An unserem Institut werden Promotionen zu ganz unterschiedlichen Themen angefertigt. Ein Überblick zeigt Ihnen die Bandbreite möglicher sinologischer Forschungsthemen mit ihren jeweiligen disziplinären Zugängen in Bereichen der Religionswissenschaft, Geschichtswissenschaft, den Wirtschaftswissenschaften und mehr. Dissertationen werden bei uns in Englisch oder Deutsch angefertigt.

zur Vergrößerungsansicht des Bildes: Gebäude hinter dem Kaiserpalast in Beijing, Foto: Merle Schatz
Gate tower in the Forbidden City, Beijing. Photo: Merle Schatz

laufende Promotionen

The Art of Scientific Representation: Surveys, Maps, and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1886-1937

The purpose of my Ph.D. research is to investigate the emergence and development of modern cartographical knowledge and mapmaking practices in late imperial and early Republican China (1886-1937). By focusing on the translation, education, production, and circulation of knowledge of multifarious survey and mapping paradigms, as well as technologies and practices implemented by public and private actors from different level of government, military and private institutions, I aim to address the question of how China was gradually represented on modern Chinese maps with scientific accuracy and how the production and circulation of new spatial knowledge and practices helped to shape the Chinese understanding of the new nation-state. The research will pay particular attention to various survey and mapping practices.

Urban Religion and Civil Society in the People's Republic of China

Can urban Chinese folk religious organizations be considered examples of civil society? And if so how do they differ from classic examples of civil society suggested by scholars?
This thesis posits that a study of sixty pilgrimage associations in the greater Beijing region centered on Miaofengshan will show that some of these groups are fragile examples of civil society, even as the government tries to coopt them as part of a national campaign to bolster legitimacy by embracing traditional faiths. And while these groups do not have direct political goals, they are part of a broader effort by religious communities to expand freedom of belief and individual agency over key moral questions that the state seeks to shape.
In addition, this work explores the role of invented traditions in today’s China. After more than a century of cultural destruction, state and society are racing to rebuild traditional teachings and faiths–Buddhism, Daoism, and folk religions. These players have differing interests: the state sees faith as a form of legitimacy, while the religious associations see it as a form of link that gives their members a sense of security and continuity with the past. But both are recreating an imagined or idealized past, one that can be useful in filling a widely perceived spiritual vacuum in 21st century China.
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History of Daoism and Local Practices in Central Hunan, from mid-18th to the mid-20th century

The Daoism in central Hunan, which is significantly featured with the popular ritual practices in Mt. Mei 梅山, has been vivant since the Qing era. The abundant wooden statuettes originally from that region do not only illustrate the diversity of the deities worshipped in the field, but also prove continous lineages of local ritual expert who, in some cases, synthesise the ritual tradition of Daoism, Buddhism, and popular religion. Focusing the case of Ningxiang prefecture 寧鄉, my PhD project is scrutinising historically and anthropologically the role of Daoism and folk ritual practices in the local society from the mid-18th century to the mid-20th century. Given the fact that Ningxiang prefecture is geographically bridging the provincial capital Changsha 長沙 in the east and region of Mt. Mei in the west, Ningxing functions as a transitional area in terms of culture and religion. Therefore, the religious characters of Ningxiang are remarkably differentiated according to the influences from the two sides, while the presence of local rituals are relatively noticeable in the west than the east. These facts demand the academic concerns on both chronical development of the local society and also the spatial distribution of the ritual lineages. The research involves the collection and close analysis of local monography (e.g. gazetteers, annals of temple), anthology and personal writing of local elites, ritual texts (e.g. the consecration records stored in the domestic statuettes, and manuscripts used in the ritual), and family genealogy. It is expected that the project will contribute to understand the religious dynamic in the local society of central Hunan.

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Taxation and Modern China: Tracing the Discourse of Lijin in the Republican Period (1912-1949)

I am a Ph.D. student in Sinologie, Ostasiatisches Institut. My research interest is the political and economic history of China. My current research project, supervised by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Kaske, is a historical study about discourse on taxation and its interaction with social relations in 19-20th century modern China, with a particular focus on the tax of Lijin.

Implemented in 1853, Lijin, literally meaning “one-thousandth unit of currency” in Chinese, was in practice a tax of one percent, or more, on the value of goods, located in shops and collected in transit. Seemingly insignificant, the tax would rise to be among the top three state revenues in Late Qing, and supported the nation’s early efforts in modernization. Lijin not only challenged the existing ideology and social relations, it also outlived the last Chinese monarchy and continued into the Republican era until its turbulent abolishment in 1931. In a period entangled by economic, political and social reforms, history would witness the state’s contradictory, yet helpless dependence on Lijin, making it an interesting case study for the fiscal history of China.

My research applies the method of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in tracing the historical discussions on Lijin. It aims to outline the relation between Lijin and social relations in Qing Dynasty and Republican China (1912-1949), thus bringing new meanings to theories about taxation and modernization.
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