China, Humanities, and Global Studies (CHAGS)

CROSS-FACULTY RESEARCH HUB (with Arts Faculty/humanities base)


How can we understand the global ‘new times’ by way of thinking through the realities of contemporary China?

Welcome to the webpage for the research hub and virtual center, China, Humanities, and Global Studies (CHAGS). It exists to foster the inter-disciplinary, theoretically-informed study of the global conjuncture, one that so powerfully and self-evidently features the impacts and potentials of a rising China since the 1970s, as well as the “second handover” of Hong Kong as it enters a new era of integration with the mainland. It is based in the Arts Faculty, but welcomes humanities scholars working in the social sciences. By ‘global conjuncture,’ we refer to the specific ensemble of cultural, economic, and social forces that make up our given period or ‘moment’ of the global situation, as well as its political outcomes and new realities. What is China’s and Hong Kong’s place in this, and in what ways?

This hub supplements and complements the valuable empirical, area-based, quantitative, policy, and other work on China, Hong Kong, Asia, and globalization being done at HKU. It seeks to produce and support humanistic, interpretive, and reflective work that builds on concrete and contextualized studies yet aspires to a more global reach.

This hub was also created – it is important to note -- to develop and enhance our professional and intellectual ties with mainland-based scholars and programs that, likewise, are working on the complex, urgent, and fascinating questions subtending China in/and globalization and the new conjuncture.

This hub takes the new times we live in seriously, beginning with the rise of China and the era of de-colonization, as well as the aftermath of the Soviet interregnum and thence the relative decline of the traditional Western powers, including their command of the media and knowledge-production. But the question remains as to how best to describe and understand the new global conjuncture or theatre. And how should we interpret and evaluate or theorize this new global and geo-political reality? This period is in flux even as it is also crisis-ridden. It behooves us to support and foster work, in the SAR and the mainland, that attempts to describe and know the distinctive shape of this new conjuncture in any of its concrete aspects. This is precisely the purpose of the hub and its future activities. And it is, as well, the traditional role and function of the humanities, criticism, and the interpretive social sciences.

Where else but Hong Kong and HKU for this task?


The CHAGS Hub is directed by Prof. Daniel F. Vukovich (School of Humanities and Chair of Comparative Literature), in consultation with an advisory board of Hong Kong University professors in the humanities broadly defined. All faculty members with shared interests are welcome to join the activities of the hub as well as share ideas and suggestions for events, activities, and initiatives.

Research Themes:

The hub will be gently organized around several research themes and projects within the rubric of China, the humanities, and global studies. These projects will be led by renowned scholars alongside dedicated researchers and earlier career faculty.

  • On the Conjuncture: The World in/and China
  • Tradition and Contemporary China
  • Borders, Identities, Citizens
  • Global Culture and Global China

Advisory Board, HKU: (May 2024):

Prof. Daniel Vukovich, Director

Prof. Song Geng, School of Chinese

Prof. Daniel Bell, Faculty of Law

Prof. Loretta Kim, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Prof. Enze Han, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences

Prof. David Palmer, Department of Sociology and Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS)

Advisory Board (China):



As a way to kickstart and launch this hub, and to foster dialogue about its plans and purposes, the Faculty is sponsoring a workshop on May 21, 2024, entitled “China, Humanities, and Global Studies: Towards the Conjuncture.” 

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Time:  9:00 am to 6:15 pm (Hong Kong Time)
Venue:  Room 436, 4/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, The University of Hong Kong

Face-to-face mode only. All are welcome. Registration is required.

Workshop hosted by the Faculty of Arts, and cosponsored by the Louis Cha Fund and the Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures at the University of Hong Kong.


For a brief overview of the Workshop and speaker bios, click here.