Staff from the University of Exeter and Peking University History Departments at the inaugural Exeter - Peking University Colloquium.

Exeter - Peking University History Research Colloquium inspires intellectual exchange

Seven faculty members led by the Head of Exeter’s History department participated in the inaugural Exeter – Peking University Research Colloquium, on the theme ‘National History in the context of Global History’.

Professor Gao Dai, Vice-Dean of the Graduate School, along with Exeter and Peking University’s Head of History Departments Professor Henry French and Professor Gao Yi, opened proceedings for the prestigious colloquium, containing an extensive fifteen speakers from the two institutions.

Peking University is 5th in the QS Asian University Rankings 2013, ranked 23rd in the world for Arts and Humanities subjects and 46th in the QS World University Rankings 2013. It has also recently moved up to 45th place in The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014.

The Exeter- Peking University Colloquium is the outcome of several exchanges between senior staff at the University of Exeter and Peking University, over the previous two years. The event will broaden the connections between faculty at the two institutions, helping to further establish sustainability, and offer additional opportunities for mobility of Peking University’s large cohort of postgraduate research (PGR) students from Beijing to Exeter. Peking University is considered to be the best university in China for Humanities subjects and their research students will go on to form the next generation of leading scholars in History in China.

Professors Henry French, Simon Barton, Kate Fisher, James Mark, Mark Overton and Drs. Robert Fletcher and David Thackeray all presented papers along with leading academics from Peking University’s Department of History.

Professor French comments, “The Exeter-Peking University Colloquium was held on Tuesday 15th. We were the first foreign visitors to the newly built History department (built in traditional Chinese style). Each person gave a paper, followed by a Q&A session. The Peking University faculty and some postgraduate students remained very engaged and interested throughout, and the quality of each contribution was very high. The faculty are keen to continue the Exeter leg of the Colloquium, and I am going to explore a range of dates in the summer of 2014, potentially in early July. During our visit we also met a number of 1st and 2nd-year PGR students who are keen to come to Exeter, and I hope that this can occur in 2014 or 2015”.

The research Colloquium will enable the beginning of an intellectual exchange between Exeter and Peking University History Departments, offering the chance for Exeter to establish research links and personal connections with a number of faculty members at Peking leading to joint research projects in the future.

Professor French adds, “The ‘bonus’ was Professor Kate Fisher’s link to the Centre for Medical History at Peking University. During the visit, Kate arranged to meet the director of the Centre, having discovered that he was also a historian of Sexology. Before Kate met him, she was asked to open a conference of Chinese Sexologists that was happening on Thursday morning at Peking (with simultaneous translation!). Her meeting with the director was very encouraging, and this contact might provide future links with Medical History and Medical Humanities at Exeter. As on previous visits, Professor Gao Dai, Professor Gao Yi and the History faculty staff made us extremely welcome, with quite lavish hospitality. During the visit we were also able to go to the Great Wall, the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, ensuring that the event was a very memorable one.”

For more information, please visit the Department of History webpages and the Peking University Department of History webpages.

Date: 28 October 2013

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