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Yiyun Ding


Yang Yinyu, 1884-1938: China's First Female University President and the Educational Reforms in Her Era

Supervisor: Dr Jon Howlett


My PhD project is the first in-depth research on a prominent female educator in modern China, named Yang Yinyu (1884-1938). By exploring the life, career, and legacies of this historical figure, my thesis demonstrates the pursuits, conflicts and negotiations that an individual had experienced when the country was witnessing a dramatic educational modernisation by the turn of the twentieth century. Centred on an individual as case study, my PhD thesis discusses the meaning of 'modern education' in China, and a series of key issues that accompanied with the educational reforms, such as Chinese nationalism, missionary education, student movements, feminism, and class struggles.

My broader research interests include social and cultural history of modern China and East Asia; transnational exchanges of educational ideologies and intellectual ideas in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Conference papers

  • 'Traditionalism and Wartime Education in WWII: the New Life Movement, 1932-1934' -- 132nd Annual Conference of the American Historical Association, Washington D.C. (January 2018).
  • 'The Student Movement of 1925: Students, Nationalism, and University President' --The Annual Conference of Joint East Asian Studies, University of SOAS, London (September 2016).
  • 'Educational Reforms of Modern China: A Case Study of China's First Female University Yang Yinyu'-- Joint Conference of History and Sociology, University of Bielefeld, Germany (May 2016).

External activities

Secretary of the British Postgraduate Network for Chinese Studies, 2015-2016

Contact details

Ms Yiyun Ding
PhD student
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD