Introducing Dr Mike Gow

Mike Gow ProfileI was fortunate enough to receive funding from BICC as part of the first cohort of scholarships awarded in 2006.  I undertook my academic training at Masters and Doctoral level at the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol, supervised by Professor Susan Robertson and Professor Jeffrey Henderson.  BICC has been the determining factor in shaping my career, affording me an opportunity for academic development that I otherwise would not have had.  In addition, I have made some lifelong friends through BICC who are already active as China scholars across a range of disciplines.

My research focuses on the strategic transformation of Chinese higher education, and aims to understand how national modernization projects are materialized within China’s political society and then mediated and institutionalized.  The thesis recognizes processes of negotiation, consent and coercion between China’s political society and civil society, discerning a tightly interwoven relationship between the state and Chinese HE and also proposes that HE is central to the negotiation of hegemony within the contemporary Chinese historic bloc.  However, it also aims to understand the complex social, cultural and institutional environment of Chinese HE through which overarching national projects must be processed.  The research utilizes Burawoy’s Extended Case Method and theoretical framework constructed around Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, field and habitus.

I have taught a range of subjects over the last few years, including Contemporary Chinese Society, Chinese Political Systems, Contemporary Chinese Cultural Conventions and Chinese Business Context.  As of August 2013 I will be taking a post at NYU Shanghai as Global Postdoctoral Fellow in the inaugural year of this new campus of New York University.  My role will be research-focused, but I am also looking forward to contributing to a Freshman course “Global Perspectives on Society” led by NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor Professor Jeffrey Lehman.  The course will introduce students to some of the greatest thinkers from both western and Chinese traditions.

Chinese HE continues to be the focus of my research and I blog on Chinese HE, internationalization of Chinese HE and Chinese HE policy at

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.