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Boost for Chinese researchers of British history

Posted on 31 October 2016

New online resource part of burgeoning links with leading Chinese universities

York historians have worked with colleagues from Renmin University in Beijing to develop the new York-Renmin Sources for British History portal, an online resource which enables Chinese students and academics to gain free access to British primary source material. The unique site includes introductions in Chinese, and can be expanded as additional sources are digitised.

The project is part of the Department of History’s ongoing links with Renmin. The Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past was delighted to welcome Renmin scholar Jiang Meng to its International Workshop on public history in September 2016, and the Department is pleased to be hosting Renmin PhD student Zhao Yunhua for the 2016/17 academic year. Yunhua, whose PhD focuses on late medieval British history, is working closely with Prof. Sarah Rees Jones with financial support from the China Scholarship Council.

We are also delighted to have increasing ties with other leading Chinese Universities, including Nanjing University and Fudan University (Shanghai). Our efforts to establish and deepen relationships with these Chinese partners have created opportunities for research collaborations, given opportunities for postgraduate students to study overseas, and have promoted closer intellectual ties focused on key historical and historiographical issues.

In March 2016, Dr Henrice Altink and Dr Jon Howlett gave talks on their research at Nanjing University and Fudan University in Shanghai. Dr Howlett was also a visiting scholar for three months at Fudan’s prestigious International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization in 2014. Nanjing and York have strong connections that were further solidified by a visit of historians of British history from York in May 2015. The papers from their symposium on ’Cultural Transformation’ are soon to be published in the Chinese Journal of British Studies.

The Department has benefitted from hosting visiting scholars from across China in recent years, including Peng Lihua from Hunan Normal University and Sheng Wenqin from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.  Additionally, we are fortunate to have a growing community of Chinese postgraduate students, including Ding Yiyun, Florence Mok and Zhao Xuduo, who are studying for their PhDs with Dr Jon Howlett, Dr David Clayton and Dr Oleg Benesch respectively.