Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (IICS)

Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (IICS)

Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (IICS)


The objectives of the Institute are to work with relevant departments at UCC and organisations in Ireland to:

  • Produce an Irish generation who can effectively deal with China in the 21st Century
  • Educate general public and enhance mutual understanding between Ireland and China
  • To promote multi-disciplinary research on contemporary issues in China and Greater China.
  • Implement Irish Government’s ‘Asian Strategy’ and directly and indirectly contribute to the economic development of Ireland
  • Assist the International Education Office to provide educational opportunity for Chinese students and create a Chinese constituency with knowledge of, affection for, and links with Ireland.

Research Areas

The Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (UCC)

Bridging the Eurasian Continent

In June 2006, the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (UCC) was established at University College Cork. It seeks to develop a distinctive research profile and fosters links with partners in Asia, Europe and United States. It offers a range of research degrees including MPhil, PhD and Visiting Scholars programmes, which aim to initiate and develop programmes of social science and humanity-led research on contemporary China. The research areas include:

  1. Politics, regulation and governance in Greater China and the International relations between China, Asia and the West

  2. Human rights, education and society; gender inequality in education, workforce and society; urban and rural and minorities development

  3. Popular culture and language; media and mass communication

  4. Business, management and investment, economic growth dynamics and sustainable development

  5. Globalisation and regionalism

  6. Cultural adaptation and social integration of Chinese students in Irish higher education

  7. Chinese Sport, Asian Sport and Olympic Studies

Other research areas include: political economies of China, Asia, Europe; research on Chinese and Asian community in Ireland; Chinese literature; Asian studies; political, cultural and commercial implications of the Beijing Olympic games.

In conclusion, the IICS co-operates with various departments in UCC and several universities in the UK, Germany, Japan and China to undertake research and publication projects in the above areas. The research interests of its staff will have a major impact on teaching the four new Chinese programmes. A first inaugural conference between 6th and 8th June 2007 will bring together representatives of academia, politics and business to exchange insights into various aspects of China’s modernisation and its significance for Ireland. The IICS has started to bridge the Eurasian gap between China, Ireland and Europe.

Research Areas

Politics, regulation and governance in Greater China and the International relations between China, Asia and the West


China, a rising economic and political superpower, has experienced tremendous changes in her political, social and economic order. Nearly six decades after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1st October 1949, China today hosts one of the last (nominally) communist regimes in the world. Highly trained technocrats preside over a socialist market economy with fantastic economic growth rates, ignoring the old wisdom of markets needing democratic institutions to blossom – or do they? Modern ways of governing and regulation have long replaced the socialist command economy and contribute to an increasing economic convergence between the PRC, the Republic of China on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. These developments, of course, have a tremendous effect on politics and academic research. Therefore, the study of politics, regulation and governance and China’s relations in Asia and with the Western world constitute a major research interest within the Institute of Chinese Studies.

Human rights, education and society; gender inequality in education, workforce and society; urban and rural and minorities development


China’s socio-economic modernisation has stimulated a multi-facetted change in the living conditions, lifestyles, norms and values of the Chinese population. While economic success has opened new opportunities for most Chinese, especially for the well-trained urban middle- and upper classes, those living in poor and remote rural areas are facing the risk of exclusion from China’s economic miracle. Access to education and information, to health care and social services is increasingly discriminatory.

Popular culture and language; media and mass communication


While this trend towards a greater social disparity poses a serious challenge for policy-making, it has contributed to the rise of a new urban culture in China. Chinese painters, sculptors and new-media artists are taking Western arts auctions by storm and are demonstrating the growing self-awareness and the abundance of cultural expressions existing in the former Middle Kingdoms. Some fantastic evidence from the Sigg-Collection is currently on display in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in UCC!

Business, management and investment, economic growth dynamics and sustainable development


China’s economic success substantially rests on entrepreneurial innovations and her attractiveness for foreign capital. Therefore, studying the art of Chinese business, learning about the specifics of investing in China and analysing the dynamics behind of China’s growth policies is a natural priority for the IICS. Issues of innovation and technological efficiency become more urgent with regard to the accelerating destruction and consumption of China’s natural resources and the impact the Chinese use of energy has on the world climate – and the prices for oil, gas and steel.

