoral research at the University of Groningen;

and Dr Holly Snape, for success in her PhD viva at the University of Bristol.

And we congratulate, too, Dr Yangwen Zheng, BICC Director, for her elevation to a personal chair at the University of Manchester.

20 Years After the Aum Subway Attack

aum picture


5:30-7:00 pm , March 18 th,

2015, John Casken Theatre, Martin Harris Centre, The University of Manchester.

March 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Aum Affair, when members of the religious group Aum Shinrikyō released sarin poison gas in Tokyo. The affair had huge repercussions in legal, social, political and cultural terms in Japan and beyond as authorities sought to balance the liberal democratic freedoms with demands for heightened control of potentially “dangerous” groups.

This round-table brings together leading experts on the Aum Affair to discuss the incident and its aftermath, examining such topics as how to strike a balance between religious and political freedom and social safety; what are appropriate legal and social responses to terrorism; how best to commemorate and remember acts of violence; and what wider lessons can be learned from the Japanese experience.


This roundtable takes place as a collaboration and with funding support from the BICC and the White Rose East Asia Centre.



Tatsuya Mori (Documentary filmmaker, TV director and author),

Mark Mullins (Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Auckland),

Mark Pendleton (Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield),

Ian Reader (Professor of Religious Studies, Lancaster University)

Erica Baffelli (Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Manchester).





Manchester BICC and the Centre for Chinese Studies welcomes Martin Jacques


When China Rules the World- A talk by Martin Jacques

Manchester University Samuel Alexander Lecture Theatre, School of Arts Languages and Cultures, 23rd February 2015, 12-1pm

First published in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim – and controversy – When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Rise of a New Global Order has sold a quarter of a million copies, been translated into eleven languages, nominated for two major literary awards, and is the subject of an immensely popular TED talk. He has been invited thanks to BICC funding and will host a talk at Manchester University on the 23rd March, where he will meet current students studying Chinese Studies and History at undergraduate and postgraduate level and members of the public.

Since the first publication of When China Rules the World, the landscape of world power has shifted dramatically. In the three years since the first edition was published, When China Rules the World has proved itself to be a remarkably prescient book, and transformed the nature of the debate on China.


Now, in this greatly expanded and fully updated new edition, with nearly three-hundred pages of new material, backed up by the latest statistical data, Martin Jacques renews his assault on conventional thinking about China’s ascendancy


Martin Jacques is the author of the global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It was first published in 2009 and has since been translated into fourteen languages and sold over 350,000 copies. The book has been shortlisted for two major literary awards. A second edition of the book, greatly expanded and fully updated, was published in 2012. His TED talk on how to understand China has had over 1.8 million views. He is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is also a non-resident Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC.

He has previously been a Visiting Professor at Renmin University, the International Centre for Chinese Studies, Aichi University, Nagoya, and Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. He was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He was until recently a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at IDEAS, a centre for diplomacy and grand strategy, and a fellow at the Asia Research Centre, both at the London School of Economics. He was formerly the editor of the renowned London-based monthly Marxism Today until its closure in 1991 and was co-founder of the think-tank Demos. He has been a columnist for many newspapers, made many television programmes and is a former deputy editor of The Independent newspaper. He took his doctorate while at King’s College, Cambridge.

He has been invited to give lectures at many of the world’s top universities including Harvard, Cornell, UCLA, USC, Cambridge, Oxford, Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin, NUS, Tokyo, University of Hong Kong, amongst many others. He has given talks to many corporate clients including Bank of America, BlackRock, Pictet, Shell, Allianz, BNP Paribas, Financial Times, British Telecom, BBC, HR50, Amerada Hess, Investec, DSM and Khazanah.

He is chair of the Harinder Veriah Trust, which supports girls from deprived backgrounds with their education at Assunta Primary School and Assunta Secondary School, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, where his wife, the late Harinder Veriah, was educated. It has also sponsored young Malaysian lawyers from under-privileged backgrounds to work for two-year stints at Hogan Lovells in London.

Tickets for the public can be obtained at



Call for Papers: The Globalisation of Christianity in China, University of Manchester 15 – 16 May 2014

