Suzhou Project

Department of China Studies

The Suzhou Project is a collective research project organised by the Department of China Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. It aims to bring academic staff from different departments at XJTLU together and to develop research initiatives and activities, with a particular focus on Suzhou, from a multi-disciplinary approach.

This research-oriented project is paired up with Suzhou language classes, also organised by the Department. It runs through one semester of each academic year and there is a specified research theme for each semester. Through collective research activities, Suzhou Project will develop understandings of Suzhou from historical and comparative perspectives. The weekly arrangements and reading materials will be circulated one week in advance.

If you would like to participate, please contact Beibei Tang on [email protected]n.


Starting in week three of semester two (academic year 2015/16). Every fortnight for six sessions in total - weeks three, five, seven, nine, 11, 13. One and a half hours to two hours each session, on Saturday afternoon.


In semester two, 2015/16, the project's theme is 'Suzhou as the Field Site: Change and Development'. It builds on XJTLU academic staff's individual research interests in Suzhou and explores the key features of Suzhou as their research focus and site. Suzhou, like many other cities in China, has gone through significant economic, social, administrative and spatial transformations since China's economic reforms. What are the distinctive changes of Suzhou? How did those change take place? In what way and to what extent those mechanisms have shaped Suzhou's development as observed today? How to understand and interpret those dynamics in a national and global context? What implications do they have for disciplinary research as well as area studies? Suzhou Project will investigate these questions through collective research activities in this semester.


Academic staff from XJTLU who are carrying out research projects in Suzhou, who are planning Suzhou-related research, and who are interested in research about Suzhou from historical and comparative perspectives.


Tea houses in Suzhou old town. Room P515, Public Building at XJTLU.


Week three Introducing your research in Suzhou (Why Suzhou? What have you done and what are you planning to do in Suzhou?)
Reading group one: Ping Jiang Lu
Week fiveResearch project presentation one: Living bank in Suzhou Industrial Park (Ying Chang)
Week sevenField trip one: Gardens in Suzhou (with an invited Dongwu culture expert from Suzhou University)
Week nineReading group two: Urbanisation of Suzhou
Week 11 Research project presentation two: Neighborhood deliberation and governance in Suzhou (Cheung, Chang and Tang)
Week 13Field trip two: Tong Li and Wu Jiang (with an invited tour guide).