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The American Council of Learned Societies: Program in China Studies

For the third grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation’s Directors have awarded $1.2 million to the American Council of Learned Societies to initiate a new program in China Studies. The program’s primary goal is to support the professional formation of the rising generation of American Sinologists at a time of intensified interaction between the United States and China.

The entry costs to the China studies field have always been high, requiring mastery of a difficult language, familiarity with China’s long history, and knowledge of its extensive cultural record. Now, experts in the field must also be acquainted with a growing body of contemporary Chinese scholarship and maintain relationships with Chinese colleagues.

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies will aid scholarship on Chinese history, literature, culture, and society by means of three complementary grant competitions: awards for doctoral candidates to spend time in China, exploring archives and field sites for dissertation research; post-doctoral fellowships for research in China and writing toward a major scholarly product; and collaborative reading workshops for in-depth, multi-disciplinary investigation of Chinese texts.

In a press release, ACLS president Pauline Yu remarks, "Over the past century American scholarship on China has become enormously strong and capacious, but to remain vital such knowledge must be constantly renewed and extended. This program will assist the scholars who will do that." This grant is the latest in a series of joint efforts between ACLS and the Luce Foundation. For both organizations, China Studies is a longstanding area of interest.



 75th Anniversary Initiative


This grant was part of a special initiative celebrating the Luce Foundation’s 75th anniversary and honoring the vision of our founder, Henry R. Luce. Over the course of two years, the Foundation awarded a series of seven major grants fostering innovation in our historic areas of interest, including leadership, service, scholarship, communication, and international understanding.


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“Over the past century American scholarship on China has become enormously strong and capacious, but to remain vital such knowledge must be constantly renewed and extended. This program will assist the scholars who will do that.”
- Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned societies