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Sinologie in Würzburg

Chair of East Asian Cultural History

Educational Focus

The Bachelor’s programme 'Modern China' offers students a basic introduction into a variety of macro-historical trends in modern Chinese society, culture and economy. The programme structure consists of a modularized and accredited curriculum over six semesters.

The Master's programme 'Chinese Studies' leaves much of the study contents to the individual choices of admitted students. Specific contents relate to the overriding areas 'Contemporary Policy in Transformation', 'State Legitimacy and Intellectual Discourse in the Contemporary PRC', 'Consumption, Lifestyle and Everyday Life in Contemporary China', 'From the Late Tang Dynasty to Early Yuan Dynasty (800 to 1300 A.D.): Heritage and Innovation in an Epoch of Societal and Cultural Transformation', 'The Environmental History of China', 'Historical Folklore in the PRC' and 'The Military History of China'.

Staff Members' Fields of Work

  • Political history and current social developments
  • Cultural history
  • Cultural modernism
  • Architecture
  • Economic and Social History (including marginalized groups and societal minorities; history of social welfare and migration)
  • Environment (environmental history and management of natural disasters)
  • Epistemological history
  • Historiography and regional descriptions
  • History of science and technology
  • Archeology

Areas of Study

Modern China

Since the 1980s, China’s global importance has increased in political, economic, scientific and cultural terms. Given present conditions, it is to be expected that this trend will continue in the future. In light of this continued development and rising interests among students on questions concerning contemporary China, more in-depth content offerings are provided, in particular in the Bachelor's programme 'Modern China' (B.A.) and the language course 'Chinese for Economists'.

The Bachelor's degree 'Modern China' is organized around a set curriculum with various lectures and seminars on different aspects of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Among these lectures and seminars are courses on contemporary history, politics, economics, culture, media and society.

Archaeology and Material Culture

Archaeological discoveries over the last decades have significantly changed the picture of modern Chinese history. Important finds complement the significant treasure trove of written sources, in particular in the field of early Chinese history. The central role of archaeology for historical research (historiography and biography) is reflected in the courses on offer, in the research conducted and in the library's collection. The finds from archaeological excavations and the excavations themselves also provide insights into material culture; insights that are often overlooked in the written tradition (everyday life, customs and transmitted traditions).

History of Technology and Science

For thousands of years, China has possessed mature technologies in many areas, such as construction, transport and hydraulic engineering, hydraulic engines, paper production, silk manufacture or the creation of consumer goods. The education provided and research conducted at the Sinology department in Würzburg places strong emphasis on this rich history of technological development in China.

Social History

In addition to macro-historical representations, which serve as a basic introduction, deeper inquiries into stratification, minorities, agricultural history, the history of everyday life and migration, the history of social welfare, as well as the theory and practice of coping with natural disasters are also part of the course programme in Würzburg.

Religion and Philosophy

China has produced a distinct understanding of religion and philosophical thought. Any study of Chinese text sources or Chinese art must therefore also include treatment of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. Reading exercises and seminars are designed to give students an insight into the diversity of Chinese traditions.