SHAPS cements relationship with Nanjing University

May 14 / 135

Professor Trevor Burnard (left) and his Nanjing counterpart Professor Chen Qianping (right) signed an informal agreement for shared activities in 2014-18.
Professor Trevor Burnard (left) and his Nanjing counterpart Professor Chen Qianping (right) signed an informal agreement for shared activities in 2014-18.

Academic staff from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) have visited the History Department of Nanjing University to strengthen ties with the institution.

Professor and Head of School Trevor Burnard travelled to Nanjing with colleagues Professor Antonia Finnane and Professor David Goodman to confirm arrangements for a series of academic activities originally proposed during a visit by their Nanjing counterparts to Melbourne last year. 

Professor Burnard and Professor Chen Qianping, who heads the Nanjing Department of History, signed an informal agreement between the two departments, outlining plans for collaborative activities from 2014-18.

These include an undergraduate subject on comparative urban history to be taught as an overseas intensive by University of Melbourne staff on the Nanjing campus, a lecture series delivered by Melbourne historians as part of Nanjing’s general education program, and academic workshops to be held in Melbourne with staff and postgraduate students from both universities, starting in late 2014.

The University has a long-standing Memorandum of Understanding with Nanjing to collaborate with the prestigious university on research and teaching.

Professor Finnane said the trip had been highly productive.  

“For success in research and teaching, the University needs to be a citizen of the world.  Partnerships are an important means of cultivating this role,” she said.  

“SHAPS is responding to the University and Faculty's desire for closer engagement with Asia in general, and China in particular.”

Professor Finnane was a student at Nanjing University in 1977. She said she has spent many years forging links between the Nanjing and Melbourne history faculties.

“Within SHAPS, history has a well-established interest in China, going back to the 1950s when JS (Jack) Gregory, a graduate of the then-history department, went to London to do a PhD in Chinese history,” she said.

The current agreement concludes two years of talks and meetings with their Nanjing counterparts.  

“For me, a major aim was to create a pathway to China for history students who are not China specialists or studying Chinese languages,” Professor Finnane said.

“I hope they will choose to follow it.”

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