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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Chinese Studies at the University of Zurich

Chinese Studies at the University of Zurich

At the BA-level, Chinese Studies in Zurich provides training in a broad-ranging spectrum of basic knowledge in the areas of language, literature, history, philosophy, society and media, with reference to the pre-modern and modern periods. Alongside subject-knowledge, foundational theories and methods of research in the humanities are taught. Students should also learn to formulate and work on themes and questions with the help of original-language sources. In the research oriented degree programs (MA, doctorate), the focal points of the two Chairs lie in the following areas:

Chair of Modern China (Prof. Andrea Riemenschnitter)

The focal points of the research of the current Chair include the cultural history of China (late Ming-period tot he present); models of modernity and national identity in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; discourses on modern histories, environment, aesthetics, urbanity, gender, cultural memory and mythology, theories and methods of translation, processes of cultural change and transfer, as well as social, aesthetic and philosophical-ethical question formulation in connection with the modernization of China and the Sinosphere (Greater China and South East Asia) in the wider sense.
The current research projects of the staff at the Chair comprise environmental politics and environmental movements in the PR China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (with the University of Manchester, SOAS, Cheng-chi National University Taipei a.o.); the sociology and history of urban planning; reevaluation of the history of the republican period; as well as projects on literature, theatre and film in the PR China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Chair for Traditional China (Prof. Wolfgang Behr)

Research interests of the Traditional China Chair include the historical linguistics of Classical Chinese, etymology, dialectology, paleography and Sino-Tibetan comparative linguistics, pre-imperial archeology, textual and cultural history, rhetoric, as well as conceptual history and the history of science in premodern China.
Staff at the traditional China chair are currently engaged in research on Chinese philosophy and the history of philosophy, Buddhist logic, epistemology and hermeneutics, historiography, medieval history of religions and edition philology, formal structures of Tang poetry, complex writing systems in China, concepts of space and aesthetic etc.