Faculty Collaboration


To enrich scholarly ties between McGill’s Faculty of Arts and Shantou’s College of Liberal Arts, each year, two (2) ranked academic staff from each institution will conduct a 2-week visit at the reciprocal institution. These visits will rotate through disciplines, giving opportunity to generate new creative collaborations.

Structure of visits

Activities during these visits should focus on: teaching classes, delivering public lectures, participating in workshops and colloquia, and meeting with researchers with shared scholarly interests. Visiting academics will work with their hosts to develop a mutually agreeable schedule of activities.


Up to $8000.00 CAD


Ordinarily, the grant must be used by the end of the academic year in which it is awarded.

McGill application process

Ranked academic staff who wish to apply for one of these grants must submit a proposal (maximum 2 pages) which describes the activities they plan to focus on while at Shantou University (see Structure of Visit above). They should also indicate with whom at Shantou University they plan to collaborate and how this collaboration will respect and further the mission of the grants.

McGill reporting requirements

Upon their return grant recipients must submit a detailed report of their visit, including all scholarly activities and collaborations. They must also furnish a detailed accounting of expenses and provide supporting receipts and documentation. Photos are also welcomed.

For consideration by the interdisciplinary committee please send application to: Arts Li Ka Shing Initiatives at shantou.arts [at] mcgill.ca.

Deadline for submission of application

Open deadline


2017-18 recipients

Jeremy Tai, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies


The Li Ka Shing Initiative for Faculty Collaboration provided me with the opportunity to visit Shantou University in late May and early June this year. During my two-week stay, local faculty, staff, and students introduced me to the university, its particular history, the state of its humanities and social science programs (e.g., the Global Studies Center), and library collections. In particular, I met Mao Sihui, dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Li Jie, vice-dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Terry Bodenhorn, professor of History and director of the Shantou University Library; Jin Wenjian, director of Chaoshan special collections at the Shantou University Library; Stephen Leahy, associate professor of History and Liberal Arts; Karsten Krueger, associate professor of Anthropology and Film Studies; and Jin Yuanming, a Chinese language instructor. In our meetings, we discussed our research interests, including the current historiography of modern China, the relationship between central and local authorities from the perspective of Guangdong province, historical and present-day connections with overseas Chinese communities (e.g., qiaopi letters, remittances, and investment), women’s handicraft production in the Chaoshan region, and the history of Christianity in the Chaoshan region. Karsten Krueger and I discussed the possibility of collaborating on a workshop and/or conference panel on the politics of historical preservation in urban China. I was also able to use the library collections and databases for my research on urban renewal in modern China and the librarians kindly directed me to primary- and secondary-source materials related to urban development in the Chaoshan region.

I shared part of my current book project with local faculty and students in a lecture entitled, “Reviving the Silk Road: Urban Imaginaries in Modern Xi’an,” on the evening of May 31, 2018. My talk historicized the Silk Road as the latest of a series of cultural representations that has framed popular understandings of Northwest China over the past century. State, intellectual, and cultural representations have successively presented the hinterland city of Xi’an and its environs to a national audience as a Qing military stronghold, a place of famine, a cradle of civilization, a beacon of socialist industrialization, and now an ancient nexus of trade. In my talk, I discussed how these representational shifts occurred in times of capitalist and territorial crisis, including the Great Depression, Cold War conflicts, and the Great Recession, and their effects on the transformation of local space and society in Xi’an. The audience asked a wide array of methodological, theoretical, and historical questions, including how I define and use the term “imaginary” in my work, how social history could enrich popular understandings of Xi’an, how locals interpret Silk Road symbolism, and the economic and social contexts for China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Lastly, my trips to local sites in the Chaoshan area lent a comparative perspective to urban development in another region of China, where local officials have also effected sweeping changes in the name of historic preservation and the Silk Road. In particular, I discussed with local scholars the ongoing redevelopment project in Shantou’s historic Xiaogongyuan area that draws on Republican-era nostalgia to demolish existing buildings and relocate residents. I also documented how the Shantou Museum and Shantou Opening Port Culture Exhibition Hall have engaged with the Maritime Silk Road as a keyword for narrating local history. The staff at Shantou University also kindly arranged a day-trip for me to Chaozhou and its historic sites, such as Han Wen Gong temple commemorating scholar Han Yu, Guangji Bridge, the Ming city wall, Paifang (Memorial Arch) Street, the Buddhist Kaiyuan temple, and Thai Buddhist Taifo Hall. By familiarizing myself with another region in China, I was able to observe important similarities and differences with Northwest China in the process of urbanization and the production of cultural and economic value in the cityscape.

2016-17 recipients

Philip Buckley, Philosophy professor and Chair of East Asian Studies

My research project in Shantou is embedded within a larger research programme which investigates the constitution of various types of identity (religious,linguistic, ethnic, economic, cultural, political, etc.) and considers how these overlapping and often conflicting identities relate to the idea of citizenship in contemporary China. The theoretical framework within which this research takes place are the analyses of the constitution of the self and the community in the phenomenological tradition; the case of Chaoshan region in Guandong Province forms both a point of departure for reflection and a test-case.

Griet Vankeerberghen, Associate Professor in History and Classical Studies.

