University of Minnesota Is Awarded CCKF-CHCI Funding for Summer Institute on “Grasping Water”

September 23, 2015—CHCI is pleased to announce the winner of the first CCKF-CHCI award to support a summer institute in Chinese Studies and Global Humanities.  The winning proposal was submitted by the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, directed by Jennifer Gunn.  Entitled “Grasping Water:  Rivers and Human Systems in China, Africa, and North America,” the summer institute will be directed jointly by Professor Ann Waltner of the Department of History, University of Minnesota, and Professor Ruth Mostern, Director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of California-Merced.

The summer institute will take place August 9-12, 2016 at the University of Minnesota.  The proposed schedule includes roundtables on “Ideologies and Rationales,” “Geographies and Hydrologies,” and “Engineers and Empire Builders.” It also includes workshops on river science for humanists, GIS and cartography methods, and online curriculum and digital scholarship planning.  The program includes relevant field trips and film screenings, and participants will receive a list of selected readings prior to attending.  The members of the CHCI selection committee found this plan a refreshing and creative articulation of a workshop; they particularly appreciated the variety of session formats, with priority given to participation of a mix of senior and junior scholars.

The directors of the summer institute are currently confirming speakers and panelists and finalizing the program; we look forward to sharing the program on the CHCI site when it is available.

The response to the CFP was robust, making it especially challenging for the CHCI-CCKF selection committee to make a choice.  The proposals represented a wide array of important topics including literary studies, film studies, digital Chinese studies, and material culture, among others.  All the proposed events were ambitious in scope, thoroughly planned, and highly worthwhile, and the committee expressed the wish to see each proposed event find alternate support and become a reality.   

“We are immensely pleased with the response to this new program,” said CHCI President Srinivas Aravamudan.  “Each proposal covered entirely different intellectual territory, and the winning proposal was especially creative in its response to this exciting opportunity to link Chinese studies and global humanities in new ways.  We are already looking forward to seeing the next crop of proposals.”

The process of discussing the proposals led the committee to an improved articulation of the attributes they would like to see in a summer institute, which is a format some of our Mellon-funded projects are also developing.  Some new suggestions will be reflected in the next CFP for this program, The CFP for the 2017 summer institutes will be announced soon. 

CHCI is grateful to the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCKF) for their support of three summer institutes over three years.  CHCI is providing matching funds.  For further information on this program, click here