PhD positions “Elites, networks, and power in modern urban China (1830-1949)” [ENP- CHINA]

The Institute of Asian Studies (IrAsia) at Aix-Marseille University announces two doctoral fellowships in Chinese history in the ERC-funded project ENP-CHINA.

The ENP-CHINA project proposes a step-change in the study of modern China reliant upon scalable data-rich history. It will deliver precise historical information at an unprecedented scale from heretofore untapped sources – as well as reshaping the analysis of existing sources – to create a new dimension in the study of the transformation of elites in modern China. It will deploy an array of cutting-edge digital methods— including data mining, sampling, and analysis within an integrated virtual research environment. To establish the validity of this approach, the project focuses on the three urban areas (Shanghai, Beijing/Tianjin, Canton/Hong Kong) that had the mostprofound impact on the course of modern Chinese history. The project will challenge the China-centered and group-based approach dominant in the historical literature of the past two decades.

The project envisions elites in urban China as actors whose status, position, and practices were shaped by the power configurations that developed over time and whose actions through institutions and informal/formal networks in turn were a determining factor in redrawing social and political boundaries. The project will place the emphasis on the networks through which information, capital, and individuals circulated. It will investigate the transnationalization of elites as a process that overstepped the limits of institutions and nation states. The key issue that the project will address is breaking through existing limits of access to historical information that is embedded in complex sources and its transformation into refined, re-usable and sustainable data for contemporary and future study of modern China.

The ENP-CHINA project will be based at Aix-Marseille University on its Schuman campus (Aix-en-Provence) and will be implemented by an international interdisciplinary team. The project is also part of a large international network of researchers in Europe (Bristol, Lancaster, Leiden, Basel, Göttingen), China (Shanghai) and Taiwan (Academia Sinica).

Job description

The ENP-CHINA project consists of 3 subprojects where the PhD students and 2 post-doc researchers will work together with the PI, four senior researchers and a team of engineers in computing and data science: (1) Methodologies: From texts to historical “big data”; (2) China elites: From large-scale database to data-rich history; (3) Case studies: quantitative/qualitative crosswalks. Working closely together with the PI and other team members, the PhD researchers will be involved in the development and execution of the survey in one of the three selected cities and to carry out their own project. The PhD researcher is expected to develop her/his PhD project and write single and/ or co-authored articles in peer reviewed journals on the project findings and contribute to the conceptual papers.

Your application/How to apply?

Please send your application in one PDF document to Use the subject heading “ENP-CHINA PhD Position”.
Deadline: 30 April 2019, 12:00 noon CET.
If you have any further enquiries about the positions, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Christian Henriot at

More information

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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