Penn Launches Center for the Study of Contemporary China

PHILADELPHIA -- University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Rebecca Bushnell are pleased to announce the launch of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China.  Housed in the School of Arts and Sciences and serving the entire University, the new Center is designed to advance Penn’s leadership in programs, research, and scholarship about China.

The Center will focus on the political, legal, economic and social factors shaping China and its role in the world today.  It will serve as an important hub to facilitate cross-School initiatives and collaboration, provide support for faculty and graduate student research and sponsor conferences, roundtables and visits from major international scholars and world leaders.  

"The Center for the Study of Contemporary China helps position Penn as a world leader in the study of China,” Gutmann said.  “In addition to the collaboration across disciplines that it will foster for faculty, it will be an enormous asset for our students, allowing them to research and discern the myriad forces shaping modern China."

Penn has approximately 40 formal partnerships with 16 institutions in China.  Nearly 100 Penn faculty maintain active research projects, and a number of Penn programs engage in work in China or in China-related ventures.  China is the leading country of origin for Penn’s international students, with more than 1,300 graduate and undergraduate students representing more than 25 percent of all international students enrolled at the University in the fall of 2011.  More than 200 Penn students per year earn credit for work in China in semester-abroad programs, intensive summer Chinese-language programs and faculty-led studios abroad. 

“Penn’s engagement with China is a vital part of our commitment to global research,” Price said.  “This new Center will advance the understanding of China around the world, from the perspective of one of Penn’s distinctive intellectual strengths: the cross-campus, cross-disciplinary integration of knowledge.” 

Avery Goldstein, David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations and Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, will serve as the Center’s inaugural faculty director. 

“The School of Arts and Sciences takes great pride in its academic resources on China,” Bushnell said, “and looks forward to partnering with others across Penn to make this Center a dynamic new vehicle for promoting scholarship on this very important country.”

The Center will be governed by an Executive Committee that includes the faculty director, faculty members from participating Schools, the senior vice provost for research and the director of the Center for East Asian Studies.