Monthly Archives: November 2016

Chinese Studies Lecture Series 2018


The Domestication of Cosmopolitanism in Transnational Chinese Masculinities

Derek Hird (Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Lancaster University)

Tuesday, 25 Sept, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh

This talk explores how the impetus of globalization has resulted in the hybridization of Chinese masculinities. As part of a process that Lisa Rofel terms the “domestication of cosmopolitanism”, cosmopolitan desires have become imbricated with other more situated notions and practices of masculinity. Analysis of media representations and interview/ethnographic data reveals four salient trends in the formation of transnational Chinese masculinities: domestication of cosmopolitan and consumerist masculinities within historically embedded discourses; reconciliation of intellectuals with global business masculinities; acceptance of emotionally expressive and caring fatherhood practices; and relative stickiness of hierarchical intimate partner relations. An overarching theme emerges, which is Chinese men’s aspiration to a cosmopolitanism that does not preclude a strong sense of cultural and national Chinese identity. In this talk, I aim to show how Chinese men are forging transnationally inflected identities that draw simultaneously from historical Chinese masculinities and contemporary globally circulating masculinities. In wider perspective, this talk provides a masculinities angle on the fluidity of gender identities and relationships under the socioeconomic conditions of postsocialist China.

Kinky Booties: The Erotics of Shoes in the Ming Novel Jin Ping Mei

Paola Zamperini (Professor, Northwestern University)

Tuesday, 23 Oct, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh  

This presentation explores the layers of meaning attached to shoes, sex, sexuality, and the body in the Ming novel Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase). Shoes in general and female footwear in particular in Plum are integral part of characters’ class, wealth, and sex appeal (or lack thereof), and, as such, are a meaningful site to explore the writing of sex and desire in the world of late imperial Chinese fiction. We will concentrate in particular on one of the three main female protagonists of Plum, Pan Jinlian, whose very name, Pan Golden Lotus, connects her feet first, as it were, into the discourse of sexuality and fashion. Walking in Pan Jinlian’s shoes will, in other words, help us uncover the erotics of shoes, subjectivity, and gender identities in the imaginary of the time.

Understanding China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Jinghan Zeng (Senior Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London)

Tuesday, 13 Nov, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh  

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been widely interpreted as Beijing’s masterplan to achieve its geopolitical goals. This talk will explain why this view is mistaken. Is Beijing really in charge of the Belt and Road Initiative? Will the Belt and Road Initiative build a Sino-centric world order? How will the Belt and Road Initiative unfold in the nearly future? How should the British government respond to the Belt and Road Initiative? The talk will discuss these questions in details.

All Welcome! No booking is required.














Chinese Language Classes – open for booking

We offer a diverse programme of evening classes for the general public to enjoy learning Chinese. Our Winter term courses as listed below are now available for online booking. All classes will start week beginning 23 January 2017 and run for 10 weeks ending in the last week of March 2017.

All classes take place on the Confucius Institute for Scotland Campus. You can download a map showing the campus layout here – Conf-campus-map

LANGUAGE CLASSES January-March 2017

Course bookings for the winter term are now open. If you have some previous learning and have not yet started classes with us please get in touch and we can arrange an assessment to ensure you are placed in the most suitable class. For this, or any other questions please email You can also call us on 0131 662 2180. Otherwise please see below for the class timetable and click through to book.