Call for Papers: The Globalisation of Christianity in China

 An international conference organised by

Centre for Chinese Studies,

Division of Religions and Theology

To be held at the University of Manchester 15-16 May 2014

 Christianity came to China four times: with the Nestorians during the Tang dynasty (618-907), the Franciscans during the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), the Jesuits during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and with the Protestants ever since the Opium War (1839-42) and during the Republican Era (1911-1949).  But four times it seems they disappeared as these dynasties and the Republican regime vanished from the map of China.  The study of Christianity in China has flourished in recent year (Richard Madson, Lian Xi, Ryan Dunch, Alvyn Austin, Daniel Bays, to name a few).  But the re-emergence and popularity of Christianity in the post-Mao era has raised new questions about the ways in which historians have studied the history of these missions/missionaries.  The churches, converts and practices they left behind have resurfaced in the post-Mao era.  These missions have not failed as generations of historians have argued. The post-Mao era has provided us with hindsight unavailable to us before. How does this help us to re-examine the history of Christianity in China? The landscape of Christianity in post-Mao China is diverse; it differs enormously not just in terms of denomination and brand but also in terms of practice as some congregate in underground churches, some in old churches built by missionaries and others in new facilities provided by the government.  How significant were the foundations laid in the two millennia before?  Many Chinese people, both the elite and the ordinary, have embraced or become interested in Christianity.  What could this mean for China in the decades to come?  We welcome historians/scholars of Christianity and China to join us in a debate that addresses the following questions/issues:

  1. Is there a pattern in the introduction and indigenisation of Christianity in China in the past one thousand four hundred years
  2. Who are the old and new Christians that have emerged and what can they tell us about history, Mao and post-Mao China?
  3. Is the post-Mao emergence of Christianity true indigenisation because it is not missionary-imposed, but home grown and self-driven?
  4. What is the significance of the transition from “Christianity in China” to “Chinese Christianity”?

Inquiries and abstracts of no more than 200 words, plus 5 lines of biographical information, should be sent to Rebecca Frost at before 5 January 2014. Those accepted to present at the conference will be notified by 31 January 2014.  Accommodation and food will be provided during the conference but paper presenters should look for their own funding for travel.

Citizen Media in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, China and East Asia, and the Arab World: An interdisciplinary doctoral/postdoctoral training workshop

 Citizen Media in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, 

China and East Asia, and the Arab World
An interdisciplinary doctoral/postdoctoral training workshop

27-28 January 2014, The University of Manchester

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: 22 November 2013 

Call for Contributions from Doctoral Students and Early Career Researchers

The term ‘citizen media’, or ‘participatory media’, covers a wide range of activities undertaken by ordinary, non-professional citizens who lay a claim to an area of public life and politics and seek to transform it in some way. From videos circulated on Youtube to graffiti, street performance and other forms of street art, and from community radio to blogging, crowd sourcing, tweeting, flashmob protest and hacktivism, new forms of civic engagement continue to develop, expand and shape the relationship between the private and the public, the local and the global, mainstream and alternative media, corporations and clients, the state and civil society. The aim of the workshop is to bring together doctoral students and early career researchers who work on citizen media in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, China and East Asia, and the Arab world – areas where citizen media has been at the centre of political contestations, censorship and everyday struggles. The workshop will focus on methodological challenges of researching citizen media, whether these are conceptual, practical, ethical or political.

We welcome proposals for 15-minute presentations which discuss any topic relating to the methodologies of researching citizen media in any of these regions.  Papers should reflect the current research of postgraduates or early career researchers. The workshop will also include a guided training session on methods, and several presentations by expert scholars (detailed below). To apply, please send a title and a 300-word abstract  by the 22nd of November 2013.

The event is free of charge and open to doctoral students and early career researchers. Limited funds are available to cover travel and accommodation expenses.  To apply for funding assistance, please indicate so on your submission, and outline the estimated cost of your travel.  Successful candidates will be notified in December.


Please check our website for updates

The event is organised by Adi Kuntsman, Mona Baker and Elena Barabantseva, and sponsored by The Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies , Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies , White Rose East Asea Centre , Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World and The British Inter-University China Centre

Provisional Programme

1.                  Theory and methods workshop
Luis Pérez González, The University of Manchester, UK:
‘Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives on Citizen Media’

The first part of this workshop will deliver an overview of key theoretical approaches and conceptual networks driving current research on citizen media and different instances of self-mediation. Participants will then be introduced to a range of methods of data collection and analysis in the field, with particular emphasis on qualitative approaches. The final part of the session will involve an interactive discussion of two exploratory case studies illustrating different theoretical and methodological perspectives on the study of citizen media.

2.                  Art and pedagogy workshop

John Johnston, Goldsmith College, UK

3.                  Plenary 1

Astrid Nordin, Lancaster University, UK: ‘Ironic ‘Resistance’ in Chinese Citizen Media Online’

The ‘online generation’ of Chinese citizens, or ‘netizens’, have developed numerous strategies for criticizing and avoiding the heavy online censorship regime to which they are subjected. One aspect of the ironic ego culture of particular interest here is the play with homonymous or near-homonymous words that can help an individual evade censorship software whilst simultaneously critiquing and ridiculing this censorship. Where the methodology of previous scholarship has attempted to pin down this form of expression to mean only one thing (resistance to politics, Bakhtinian carnival), this presentation argues that what is methodologically most interesting about these homonyms is their undecidability as simultaneously either/or and neither/nor. Such a methodological approach can make us better appreciate the complexity of this aspect of Chinese citizen media beyond the resistance/not-resistance binary.

