Grad Student Workshop on Texts and Commentaries

First Annual Graduate Student Workshop

“Canonical Texts and Commentaries”

International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures

Renmin University of China

Beijing, June 18th –24th, 2017 

The International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures (ICSATC), hosted at Renmin University of China, develops new perspectives and research opportunities for the study of all aspects of ancient textuality both in China and globally. International and comparative in outlook, it aims to create international research exchanges and collaborations for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and senior scholars.

The Center embraces the detailed study of ancient texts—both transmitted and excavated—alongside the development of new methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives. Located at Renmin University and networking with major institutions in Beijing and across China, the Center’s core is focused on Chinese antiquity. At the same time, the Center aims to engage in cross-cultural, transnational research, integrating the study of ancient Chinese textuality with that of other ancient cultures from around the world. We explicitly encourage, and are eager to facilitate, exchanges on multiple levels across disciplines and civilizations.

The Center is designed as a global interface for the meeting of three new developments in the humanities and social sciences:

  • the dramatic increase in newly excavated Chinese manuscripts and inscriptions over the past decades, which has led the study of Chinese antiquity to unprecedented heights, depth, and breadth at institutions both within and beyond China;
  • the emergence of new global research interests in the comparative study of antiquity, internationally manifest in a number of recently established research centers but also visible in the rapidly growing Chinese academic interest in the ancient world of the Mediterranean and other civilizations;
  • the new global interest in manuscript studies, philology, history of the book, materiality of text, and related subjects that study textual cultures through multiple perspectives and disciplinary approaches.

Toward its goals of integrating these developments in a new research environment, and of creating a new global community of scholars for the study of ancient text cultures, the Center will include the following components:

  • a suite of academic and administrative offices within the School of Classics at Renmin University to accommodate visiting students and scholars from China and around the world, together with the staff to support them;
  • a research library for the primary texts of antiquity and related research publications from around the world and in multiple languages;
  • seminar rooms and lecture halls;
  • fully funded programs for short- and long-term visiting doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, young researchers, and distinguished visiting professors from around the world;
  • biannual week-long teaching workshops for Chinese and international Ph.D. students;
  • regular lectures by local and visiting researchers;
  • research conferences both small and large in scope.

The Center’s first Ph.D. student workshop will be held on June 18th -24th 2017. Four renowned scholars from the fields of Chinese, Greek, and Roman antiquity will present lectures and seminars on specific topics. There also will be student research activities to complement the lectures and seminars. The principal language of instruction and interaction will be English. 


June 18: Arrival and registration

June 19-22: Lectures, seminars, and research activities

June 23: Sightseeing visit of academic interest

June 24: Checkout


Prof. Denis Feeney, Department of Classics, Princeton University

Prof. Glenn W. Most, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa University

Prof. Martin Kern, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University

Prof. Xu Jianwei, School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China

The program will accept thirty Ph.D. students who specialize in the study of ancient Chinese, Greek, or Roman texts studies. Half the number of students will be admitted from Chinese universities, the other half from universities in North America and Europe. Those who have passed their required Ph.D. qualifying examinations and have started writing their dissertations are encouraged to apply.

Room and board will be provided by the Center. In addition, the Center provides every student with a US$500 scholarship. Students are expected to cover their own airfare and ground transportation, hopefully with the assistance from their universities or other scholarships. All necessary visa documentation will be provided by the Center, but visa processing fees will not be covered.

Applications should be sent by May 1, 2017, to




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Please describe in one page or less your current research and/or study plans. Include a discussion of what you hope to gain from participation in the workshop and how participation in the workshop will further your research goals and objectives. 

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