Sinology in the Cold War

Antonina Luszczykiewicz's picture
November 24, 2019 to November 25, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Chinese History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences




International Workshop

Berlin, November 24-25, 2019




Just as the People’s Republic of China was affected by the onset of the Cold War, academic study of China by the West was also affected in many ways. Indeed, the PRC’s very creation as a nation could be viewed as a response to the Cold War, and a great deal of ink has been used to describe and assess the various ways in which that is the case, from China’s early friendship and alliance with the Soviet Union to the eventual breakdown of that relationship, and a host of other domestic and international events that sprang from the increasing polarization of the world in the Cold War starting even before October 1949. All these events stimulated a great interest in China among politicians and academics outside of China, and the old and well-established field of Sinology, or “China Studies” took on a new urgency in countries both friendly and hostile to China. We now have a fairly good idea of the history of Sinology in the 20th Century in Western Europe and the United States, but we know relatively little about its counterpart as a field in countries and universities in Europe that lay “behind” the so-called Iron Curtain and in the non-Aligned States. This workshop is intended to start to address our lacunae in knowledge about those histories.


We kindly invite scholars from these states to participate in this workshop on “Sinology in the Cold War.” We are particularly interested to receive contributions on the history of Sinology in East European and non-aligned states. Contributions can range from oral histories to analyses of intellectual trends in Sinology during the period in question, to descriptions of career tracks of those  engaged in Sinology, to political ramifications to scholars, career tracks, funding, etc. on the state of Sinological studies in Eastern Bloc or non-aligned states. We also invite scholars from Western Europe and the US who research this issue since a comparative element will also be an important part of the story that the final papers will tell.


Questions and issues that will be discussed during the workshop include (but are not limited to):


  • What was the condition of Chinese studies in your country and your university after the advent of the Cold War (roughly dated starting in 1946)? Was it a recognized field of scholarship at that time? If so, how did it change as the Cold War emerged and grew? 
  • What were the major research interests of Sinologists at the end of World War II, did they shift during the Cold War and if so, how and why (were there specific national political imperatives that shaped the field of Sinology).
  • Was it possible for Sinologists in your country to have direct interactions with scholars in China? 
  • To what extent were Chinese studies politicized and ideologized?
  • Were Sinologists allowed to conduct research of their own choosing, were certain topics off limits, and if so, what were they and how were those limits imposed on scholars?
  • How did funding operate in universities in your country to support Sinology during the Cold War?
  • Did specific scholarly networks among Sinologists develop among colleagues from your country with other countries during the Cold War?


We invite candidates to submit a paper dedicated to China Studies either in one country from Eastern/Western Bloc, or in a regional or comparative perspective. Questions provided above can be discussed in the context of a particular topic, or a case study, from the field of a participant’s research interests. We therefore encourage submissions on all theoretical and practical issues, in all disciplines of humanities and social sciences – categories of interest to the workshops include, but are not limited to, political science, international relations, history, cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, literature, arts, sociology, economics, education, law, media and communication, and language studies.  


Camera-ready papers (which should not exceed 10,000 words) shall be shared with all participants in advance. Each participant will be also asked to present and lead a discussion on another participant’s paper at the workshops. We hope the character of the workshops will enable a valuable, quality-focused discussion, as well as help the participants prepare final, ready-to-publish versions of their articles. Depending on a scientific scope of submitted papers and results of the workshops, all articles will be published in a peer-reviewed monograph or a special issue of a renowned journal.





March 1

Abstract submission deadline

April 1

Announcement of paper selection

August 1

Full paper submission deadline

September 1

Paper review by the organizing committee. Accepted papers will be sent out to other participants

November 24-25

Workshops in Berlin


All applicants are expected to ensure they are able to meet all the deadlines before applying, since the workshop is planned as the first stage of what we envision to be a quick turnaround from initial draft to final publication.


There is no workshop fee. The organizers will provide a 2-day catering. Participants need to find necessary funds for their visa, travel, and accommodation.


Please submit the abstract (not exceeding 300 words) together with your name, academic title, academic affiliation, short bio, email and contact number by March 1, 2019, to:


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We hope to see you in Berlin!


Michael Brose and Antonina Łuszczykiewicz




Indiana University 

IU Europe Gateway

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies

Pan Asia Institute

East Asian Studies Center


Jagiellonian University in Krakow 

Institute of the Middle and Far East



Contact Info: 


Michael Brose

Indiana University

East Asian Studies Center


Antonina Łuszczykiewicz

Jagiellonian University in Krakow

Institute of the Middle and Far East