4. Plenary 2

Georgiana Nicoarea, University of Bucharest, Romania, ‘Cairo’s Graffiti Goes Vir(tu)al. Facebook walls, their graffiti avenues and the afterlife’

The graffiti of downtown Cairo has become one of the trademarks of the January 25 Revolution. What looked at first like an over-productive artistic practice appears to be fuelling, through its overwhelming presence, the construction of the revolution’s imagery. Egyptian graffiti has travelled in various forms from real-life walls to Facebook walls and from there to official media and bookstores. This dynamic was initiated by what seemed to be a very natural step into virtual space where liberation graffiti accompanies citizen media and illustrates creative netizen activism. What can this journey tell us about the dynamics of Cairo’s urban inscriptions? Can the virtual public’s interaction with graffiti give more information about its outreach? Does this exposure help Cairo’s graffiti go viral or just virtual? These are the key questions that will be addressed in this talk.

5. Plenary 3

Eugenia Nim, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Humanities Research Center (Moscow), Altai State University (Barnaul), Russia: ‘”Nanodemonstrations” as Media Events: Networked Forms of the Russian Protest Movement’

‘Nanodemonstrations’ first became part of the Russian protest movement in 2012. Originating in the northern town of Apatity, a wave of ‘doll protests’ – demonstrations and other citizen actions which were staged by using lego dolls and soft toys – swept over many Russian cities. Forbes Magazine included the nanodemonstrations which took place in the Siberian city of Barnaul in the list of ‘the 12 loudest art protest actions in Russia’. The activists used social media to organise these actions; nanodemonstrations were planned as media events from the start. In my talk, I will attempt to apply different methodological approaches to the phenomenon of nanodemonstrations – from the theories of mediatisation of politics to the conceptions of contested urban spaces. My discussion will offer the potential theoretical models and frameworks that can be developed to analyse similar mediatised and theatrical forms of civil resistance.

BICC Cultures of Consumption network conference, 26-8 September

Learning from Big Brothers: What Soviet and Central European Histories of Everyday Life May Teach Historians of the Mao Era

The British Inter-university China Centre (BICC) ‘Cultures of Consumption‘ network, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), will host the conference “Learning from Big Brothers” on 26-28 September 2013 in Oxford.  Advance registration is mandatory and places limited.

The conference brings together Central European and Soviet historians of everyday life with Chinese historians who are starting to work on similar issues for the Mao era (1949-76).  The conference will form the foundation for a network of scholars in China, the EU, and the US who are interested in consumerism and everyday life in non- and quasi-market economies since c.1945.  Creating a dialog between scholars of European and Chinese history will ensure that Chinese historians take into account the range and depth of important work that has been done in the past decade on the experience of socialism in Central Europe and the USSR.

The first two panels will outline the conference agenda.   The conference will open with a roundtable discussion led by East German historian Paul Betts, author of a recent article comparing consumerism across communist societies, and Steve Smith, the Oxford Handbook on the History of Communism, on the strengths and weaknesses of such social histories across national contexts.  Their opening remarks will be followed by comments by two China scholars working on similarly comparative projects.   And the second panel will discuss the new types of sources available and the types of histories now being written while attempting to answer the question: What are the methodological challenges of studying everyday life under socialism?

The subsequent five panels will provide explicit case studies, ranging from recently completed comparative studies by European historians to recently initiated projects by Chinese historians.  Both sides will suggest how their findings might help shape the research agendas of the other geographical side.  Frank Trentmann will discuss the challenges of comparing socialist and capitalist societies in his new book, The Consuming Passion: How Things Came to Seduce, Enrich, and Define our Lives.  And Patrick Patterson will describe his comparative project on Eastern European consumerism with a talk entitled, “The Machinery of the Market in Communist Europe: What May Apply to Communist China?”  The following three panels will consist of Chinese historians at the early stages of researching everyday life under Mao from home furnishing to shopping to diary-keeping, with brief presentations followed by comments by European historians who have already worked on similar topics.

The final panel will introduce large-scale projects underway.  Eastern European historian Josie McLellan will speak on “How to Investigate Dropping Out of Chinese Socialism: Notes from the Central European Experience” and Sun Peidong will address “What Oral Histories Can Teach Us about the Everyday Life under Mao.”