Globalisation and regionalism


How to deal with these effects of China’s economic miracle? Politically, various attempts to contain the self-assertive policies of the Chinese government have failed. Therefore, regional and global engagement seems to be the only political strategy to come to terms with the new superpower.

Cultural adaptation and social integration of Chinese students in Irish higher education


This research will use cultural communication and sociological theories to analyse Chinese students studying in Irish universities. It will examine issues including a range of some linguistic barriers, culture shock and social adaptation.

Chinese Sport, Asian Sport and Olympic Studies


Sport has become more than a simple physical expression of game. It now pervades all societies at all levels and has become bound up in nationalism, patriotism and globalism. It has infiltrated all areas of modern life and it relates to politics, economy, ideology, religion, class and gender. The study of sport is a study of power, stratification, mobility and inequality.

Eric Hobsbawm once called sport one of the most significant practices of the late nineteenth century. Its significance was even more marked in the late twentieth century and will continue to grow as one of the most significant manifestations of the twenty-first century.

The IICS has a strong academic tradition of sports studies. It has published three books in 2007 by Routledge including:

  1. Sport, Nationalism and Orientalism: the Asian Games edited by Fan Hong
  2. Modern Sport: the Global Obsession, edited by Boria Majumdar and Fan Hong
  3. Doping in Sport: the Global Issue, edited by Angela Schneider and Fan Hong

In addition, Fan Hong is an editor and Huan Xiong is a book review editor of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

The IICS is currently undertaking the following major sports related research projects:

Beijing 2008: Sports in the Middle Kingdom

The 2008 Olympics will be an ideal opportunity for the millions of people around the world who will watch and attend the Olympics in Beijing to learn about Chinese history, culture and customs. This guide to the Beijing Olympics is written by Chinese and Western experts and is presented in a lively popular style. It will be an enduring work that will be of value and interest long after the Olympics. This book is edited by Fan Hong and members of the IICS have contributed to this book. It will be published by Berkshire Publisher Group (USA) and Beijing Olympic Publisher Group in 2007 in both English and Chinese.

The Human Capital Legacy of Organising Committees of Olympic Games (OCOGs)

The concern with the ‘legacy’ of the Olympic Games has grown significantly over the last two decades. The focus of legacy studies has been predominantly physical, in terms of sporting facilities and general urban infrastructure. This research proposes a longitudinal study across four editions of the Games (two Winter and two Summer Olympic Games) to identify, track and evaluate the process and benefits of the human capital which is developed in the operation of the OCOGs for those Games. The IICS co-operates with the Centre for Olympic Studies and Research at Loughborough University and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to undertake this research project. The result of the research will be presented to the IOC and published as a book in due course.

The Olympic Movement in the 21st Century

This research project is funded by the China Social Science Research Foundation and led by Fan Hong and Zhou Xikuan. It aims to analyze the prospect for the Olympic Games in the 21st century. The research covers areas in relation to the theories of Olympic Studies, the reformation of Olympic Committee internationally and nationally, the commercial issues in Olympic Games, mass media and communication in Olympic Games, women and the Olympic Movement and doping in the Olympic Games. Eleven researchers from the IICS and Chinese universities participate in this research. The research results will be published in Chinese by the Higher Education Press in Beijing.

The Orientalisation of the Olympic Games: the Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing Games

All three of Asian case studies represent countries which sought to illustrate their political maturity and to demonstrate their cultural significance in global terms by bidding to host the world’s biggest cultural festival - the Summer Olympic Games. This book seeks to evaluate this phenomenon and the context of three of only four Summer Games to take place outside the West. The research locates the bidding and staging of the three Asian Olympics within the broader context of the Olympic movement in the changing world order from 1945-2008. It seeks to evaluate this context and the circumstances surrounding Asian editions of the Games in the context of both ‘traditional’ theoretical models of modernization, dependency theory, and cultural imperialism, and engages also in contemporary debates from post-colonial theory’s emphasis on ‘Orientalism’ (and its counterpart in Occidentalism), and post-modern theoretical accounts. The IICS cooperates with the Centre for Olympic Studies and Research at Loughborough University and Tokyo University to undertake this research.