CLass level Code Day(s) Dates-
all 2017
Time Full Price / Student
Chinese 1.1 CH040-221 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH040-222 Tuesday 24 Jan – 28 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH040-223 Wednesday 25 Jan – 29 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH040-224 Thursday 26 Jan – 30 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 1.2 CH044-219 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH044-220 Tuesday 24 Jan – 28 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH044-221 Wednesday 25 Jan – 29 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 1.3 CH046-209 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 2.1 CH041-208 Thursday 26 Jan – 30 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 2.2 CH037-207 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
CH037-208 Wednesday 25 Jan – 29 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 2.3 CH011-206 Thursday 26 Jan – 30 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 3.1 CH045-206 Wednesday 25 Jan – 29 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 3.2 CH036-207 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 3.3 CH012-205 Monday 23 Jan – 27 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 4.2 CH013-206
Thursday 26 Jan – 30 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 5.1 CH009-204 Tuesday 24 Jan – 28 March 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese 5.3 CH016-202 Tuesday 24 Jan – 28 Marc 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87
Chinese Advanced CH002-204 Monday 26 Sept-28 Nov 6.00-8.00pm £130/£87

An absolute beginner can join us at the start of each term. Any student who has some previous experience in learning the language is welcome to contact us and arrange to drop in for an initial assessment to help determine which class would best suit.

Classes run for two hours on the same evening for a ten week term. After three terms most students are ready to move to the next level. No assessment is carried out but students are encouraged to test their developing skills by sitting the globally run HSK test.

Excellence in teaching is paramount. Our teachers are seconded from Fudan University which regularly send us experienced senior teachers and a number of Masters candidates in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. You can see the profiles of our current and previous teachers by clicking here.

English Language Assistant-Opportunities in China

iStock_000003121920SmallDiscover what China has to offer through a paid English language teaching placement.  A number of new posts for graduates to work as language assistants in schools across China are on offer for 2017 from British Council.

Working as a language assistant gives you the chance to discover another culture and develop invaluable, transferable skills for the workplace. Plus you get paid!

Salary and Benefits

As a British Council language assistant in China, you can expect to be paid a comfortable salary every month. Your accommodation will be arranged for you, flights are paid and there are no programme fees to pay.  British Council offers:

  • A pre-departure briefing day
  • A free 60 hour online TEFL course
  • Accommodation throughout your contract
  • A salary of 4000-13000 RMB per month depending on location

What you’ll get

City Scene

During your placement in China you will be expected to teach for up to 20 hours per week. In return you will be given:

  • year round support from the British Council with over 35 years experience working in China.
  • on-going support from our partners overseas
  • a two-week induction course when you arrive, including language and culture lessons to help you settle in and meet other language assistants.
  • a free online TEFL course with practical tips to help you succeed in the classroom


You do not need to speak any Chinese but you will be need to be a native speaker of English and have graduated from university by the time you start your placement.

Further Information and Application

The deadline for applications is 28 Feb 2017.  For further information and to apply please visit British Council’s website page on this opportunity




Panoramas and Portraits:
1860’s China

The University library has recently carried out an extensive digitisation project of a superb volume of photographs many of which are from Lord Elgin’s 1860’s military campaign in China.  The majority of these images were taken by Felice Beato, the famous war photographer.


The album from which these images are taken is a large, fairly ornate embossed and gilt-tooled leather bound volume measuring 69cm. It contains 59 images mounted on 56 leaves.

For an introduction to the album, please see the blog written by University volunteer Caitlin Holton. The complete set of digitised images can be seen on the University’s LUNA website at this link.                     

Some photos are captioned.  You can check by viewing a full page image and zoom in by hovering your mouse over the image to bring up the zoom tool then check if there is a caption underneath.

More info

0066527cAs well as images recording Lord Elgin’s 1860 military campaign in the Second Opium War, there are landscape views of Honk Kong, Shanghai and Macao.The subject matter also includes studio portraits of Chinese people.

For a fuller annotated description of this album held in the University of Edinburgh and referenced as “China”: RECA.MS.8. please download the album description china_reca-ms-8

There is a list of contents for the album which can be obtained by emailing If you have any contributions or information on specific images these would be most welcome.

womenattableAdditional websites which may be of interest can be found at the links below.

