BICC Chinese Urban Studies Network

Urban China Studies
Co-ordinator: Isabella Jackson, Department of History, University of Aberdeen
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences;
Centre for Urban History
, University of Leicester;
Institut d’Asie Orientale
, Lyon

This network of historians and social scientists explores contemporary issues in Chinese urban studies and their historical roots and precedents. For example, cultural heritage has become a key strand in urban development in China (cf. Shanghai’s Xintiandi district, and numerous developments inspired by it). Self-conscious appropriation of the past more widely is a feature in new urban cultures in China. The re-opening of China since 1978 has seen a re-examination of the foreign contribution to the development of key Chinese cities, not excluding Hong Kong, and this network of scholars is engaged in assessing that legacy through exchange visits, a small scale workshop, and a larger-scale conference.


‘China’s Urban Environment, Past and Present’ Conference, 16-18 January 2014

Following the success of our first workshop in Leicester in December 2012, we will be holding our main conference entitled ‘China’s Urban Environment, Past and Present’ at the University of Aberdeen on Thursday 16th-Saturday 18th January 2014.

We are seeking research papers of 30 minutes’ duration which relate to the theme of the urban environment in historical and/or contemporary China. This could include, but is not confined to, the following areas:

  • Managing/governing the city
  • Urban geographies
  • City planning
  • Urban culture as it relates to the environment of the city
  • Comparative approaches to China’s urban environments

If you wish to offer a paper, please send a proposed title and an abstract of no more than 200 words to the BICC’s Project Assistant, Grania Pickard ( by Wednesday 20 November. Enquiries may be directed to Isabella Jackson (


Workshop: ‘New Directions in Urban Chinese Studies’, Centre of Urban History, University of Leicester, Monday 17 December. See here for workshop report.

Bringing together representatives of all four partner institutions, plus historians and social scientists from the Universities of Oxford, Manchester, York, the LSE, the Institut d’urbanisme in Paris, and Sophia University in Tokyo, the workshop launched the network and established its parameters, as well as defining the theme of the final conference in January 2014. Participants discussed their current research on Urban China and shared expertise, methodologies, ideas and concerns in the emerging sub-field of Urban Chinese Studies.

For any enquiries regarding the Chinese Urban Studies Network contact the co-ordinator, Isabella Jackson, at: Isabella.Jackson [at]