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2008.10.30 - Chinese Sociology: Nanjing Conference 2008

Nanjing Conference 2008

Affirming the International Importance of Chinese Sociology

Professor Flemming Christiansen is the Director of the National Institute of Chinese Studies. Here, he reports on the Third International Conference on Chinese Society and China Studies, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, 24-26 October 2008.

The International Conference on Chinese Society and China Studies at Nanjing University from 24th to 26th October 2008 brought together academics from around the world and helped cement the importance of sociology as a global discipline in China.

Jointly organised by Professor Zhou Xiaohong of the Department of Sociology at Nanjing University and Professor Flemming Christiansen, Director of NICS, the Conference was a prestigious sequel to a series of China studies conferences started by the late Professor Fei Xiaotong in 1987 to connect scholars from the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan in a dialogue on social and cultural developments in China. The Conference represents efforts to develop Chinese Sociology as a truly international discipline, capable of providing an understanding of social change in changing times, by taking an innovative lead in developing sociology internationally and collaborating with foreign scholars working on China.

The Conference this year took place on the 30th anniversary of the Chinese Reforms of 1978, which launched huge transformations of Chinese society, and also marked the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Sociology as an independent university subject in China at the then Central University (one of Nanjing University's precursor institutions) in 1928. Furthermore, the Conference also commemorated the re-establishment of the Department of Sociology in 1988 (after it had been closed down in the early 1950s).

Nanjing University Sociology Department upgraded to Faculty level

During the Conference opening ceremony, the decision by Nanjing University council to upgrade the Sociology Department into a separate Faculty (xueyuan) was read aloud. NICS is pleased about this timely recognition of the importance, size and stature of Sociology at Nanjing University.

Sociology at Nanjing University has been particularly successful and is among the largest and most important of its sort in China (see It is a particular honour for NICS to be part of convening the conference and to share in the process of developing Chinese sociology. NICS staff members Professor Christiansen and Dr Heather Zhang gave papers at the Conference, which was also attended by Leeds University NICS PhD student, Michael Griffiths.

Sociology and History at Nanjing University are close collaborative partners with NICS. Our cooperation has benefited strongly from the Worldwide Universities Network, which also contributed major funds towards the Conference.

For more information on the Third International Conference on Chinese Society and China Studies, please see the conference programme listed by the Department of Sociology, Nanjing University.