The Fourth Oxford Graduate Conference on Contemporary China, which was funded by the University of Oxford China Centre and the Antonian Fund of St Antony’s College, was successfully held on 22 and 23 May 2015.
In the evening of Friday 22 May, a roundtable discussion themed on Chinese ideologies was held at lecture theatre one of the Dickson Poon Building. Mr Ewan Smith, DPhil candidate in law at Brasenose College, acted as the roundtable chair. Dr Patricia Thornton, associate professor in Chinese politics, discussed her latest research on the Cultural Revolution. Dr Rogier Creemers, research officer in the programme of comparative media law and policy, offered critical reviews regarding the role of ideology in public affairs in China, and the various ways in which it can be conceptualized and theorized for fruitful research. The roundtable discussion also brought in Dr Leigh Jenco, associate professor in political theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr Jenco shared with us her latest research on Chinese ideology in the republican era, how it was understood in China today, and the extent to which it could be generalizable to understand ideology outside the Chinese context. The roundtable was attended by academics and students from Oxford and other universities. It was concluded with a wine reception at the Dickson Poon Building and dinner at St Antony’s College.
On Saturday 23 May, a day-long conference was held at the Pavilion room of St Antony’s College. Thirteen graduate students/early-career researchers presented their research related to ideology in contemporary China. They represented different universities in the UK and abroad, including the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Peking University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, Korea University, etc. A wide range of topics were covered, including political attitudes and political engagement of Chinese protestants, the cultivation of nationalism through state-led propaganda, the role of ideological differences in the formation of elite coalitions, the resurgence in interest of the republican era, and the production and consumption of ideology in everyday experiences. Dr Rogier Creemers, Dr Patricia Thornton, Dr Thomas Harvey from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Mr Yu Tao from University of Central Lancashire acted as discussants to provide comments to presenters.