PhD-Fellowship for a project on the history of China’s modern enterprise

Leuven, Belgium
Deadline: 5th Dec 2018

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship starting October 2019 at the Sinology Unit, Faculty of Arts, University of Leuven.
The project studies China’s recent economic modernization from the point of view of the firm. In order to counterbalance the attention which most scholarship has placed on the study oftop-down political directives, this project will focus on the process of technological and managerial innovation and will analyze the changes introduced by managers and leaders at the enterprise level. Taking as a case-study the transport/mobilitysector (and its related industries) in selected major cities/industrial areas of Mainland China, the emergence of modern enterprises after 1978 will be analysed in comparison with previous manufacturing and entrepreneurial experiences over a longer-term perspective. Two historical legacies need to be taken into account: 1. The Republican era (1912-1949), when modern institutions,manufacturing, industry and technology were introduced from more advanced countries (including Russia, Japan, Europe, US); 2. The era of the Socialist planned economy, when economic, technical, cultural and social developments replaced or integrated existing institutions. The latter period can be further split upin 1949-1976 (until Mao’s death) and the early reform years (until 1993 when China’s economy abandoned the plan for the market).

The main aim of the project is to delve into the legacies of China’s modern enterprises, explore the existence/interaction of local and foreign elements which were present before Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. The findings will test the widespread thesis that China’s industrialization is the product of post-1978 globalization and Westernization.

The candidate will work on aspecific case-study in the transport/mobility sector in a selected Chineseindustrial location. The project will have a marked comparative perspective: a )In order to compare different timeframes, the ideal candidate will have the necessary preparation to search for/ study original sources both from Republican times and post-1949; b) In order to investigate the interplay between enterprise managers/leaders and government decision-makers in the process of modernization, the candidate will conduct multi-archival research in China, Europe and eventually in the US (company archives, government archives, personal papers and voluntary business associations).

By constantly interacting with the project leader, the candidate will contribute findings and integrate arguments within a broader historical perspective which will award long-term validity to this research and its results.

· A Master degree in History or in Chinese Studies obtained in the EEA area;

· Proficiency in English and Chinese. Knowledge of other languages (particularly: German orJapanese, is considered a plus);

Strong analytical skills and motivation to pursue innovative work in modern Chinese history;
Willingness to develop an interdisciplinary research approach, which may include the study of Management Studies/Development Economics/Economic and Business History;

· Excellent oral communication and demonstrable skills in scholarly writing;

· Ability to work independently and to contribute creatively to a research project;

· Commitment to complete the project in time and to deliver intermediary results at conferences and publications;



A full-time PhD position is offered. The fellow will receive a salary of approximately 2000 EUR/month (after taxes) for a period of one year during which s/he will be expected to apply for further funding with the FWO (FlandersResearch Foundation).

Please include a cover letter, a CV, the names of up to three referees, and a sample piece of academic writing (in English).

The deadline for applications is 5 December 2018.

Interviews with shortlisted candidates will take place on 10 and 11 December (in person or online for overseas applicants). A decision will be communicated before the Christmas break.

The fellow will be allocated office space, and receive additional funding for research activities like attending conferences abroad and organising workshops in Leuven or elsewhere.

The successful candidate may be asked to provide (limited) assistance with teaching, student supervision and data management. S/he will join the dynamic research group at the Sinology Unit, Faculty of Arts.

· Expected starting date: October 2019

· Expected completion of the doctoral project: 4 years

(ref. BAP-2018-655)
Laatst aangepast : 24/10/2018

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Valeria Zanier, tel.: +32 16 37 68 08, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than December 05, 2018 via the online application tool
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