Urbanization, Gender Inequality and Women’s Sport in the Post Mao Era

Since the 1980s the Chinese market economy has taken the place of a planned economy and led China into a new era of urbanisation. Chinese women, who make up about half of the total population, have been influenced by urbanisation. This research will focus on the changes of the urban life, gender relations and women’s sport since the 1980s.

Elite Sport in China: Politics, Policies and Systems

Since the 1980s China’s political leadership has been dedicated to establishing the nation as a sporting superpower, as measured through the international competitive success of its elite athletes. This research examines the unique elite sports system in China which has systematically produced sports starts from very young age in the context of politics, ideology, policies and practice.

On the Rights to Sport

This research focuses on sport and rights including sport for all; sport and welfare rights; athletes’ rights; role of the EU and rights to access sport via media and equal rights to sport (women, disabled and aging).

A comparative Study on the Olympic Education programmes between Greece, China and Britain

This research project is in co-operation with South China Normal University and is co-funded by De Montfort University, South China Normal University and UCC.

Research Funds

Chinese Studies Fund for Research and Teaching


The Chinese Studies Fund for Research and Teaching is jointly set up by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science and the College of Business and Law. It aims to promote research on Chinese Studies; to improve the quality of teaching in the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in Chinese Studies in both colleges; and to establish and strengthen international cooperation and a network of research and teaching in Chinese Studies.


The Fund will be managed by the Committee of the Chinese Studies Fund for Research and Teaching which is based in the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies. The Committee is constituted as follows:

  • Chairman: Professor Brian Bocking
  • Secretary: tbc
  • Members: Professor Denis Lucy, Professor David Cox and Professor Neil Collins.


The Committee now invites applications for research projects from full-time academic members of both colleges.


Criteria for eligibility:


  • The proposed projects contribute directly to a higher quality in teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Chinese Studies
  • The proposed projects contain innovative approaches towards China related subjects including culture, history, education, politics, environment, economics, law, social studies and business management.
  • The proposed projects contribute to international cooperation in general and to the cooperation with Chinese researchers and institutions in particular.
  • The proposed projects contribute to raising the international profile of Chinese Studies at UCC.
  • The funding requirement for each project normally does not exceed 1,500 euros.


Application procedure:


An applicant should complete the of the Chinese Studies Fund for Research and Teaching:

Application Form


Application Forms should be submitted to Professor Jackie Sheehan, Director of the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, UCC.


Deadlines for submission of the application forms: 20 May 2013.

Visiting Scholars Programme

  Visiting Scholars Programme


The Visiting Scholars Programme is part of the international collaboration research activity of the Irish National Institute of Chinese Studies at UCC. The Institute welcome Visiting Scholars from Asia, Europe, America (North and South), Australasia and Africa working on aspects of contemporary China.

Visiting Scholars will benefit from working in an intellectually stimulating cross-disciplinary environment.

Visiting Scholars will be provided with shared office space, computer, access to university’s library and institutional resources.

Visiting scholars are welcome to attend and contribute to academic seminars and conferences at the university.

Applications should be addressed to the Director of the Institute.

Applications should provide:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Proposed dates of visit
  • 1-2 page outline of proposed research project
  • Anticipated output including publications, presentations at conferences and public lectures
  • Source of funding for applicant’s visit and research project

Visiting Scholars will be expected to:

  • Collaborate with staff and contribute to the Institute’s broader research and teaching activities
  • Present a seminar to the Institute near the end of their term of residence  
  • Grant the Institute first option of publishing any working papers arising from research undertaken during their visit
  • Acknowledge their term as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Chinese Studies at UCC in any publications resulting from the visit