Historical Photographs of China

Sydney D. Gamble Photographs

For further information on these images please email

Violence in Upland Southwest China:- Seminar 23 Nov 5pm

This seminar on 23 November 17.00-19.00 explores group violence in an area of Southwest China that experienced on-going conflicts between 1800 and the late 1950s involving indigenous Yi (Nuosu) peoples, Chinese settler communities, and the Qing and Republican states.

Population pressure has been blamed by early nineteenth century governors and later scholarship alike, but our speaker argues against this approach and believes neither opium production or the growth of local paramilitary groups were as destabilizing as narratives from the early twentieth century might suggest. Instead, conflict resulted from the lack of a common framework for dealing with property disputes, and also the unanticipated impacts of turmoil elsewhere in China, such as the Taiping War, civil war after the fall of the Qing Empire, World War II, and the Nationalist Party’s war on drugs. Although some of the frameworks for interpreting conflict are unhelpful or misleading, those frameworks exercised a powerful influence on the meanings of violence to locals, which shaped their responses to it.  Locals developed measures to contain conflict, some of which worked. Other methods exacerbated matters and led to the construction of stereotypical views of indigenous violence. In developing these arguments, the speaker integrates this conflict into a world-historical framework, considering points of comparison to other borderlands in nineteenth and twentieth century history.

Seminar Leader

Joseph Lawson is a lecturer in Chinese history at Newcastle University. His first book, Sustaining Violence: Mountain Land, Paramilitary Mobilization, and Otherness in Southwest China, 1800-1956 will be published by University of British Columbia Press in 2017. He is also the editor and main translator of the new English edition of Mao Haijian’s The Qing Empire and the Opium War (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Essential Information

Wednesday, November 23, 17:00-19:00
David Hume Tower, LG. 06, University of Edinburgh

Inter-Group Violence in Upland Southwest China, 1800-1950s: Causes and Meanings
Joseph Lawson, Newcastle University.


Chinese Women’s Whispers Fringe Production 14-28 Aug

The Confucius Institute for Scotland was delighted to welcome back to the capital the extraordinary, award-winning theatre group, Hand Made In China who appeared at Spotlites Theatre from 14-28 August.

Fringe First Award winners two years ago, this year’s mesmerising production –“Chinese Women’s Whispers” – is one that weaves together the story of three generations of Chinese women with the story of ‘nushu’, an ancient, secret, written language evolved by Chinese women and never shared with men.

Through narrative, poems, songs and dance the fascinating story behind this hidden writing offers a contemporary perspective on a woman’s role in society while exploring notions of femininity and masculinity from both a Western and Eastern perspective.

The Hand Made In China cast is assembled from participants in Hua Dan workshops for migrant women workers, a Beijing-based social enterprise that uses the power of participatory theatre as a tool to empower migrant women and children.

Performers from the Hunan Jiangyong Centre for Nushu also feature in the show,  delivered in both English and Chinese, using subtitling when necessary.

Institute Director, Professor Natascha Gentz, said: “We are so pleased they have accepted our invitation to return for Fringe 2016 where they will share more of the Hua Dan women’s experiences, asking themselves what their roles as wives, daughters, mothers and modern women are in China today.”

Reviews  * * * * *
BroadwayBaby   * * *
Fringeguru * * *

More about Hua Dan

Hua Dan ( is a Beijing-based social enterprise that uses the power of participatory theatre as a tool to empower migrant women and children.  Hua Dan operates a model of training and employing the migrant women themselves to deliver programmes in their communities, enabling them to be competent performers, workshop leaders and project managers.  To date Hua Dan has worked with over 25,000 people across China and are now scaling their model into other emerging markets through our sister entity, Scheherazade –


Nüshu ( 女书  ) – literally “women’s writing”. It is a syllabic script, a very different variation of Chinese characters that was used exclusively among women in Jiangyong County in Hunan province of southern China.  A symbol of female empowerment and a significant force in reduced suicides in the regions where it was practiced, it’s beauty and artistry provide a powerful backdrop to the stories of the Hua Dan women being explored on the stage.
(source: Wikipedia)