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Sinologie in Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Roland Altenburger

Chair of East Asian Cultural History

Roland Altenburger, Dr. phil. Was born in 1964 and has been W3-professor at the Chair of East Asian Cultural History of the University of Würzburg since November 2013.

From 1984, Roland Altenburger studied Sinology, Modern German Literature and German Linguistics at the University of Zurich, which included a year abroad, funded by a scholarship, at the University of Nanjing (PR China). In 1991, he obtained the academic degree 'Lizenziat' in Switzerland. In 1997, he completed his doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy I of the University of Zurich. The topic of his dissertation was: 'Salutations in China around 1750: Sociolinguistic studies on the novel Rulin waishi'. In 2001, Roland Altenburger finished his postdoctoral qualification at the University of Zurich. The title of his thesis was: 'The Sword or the Needle. The Female Knight-Errant (Xia) in Traditional Chinese Fiction'. In 2010, he was appointed titular professor at the University of Zurich.

His employment positions at the East Asian Seminar of the University of Zurich’s Sinology Department include the position of research assistant from 1991 to 1996, senior assistant from 1999 to 2005 and research assistant/lecturer from 2005 to 2012.

Longer periods of research stays abroad include: two years as associate scholar at Harvard University’s East Asian Languages and Civilizations (1996 to 1998); three months as visiting scholar at the Naitonal Central Library Taipei’s Center for Chinese Studies (1998); six weeks as research fellow at Peking University (2010), as well as various shorter stays.

Roland Altenburger has obtained the following scholarships: Post-doctoral scholarship of the Swiss National Science Foundation (1996 to 1998); Research Fellowship, Center for Chinese Studies at the Naitonal Central Library in Taipei (1998), Chinese Culture Research Fellowship of the China Scholarship Council (2010).

From 2007 to 2012 Roland Altenburger was co-editor and China editor of the journal 'Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques'.

Membership in academic associations: Swiss Asia Society (SAG, since 1990, board member since 2007); European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS, since 1992); Association for Asian Studies (AAS, since 1994), German Association of Chinese Studies (DVCS, since 2012).

Roland Altenburger has been co-director of the informal network 'The Yangzhou Club' since 2010.

He is also organizer of the international workshop 'Yangzhou – A Place in Literature: The Local in Chinese Culture from the Late Imperial through the Modern Era' at the University of Zurich (1st to 3rd of September 2011) and the 'International Symposium on Translating Chinese Literature' of the CultureScapes Foundation and East Asian Seminar of the University of Zurich, Museum Rietberg in Zurich on the 12th of November 2010.

Fields of Research and Teaching

  • Cultural and social history of late imperial China, Song to Qing dynasties
  • Narrative and dramatic literature of the late imperial period
  • Literary texts as sources of cultural and social history
  • Gender history
  • Regionalism and regional writing (Yangzhou, Hangzhou)
  • Cultural and social history of school teachers in the Ming and early Qing periods
  • Everyday encyclopaedias of the Ming and Qing periods
  • History of Sinological translation

Publications and lectures

See list of publications and lectures.