Pembroke Center

Nanjing-Brown Joint Program in Gender Studies and the Humanities

The purpose of the Joint Program in Gender Studies and the Humanities is to bring outstanding scholars from Nanjing University into dialogue with Brown scholars about the global future of gender, feminist studies, and the humanities.

Brown University’s initiative to strengthen its international programs includes an exciting research partnership between the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Department of East Asian Studies, and the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Science at Nanjing University. The Institute for Advanced Studies is well-matched as a partner to the Brown programs because it aims to break through traditional disciplinary constraints and to make intellectual connections across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Through faculty and student exchanges and a series of publications, the Nanjing-Brown Program aims to build vital connections between our institutions and foster rigorous and imaginative global critical thinking.

A 2012 conference at Nanjing University.
The 2012 International Conference on Gender Research in Chinese Studies at Nanjing University.

In 2008, the Pembroke Center established, together with the Cogut Institute, the Department of East Asian Studies, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanjing University in China, the Nanjing-Brown Joint Program in Gender and the Humanities. Nanjing University is one of the top five universities in China, boasting a long history and distinguished reputation in social sciences and the humanities.

The Program has prioritized a transnational gender and critical global humanities position, aiming to address both the potential and the problems produced by national policies and capitalist globalization.The fundamental goal of this transnational collaboration is to forge important and concrete alliances among scholars in gender studies and the humanities in China, the United States, and other parts of the world, thereby creating a transnational platform to stimulate dialogues about the global future of gender and the humanities. By situating gender and the humanities in a broader, transnational context, the Nanjing-Brown collaboration encourages the production of new theories and political strategies that take histories of dynamic (re)configuration of the local and the global into primary consideration. The Joint Program advocates translation, in the widest sense of the term, as a critical and reflective enterprise, endorses cross-national/cultural intellectual engagements, and develops strategies for issues arising from different geopolitical locations as well as transnational migrations. Notably, the Program emphasizes the critical importance of gender as an analytical and political category, and the applicability of gendered analysis to interdisciplinary practice in teaching and research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Poster of film festival
The Joint Program enables scholarly and cultural exchange via events and public programming.

Building on Brown’s existing strengths in gender studies, feminist theory, and global humanities, and reaching out to an important geopolitical and economic area in today’s world—East Asia—this U.S.-China collaboration has emerged as a leading platform for groundbreaking research on transnational gender studies and the humanities. The success of the Program has arisen in great part from robust faculty participation from both universities.

A select list of the Program’s activities includes: faculty and student visits between the two universities; ten international conferences, film festivals, and global workshops, which brought hundreds of scholars, artists, filmmakers, and students from over fifty universities in the U.S., China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and Australia to examine critical issues concerning gender, media, the humanities, and modern China; the launch of the Joint Program book series, Gender, Theory and Culture, the first of its kind in Chinese;  publications of five English and Chinese books on transnational cinema, gender studies, and U.S. feminist theories; and a special issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (2013), devoted to Chinese gender and sexualities. In addition, the new Center for Gender Studies and the Humanities, inaugurated in June 2012 at Nanjing University, is a direct outgrowth of the collaboration.