Advanced Training Programs

Advanced Training Programs

The Advanced Training Program is a recent initiative of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, in which a small group of promising young Asian scholars in particular fields of the humanities and social sciences are selected and brought together either at Harvard or in Asia.

The Training Programs held in Cambridge involve close work with eminent scholars at Harvard and other major universities in the United States. The Training Program visiting scholars and fellows join academic activities organized by the academic community at large. The program aims to increase scholars’ knowledge of new work in their field and to foster collaborative work as a community. Recent training programs held at Harvard University include:

  • Comparative Literature (2008-2010), led by Professor Stephen Owen in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
  • Art History (2010-12), led by Professor Eugene Wang in the Department of History of Art and Architecture
  • Tibetan Studies (2012-14), led by Professor Leonard van der Kuijp in the Department of South Asian Studies
  • Mesoamerican Archaeology (2016-17), led by Professors Rowan Flad and William Fash of the Archaeology Department

The Harvard-Yenching Institute also co-sponsors training programs held in Asia. The programs seek to bring together students and scholars from different disciplines across Asia and beyond to create a new network conducive to collaborative research. As part of the programs, HYI and its co-sponsoring institutions organize a series of lectures (including several by Harvard faculty). Following the conclusion of each training program, a small number of outstanding trainees may be invited to come to the Institute for a one-year research stay during the next academic year.

The Institute’s most recent training programs in Asia include:

  • January 2010 and 2011: Grassroots Society and Popular Culture (Co-sponsored with the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, held in Beijing)
  • June 2010, 2013 and 2014: Urban Studies Training Program (Co-sponsored with East China Normal University; the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences; and New York University, held in Shanghai and Hong Kong)
  • June  2011: Social Stratification and Mobility in China: Urban Migration and Growth of the Middle Class (Co- sponsored with the China Studies Center, University  of Sydney; The Center for Modern China Studies, Nanjing University; and the Department of History, Nanjing University, held in Nanjing)
  • January 2012: Civil Society and Grassroots Politics in New Democracies and Hybrid Regimes (Hungary, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and China) (Co-sponsored with Korea University and the Korean Foundation for Advanced Studies, held in Seoul)
  • January 2012: Historical Materials and Methods: the New Horizon for Research on 1950s China (Co-sponsored with Fudan University, held in Shanghai)
  • June-July 2012: Social Science Approaches to Contemporary Chinese Everyday Life: Family, Education, Religion and Consumption (Co-sponsored with Nanjing University and the University of Sydney, held in Nanjing)
  • June 2014: New Departures in Comparative and World Literature Studies: Themes and Methods (Co-sponsored with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tsinghua University; and the Center for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Tsinghua University, held in Beijing)
  • June 2015: Qualitative Methods in the Study of Chinese Politics: History and Ethnography (Co-sponsored with the School of Government, Nanjing University, held in Nanjing)
  • August 2015 and August 2016: Humanities, Social Sciences and Medicine in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Co-sponsored with the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Medical Humanities and Center for History of Medicine at Peking University, and the Key Research Institute of Social History of China at Nankai University, held in Beijing and Tianjin)
  • June 2016: From Empirical Research to Theorization: Contributions of the Study of China to Political Science and Political Theory (Co-sponsored with the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University, in partnership with the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, and the School of Government, Nanjing University, held in Guangzhou)

Photos and Information on Specific Programs:

2014 - New Departures in Comparative and World Literature Studies: Themes and Methods (比较文学与世界文学研究新方向: 主题与方法)

The Comparative Literature Training Program was sponsored by the Harvard-Yenching Institute, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tsinghua University and the Center for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Tsinghua University. The program was held in June 2014 on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing.

2010 - Urban Studies Training Program

The Urban Studies Training Program was sponsored by the Harvard-Yenching Institute, East China Normal University, the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the New York University. It was held at East China Normal University from June 15-25, 2010. 


2010-2011 - Grassroots Society and Popular Culture

Organized by HYI and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

HYI's second training program, co-organized with CASS, was launched in January 2010 with a focus on grassroots society as it relates to politics, economics, religion and culture. This program emphasizes comparative theories of societal change, structure and conflict and offers instruction in alternative methods of field work. The program brought together Chinese students and scholars from different social science disciplines and approaches to create a new network conducive to collaborative comparative research.

As part of the program, HYI and CASS organized a series of lectures by Professor Martin Whyte (Harvard, Sociology), Grzegorz Ekiert (Harvard, Government), Helen Siu (Yale, Anthropology), Lu Xueyi (Sociology, CASS), Zhang Xiaoshan (Economics, CASS), Zhang Jing (Sociology, PKU), Zhao Shukai (Political Science, Rural Development Center), Zhang Letian (Sociology, Fudan) and Zhou Yi (Sociology, Fudan), which took place January 9-18 in Beijing.

Participants in the Grassroots Training Program with (front row, from left): Dr. Yu, Prof. Zhang, Prof. Siu, Prof. Perry, Dr. Yu and Dr. Li


2008-2010 - Comparative and World Literature Training Program

The first two years of HYI's training program focused on Comparative Literature, led by Professor Stephen Owen in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

2008-09 Comparative & World Literature Training Program Scholars with Professor Steve Owen