PhD studentship: Deconstruction and construction of national traditions and science in China (DEKONTRAV)

Charles University, Prague

The Institute of East Asian Studies at Charles University, Prague, announces a three year PhD studentship associated with the research project Deconstruction and construction of national traditions and science in China (DEKONTRAV). The studentship will be tenable from the academic year 2013–14.
Science and the scientific spirit were important attributes of modernity for the early twentieth century Chinese intellectuals. On the other hand, scientists and scientific educators in the same period shared the patriotic enthusiasm and cultural sensitivity of the post-May-Fourth intellectuals. This project explores through a range of detailed studies the mutual interplay of science, patriotism and cultural criticism in the years ca. 1900–1950, with a possible extension until the start of the Cultural Revolution. More details about the project can be found on our website
Applicants can focus on any relevant topic within the broad field covered by the project description, with the following areas especially welcome:


  1. History of particular scientific disciplines in China before 1950 (including the social sciences), their relation to the nation-building discourse and to particular elements of Chinese culture. Contextualised biographies of prominent individuals are acceptable.
  2. Historiography of Chinese science and its relation to general debates in Chinese historiography and humanities of the pre-1949 period.
  3. Comparative studies of the role of science in the nationalist discourse of China and other modernising countries, especially of Central and Eastern Europe.

A starting point of the research project can be the extensive collection of mid-twentieth century books and periodicals in the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, including complete or almost complete runs of major periodicals such as the New Youth, Jinling Xuebao, Furen Xuezhi etc.

The PhD dissertation will be supervised by Professor Olga Lomova and advised by Jiri Hudecek, PhD. The holder of the studentship will be expected to contribute to other project activities. Willingness and ability to teach up to one course per semester will be an advantage.

The applicants should possess an MA in Sinology, History or a related subject. Candidates near the completion of their degree will also be considered if confidently able to start their PhD course by October 2013 (allow sufficient time for the nostrification of non-Czech degrees where applicable). Candidates must have a reading knowledge of Chinese sufficient for independent research, and be proficient in both spoken and written English. Knowledge of Czech or other Slavic languages at any level, and knowledge of Japanese will be an advantage.

The PhD candidate will be eligible for a standard university-provided non-taxable doctoral studentship (currently between 6,050 and 11,000 CZK according to the year of study), plus a salary of 18,000 CZK per month, and social and health insurance according to Czech legal regulations. The PhD course is tuition free. Additional research funds will also be available.

To apply, send your curriculum vitae, relating your relevant academic experience and skills, a writing sample (up to twenty pages), a research proposal (maximum 1,000 words) and a statement of aims to by April 30, 2013. All attachments have to be submitted in English or Czech. At the same time, submit a regular PhD application to the Research Department of the Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University, Prague, in the doctoral programme History and Culture of Asian and African countries (see for details, including interview dates).  Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Jiri Hudecek or Olga Lomova ( for preliminary discussions about possible topics well in advance of the deadline.


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