For more information please contact the conference organiser: Dr Karl Gerth (Oxford University and UCSD)



Jennifer Altehenger (King’s College London)

Felix Boecking (University of Edinburgh)

Feng Xiaocai (East China Normal University)

Karl Gerth, (University of California, San Diego)

Henrietta Harrison (Oxford University)

Jonathan Howlett (University of York)

Matthew Johnson (Grinnell College)

Toby Lincoln (University of Leicester)

Rana Mitter (Oxford University)

Aaron William Moore (Manchester University)

Paul Pickowicz (University of California, San Diego)

Sun Peidong (Fudan University)

Patricia Thornton (Oxford University)



Paul Betts (Oxford University)

Natalya Chernyshova (University of Winchester)

Sebastian Gehrig

Josie McLellan (University of Bristol)

Pal NYIRI (University of Amsterdam)

Patrick Patterson (University of California, San Diego)

Steve Smith (Oxford University)

Frank Trentmann (University of London)

‘British Born Chinese’ website goes live

We are happy to announce the launch of the website for ‘British Born Chinese’, an audio-visual collaborative project between BICC’s Elena Barabantseva and Andy Lawrence (Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester, and All Rites Reversed). This research documentary project explores what it means to be a British born Chinese person in the twenty-first century. The website and the trailer can be viewed here

Borders of Knowledge network update

In March 2012, William A. Callahan went to China to set up the research network. He met with the network partner Prof. ZHANG Xiaojin (Tsinghua) to organise the logistics for the research network.

Dr WU Qiang (Tsinghua) came to Manchester for a one month (June-July 2012) research visit; he met with researchers and PhD students who are studying civil society and social movements in China and Europe.

Callahan went on fieldwork visits to India (3-18 February 2013) and China (5-15 March 2013). He met with academics and public intellectuals in both countries, and in India is  gave talks at network partner Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, as well as at the Institute for Chinese Studies and the Observer Research Foundation think tank.

The network workshop will be held in Shanghai in June 2013.

Borders of Migration talk, Professor Antonia Chao, 22nd April

As part of the the Borders of Migration research network, Professor Antonia Chao (Tunghai University, Taiwan) will present a talk hosted by the Centre for Chinese Studies and Anthropology Department at the University of Manchester

‘Encountering Sexual Aliens: State Sovereignty and the Heteronormative Mechanism at Work on the Margins of Taiwan’

Monday 22 April 2012, 4. 15pm, 2.016/017, Second Floor Boardroom, Arthur Lewis Building

Abstract: As many scholars of migration studies have shown in their works, the increasingly complicated patterns of border-crossing activities in the contemporary age of globalization have posed a grave challenge to the feasibility of the nation-state model conventionally held by both the sending and receiving countries. Some have also highlighted the fact that gender politics plays a significant, while often hidden, role in shaping the phenomenon that is recognized generally as “the feminization of globalization”. Based on ethnographic research conducted on Taiwan’s three crucial sites of national borders, this talk mined the intersections between border control, state sovereignty, national belonging and “perverted sexualities”. The focus was on three forms of subjects, perceived as “sexual aliens”, whose trans-migratory acts violate the principle of biological and heterosexual reproduction that upholds the meanings, practices and institutions of border control. The normalizing regulations imposed upon these subjects, be they “lived” or “imaginary”, highlight three corresponding sites of bio-political governance at once outside of, within, and right along the borders of Taiwan’s geographical territories. While all are in keeping with the agenda of heteronormativity, these sites are situated in a distinct circuit of transnational traffic of sexualities and thus require different modes of governance. Intentionally or coincidentally, these modes of governance coordinate with each other in helping construct a nation whose sovereignty has been in perpetual crisis within the international political community.

Introducing Dr. Jonathan Howlett

Jonathan Howlett PortraitI received my BICC scholarship in 2006 and I was awarded my PhD from the University of Bristol in 2012. I now work as Lecturer in Modern Asian History at the University of York, a job which I came to in the autumn of 2012 after completing a one-year teaching fellowship at Newcastle University. In hindsight, being awarded a BICC scholarship was a crucial step in my development as an historian of modern China and in enhancing my career prospects because it allowed for two years of study at the University of Oxford before I commenced my PhD research in which I developed essential language skills.

My current research focuses on understanding the processes through
which the Chinese Communist Party attempted to transform Chinese
society following their seizure of power in 1949. In particular, my
forthcoming book focuses on the Communists’ policies towards British
businesses remaining in Shanghai after the revolution.  Rather than
treating the case of British business in isolation, I focus on
exploring the links between the Communists’ state-building efforts,
their political ideology, urban policy and their foreign policy in the
broader Cold War context.

My broader research and teaching interests include: the history of
Shanghai; China’s relationships with other powers; the history of
different forms of comparative socialisms and everyday life in
socialist societies; the role of ordinary (or unheralded) individuals
in history; urban transformations and decolonisation.

I am the co-ordinator for the British Inter-University China Centre
(Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded ‘Chinese 1950s‘ network.
The network was established to facilitate scholarly exchanges on this
subject and will be hosting an international workshop in July 2013.