My intention [at Shantou University] was to explore the Chao Shan region, as well as wider Guangzhou, from my perspective as a historian of early imperial China. I had a wonderful time. Not only was I impressed by the generosity, openness, and professionalism of the administrators, faculty members and students that I met at Shantou University, my stay on campus allowed me to utilize the holdings at the library, particularly the special collection on Chao Shan local history. As a historian, it was a real treat to travel around in the area and observe. There were landscapes and weather patterns (both real factors in any historical development, experiencing them makes it easier, for example, to imagine what it might have meant for Qin and Han armies and early settlers to cross into Ling Nan); specific sites dating from the early imperial period or slightly later; several fantastic musea housing objects particular to Guangdong history; the distinct local characteristics of the Chao Shan area, maintained and preserved in a way that is rather unique within the context of modern China; and, last but not least, the unbelievable commercial energy of the region (or certain parts of it), as evidenced in the employment plans of the students I talked to, general economic development, etc. This latter aspect was of particular interest to me, as, also in the early imperial period the region was known for its commerce and trade, and already served as a gateway to the rest of the world.

2015-16 recipients

Renzhong (Bill) Wang, Faculty Lecturer, Department of East Asian Studies

E-learning Chinese in different contexts: a comparative perspective

This proposed project aims to initiate scholarly discussions and research collaborations between Chinese professors at McGill University and Shantou University to examine the impact and implications of the internet and multimedia applications in the context of teaching and learning Chinese at the two institutions. A comparative approach will be employed to look at the following common issues:

  1. Current state and level of multimedia application and internet use in the context of teaching and learning Chinese.
  2. How multimedia technologies and internet have been changing Chinese curriculum, course design, lesson planning, classroom strategies, student performance assessments.
  3. Students’ response and feedback with regard to integrating multimedia applications and internet into Chinese courses.
  4. Teachers’ understanding of advantages and limitations of multimedia technology and internet applications in the context of teaching and learning Chinese.
  5. Teachers’ understanding of the potentials and implications of internet and multimedia technologies for teaching and learning Chinese.
  6. Pedagogical considerations for using the internet and multimedia applications in the Chinese classroom.
  7. Understanding of such popular teaching theories and approaches as student-centered approach, constructivist approach and task-based instruction, in view of the e-learning environment for Chinese language.
  8. How e-learning environment enriches the student’s learning experience and enhances his/her progress.

Professor Antonia Maioni, Department of Political Science

Professor Maioni’s research projects are in the area of comparative health systems, more specifically in uncovering the explanatory factors that lead countries to adopt health policies that lead to significant health reform. The domain of this expertise is both at the national and sub-national level.  Given the current level of activity and interest in the reform of health care systems in East Asia -- particularly across China – her interest is in cross-national comparisons and the development of health reform and policy.  Professor Maioni visited Shantou University in early May 2016.

2014-15 recipients

Professor Fiona Ritchie (Department of English)

Project summary: The study of Chinese Shakespeare has been an important area of growth in scholarship on the English-speaking world’s leading dramatist in recent years. This began with a conference hosted by the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 1998 entitled “Shakespeare in Chinese Perspectives and Performances”, which inspired a variety of scholarly projects. Websites such as “Shakespeare in China” (hosted by Stanford University) and the “Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive” make available metadata, video footage and commentary on several key productions of Shakespeare in China, synergising the field of Asian Shakespeare intercultural performance studies.1 In terms of published scholarship, Alexander C. Y. Huang’s Chinese Shakespeare: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange demonstrates how, since 1839, the ideas of Shakespeare have inspired important work in the literature, theatre and cinema of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This wealth of scholarly and popular interest demonstrates the importance of research into Shakespeare and China.  During my time at Shantou University, I will research Tian Qinxin’s production of Romeo and Juliet which was staged in Hong Kong and Beijing earlier in 2014 to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. What is particularly interesting to me about this project is the director’s aim to adapt the play for a Chinese audience, rather than offering a conventional staging of Shakespeare.  I will write an article that uses this production as a case study to better understand what Shakespeare adaptation might look like from a Chinese perspective. This work will help to further current scholarship that seeks to theorise the adaptation and appropriation of Shakespeare and develop a set of methodologies for the study of this subject.

Professor Juan Wang (Department of Political Science)

Project summary: My research so far has focused on China’s local politics with issues ranging from fiscal policies, religious policies, environmental policies, to social control. While approaching these issues through the dominant theory of rational choice, I have increasingly become aware of the importance of historical legacy. For example, my recent project on varying local policies on religion revealed that the contemporary history of central-local relations has shaped the behavioral boundary within which local governments rationally engage with religion. This led me to think more about the extent to which and ways in which history plays roles in current Chinese politics and local dynamics. My current project is related to the interplay between material rationality and historically constructed behavioral and ideational patterns, and its impact on the making and implementation of local legislations in China.

I will work closely with faculty members at Shantou University on two issues in particular: the role of contemporary history in the current relationship among the government, the legislature and the judiciary and the role of local politics. More specially, I will focus on how land law and environmental protection law have shaped local dynamics of state-society relations, and how their selective implementations reflect the relationship among local governments (the executive), local People’s Congress (the legislature), local courts (the judiciary), and local public security bureaus (the implementing bodies).

Juan Wang
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