© 2016

The Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Contexts

  • Evelyn T. Y. Chan
  • Michael O'Sullivan

Part of the The Humanities in Asia book series (HIA, volume 2)

About this book


This book brings together the perspectives of eminent and emerging scholars on contemporary issues relevant to the practice, pedagogy and institutionalization of the humanities in the three Chinese contexts of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. It addresses the need to investigate how humanities discussions, often exclusively drawn from, and grounded in, western contexts, are today being played out in these three places. The humanities in contemporary Chinese contexts may have different social and pedagogical roles, and a consideration of them will enable people to moderate, and perhaps even refute, claims made in the recent (re)readings of the humanities. As Asian universities rise in the global rankings and as east-west university collaborations and partnerships become more common, it is important that the nature, practice and institutionalization of the humanities in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China are explored and described for English readers. Exploring new perspectives arising from an examination of the humanities in these places, this volume aims neither to establish a position of polarity, which would pit western sites against Chinese ones, nor to argue for universal sameness. Rather, the goal is to find nuanced correspondences and differences between these various backgrounds, so that there is a greater understanding of the specificities of Chinese contexts. This will help shed light not only on the contexts in question, but also potentially on how to rearticulate the importance of the humanities in general, creating an intercultural dialogue focused on the humanities. As the global university strives to move the different traditions of learning closer together through international rankings, rubrics, and shared research agendas, it is important that we explore these locations of potential cultural exchange.


Chinese Contexts Cross-Cultural Humanities Crisis in the Humanities East/West Comparative Education Higher Education Hong Kong Taiwan English Literary Studies

Editors and affiliations

  • Evelyn T. Y. Chan
    • 1
  • Michael O'Sullivan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of EnglishThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

About the editors

Evelyn Chan is Assistant Professor in English literature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her monograph on Virginia Woolf entitled Virginia Woolf and the Professions has recently been published by Cambridge University Press, and she is now working on Joseph Conrad’s fictional engagements with changing modes of inheritance in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. However, she has also recently shifted some of her attention to the exploration of the question of the significance of humanities education. She teaches an undergraduate course called Literature and Education, which she created to allow students to explore their own personal and social roles as literary students through literature itself.

Chin-jung Chiu is Professor of English at National Taiwan University where she is currently the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Her recent publications include “Shakespeare in the ESL Classroom: Bridging the Language Gap for L2 Learners” (2013), “Freud on Shakespeare: An Approach to Psychopathetic Characters┝ (2012), and “Appropriating Theories in the Name of Shakespeare: The Case of Doctoral and MA Theses on Shakespeare by Taiwan Students” (2010).

Stuart Christie is Professor and Head of the Department of English Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University where he has been teaching since 1999. He is the co-editor, along with Zhang Yuejun, of American Modernist Poetry and the Chinese Encounter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Plural Sovereignties and Contemporary Indigenous Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Worlding Forster (Routledge, 2005) and numerous other peer-reviewed publications in the fields of English literary modernism, contemporary indigenous literature, and comparative sovereignty studies. A literary critic by training, his latest research addresses how the teaching and learning of anglophone literatures is “necessarily” and “creatively” transformed by global contexts, particularly that of a rising China.

Yangsheng Guo is professor and director of the Key Research Base for the Study of Translation and Globalization at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China. He received his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada. Guo has published extensively in areas ranging from curriculum and pedagogy in English language and literature education to translation studies, including “The Politics of Translation in a Global Era: A Chinese Perspective” (The Translator, 2009) and “Translation as Vaccination: The Political Dialectics of Translation under Chairman Mao” (Translation Studies, 2016). He has taught in China, Canada and Japan, and has won a number of prestigious honours and awards for his teaching and research.

You Guo Jiang, S.J., Ph. D is an Assistant Director at University Academic Advising Center and Professor of education and philosophy at Boston College. Prior to his doctoral studies in the USA he worked in UNESCO, UNHCR, and other international organizations related to higher education, spirituality, student development, liberal arts, and international studies in Asia and Europe. He has studied at Harvard, Oxford and Boston College, and has published several books on international and liberal arts education and translations of works on higher education and leadership, student development and spirituality.

Leo Ou-fan Lee is currently the Sin Wai Kin Professor of Chinese Culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, having joined the CUHK faculty since 2004 when he took early retirement from Harvard. He has also taught at a number of US universities, including Chicago, UCLA, Princeton; he has also served as visiting professor at HKU (2001) and HKUST (2003), where he also received an honorary degree.  He is the author, among other books, of Shanghai Modern, and City between Worlds: My Hong Kong. He is planning to edit a similar volume in Chinese on university education in Chinese.

Michael O’Sullivan is an Associate Professor in the department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has taught on humanities subjects for universities in Ireland, the UK, the US, Japan and Hong Kong. He has published widely in literary studies and also in the fields of philosophy and education. His recent publications include Weakness: a literary and philosophical history (Bloomsbury, 2012), The humanities and the Irish university: anomalies and opportunities (Manchester University Press, 2014), The Future of English in Asia: perspectives on language and literature ([co-edited with David Huddart and Carmen Lee] Routledge 2016) and Academic barbarism, universities and inequality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Donald Stone who received his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from Harvard, taught for thirty-eight years at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard and New York University. Since 1982 he has lectured and taught all over China (Capital Normal University, the Foreign Studies University [Beiwai], and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing; Hangzhou [later renamed Zhejiang] University, Hangzhou; Fudan and the Teachers College, Shanghai; Langzhou University and Northwest University, Langzhou; Sichuan University, Chengdu; Tianjin Normal University; Nanjing University and the Nanjing Art Institute; Xian Teachers College; Kaifeng University; Zhengzhou University; Tianshui Normal University, etc.). He has also lectured at National Taiwan University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the City University of Hong Kong.  In 1991 he was a guest of the Chinese Academy of Social Science (the last professor to serve on an exchange program set up from 1979 to 1989 between CASS and the Academy of Science, Beijing). Since 2006 he has been on the faculty of the English Department at Peking University; his current rank is Senior Professor. In 2011 he received an award for his contributions to Chinese education by the Beijing Municipality; in 2014 he receives an award from the Chinese Government at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People. Among his awards in America, Professor Stone received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He is the author of two books published by Harvard University Press (Novelists in a Changing World, 1972; The Romantic Impulse in Victorian Fiction, 1980) and scores of articles ranging from Hong lou meng to Jonathan Swift to Anthony Trollope to Julian Barnes. For nearly twenty years he has been a regular contributor to Sewanee Review. He is particularly proud of his Henry James chapter in the new Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 6 (2013); his book on Matthew Arnold (Communications with the Future, University of Michigan Press, 1997), and his study of "The Theme of Forgiveness in Western Culture" (in The Concept of Humanity in an Age of Globilization, ed. Zhang Longxi, National Taiwan University Press, 2012). Since 2007 he has assembled a collection of over 300 western prints and drawings (from Durer to Picasso) and organized eight exhibitions for the Arthur Sackler Museum at Peking University. (Some of these prints have been sent on exhibition to museums in Xinjiang, Macau, and Shanghai.)

Limin Su is currently a PhD student in philosophy of education in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa. She obtained her MA in Applied Linguistics and BA in English at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Her research interests include multicultural education, philosophy of John Dewey, and translation and intercultural studies.

Kirill Thompson received his advanced degrees from the University of Hawaii.  He is currently a professor in language and literature and the Associate Dean for the Humanities of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at National Taiwan University.  He is a philosopher but broadly interested in the humanities.  He is specialized in the philosophy of Zhu Xi and Neo-Confucianism but also investigates early Chinese thought and later traditions such as Buddhism. Well trained in western philosophy as well, he is particularly interested in early Greek thought through Plato, modern philosophy and much 19th and 20th century philosophy, such as transcendentalism, existentialism, and early analytic philosophy.  He has published numerous book chapters, articles and reviews in Chinese philosophy in such prominent journals as Philosophy East and West, Asian Philosophy, China Review International, etc., but also has written on Samuel Beckett, Thorstein Veblen, and related topics.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Contexts
  • Editors Evelyn T. Y. Chan
    Michael O'Sullivan
  • Series Title The Humanities in Asia
  • Series Abbreviated Title The Humanities in Asia
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-10-2265-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-981-10-9578-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-10-2267-8
  • Series ISSN 2363-6890
  • Series E-ISSN 2363-6904
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIII, 159
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Chinese
    Regional and Cultural Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site