Call for Applications - University of Chicago/Getty Dissertation Workshop in Chinese Art History

Date: From May 7, 2018 (Monday) to May 13, 2018 (Sunday)

Call for Applications

University of Chicago/Getty Dissertation Workshop in Chinese Art History


The Department of Art History at the University of Chicago is seeking applications from doctoral candidates in Chinese art history from the United States, Europe, and Asia for its first University of Chicago/GettyDissertation Workshop in Chinese Art History, funded by the Getty Foundation as part of its “Connecting Art Histories” initiative.


This is the first of four 12-day workshops hosted biannually on the University of Chicago campus and the University’s Center in Beijing during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years. The program seeks to nurture a generation of historians of Chinese art across historical eras and media in an intellectual environment that crosses continental, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries. To that end, the workshops provide an opportunity for advanced graduate students in Chinese art history from different institutions and countries to share their dissertation projects, discuss different methodologies and scholarships, hone their research and writing skills, and connect with senior experts in the field. The workshops will entail presentations of dissertation projects; intense discussion of their content, purpose, and method; and explorations of the state of the field, key texts, and research methods. Related programming for the workshops will include visits to museums, exhibitions, archives, architectural sites, private collections, and/or other art spaces. There will also be time for students to pursue specific, individual dissertation research in local libraries, archives, and collections. The cohort emerging from each workshop is encouraged to cultivate ongoing exchange and collaborations. Each workshop will be led by one senior Chinese art historian. Additional Chinese art specialists will be invited for each workshop to present on selected topics and provide additional feedback on participants’ dissertations. 


Led by Martin Powers, Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures in the Department of Art History at the University of Michigan, the first University of Chicago/Getty Dissertation Workshop in Chinese Art History will take place at the University of Chicago from August 20 – September 1, 2018 (with travel to/from Chicago on August 19 and September 2). Student participants should have ABD (All But Dissertation status), or equivalent, and be in the research or early writing phase of their doctoral work at the time of the workshop. All participant dissertation proposals will be circulated for close reading by the other participants before the workshop begins. During the workshop, participants will be asked to comment on each other’s projects that may include a range of perhaps unfamiliar topics, consider and test divergent methodologies, and think critically about their projects in historical and historiographical terms. All participants will also be asked to improve their proposals based on the comments and other related discussions during the workshop. English will be the primary teaching language of this workshop, but ideally, all workshop participants should be able to communicate in English and Chinese (Mandarin).


The distinct global profile of the University of Chicago’s Department of Art History provides opportunities for fertile scholarly connections for workshop participants based outside of Chicago. The department is home to three full-time tenured faculty members and one regular postdoctoral position in East Asian art history, as well as the Center for the Art of East Asia. During the workshop, participants will have full access to the University of Chicago library’s extensive holdings in East Asian art history, including its East Asian Art Reading Room, a space with open-shelf access to a collection of rare East Asian art books and manuscripts grown over the course of more than eighty years of Chinese art history research and teaching at the University. The workshop will also take full advantage of the city of Chicago’s position as one of the centers for Chinese art history in the United States, with stellar Chinese art collections and curatorial staff at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History; exquisite private collections; and multiple scholars in varied fields of Chinese studies at other local universities.



Applications for the University of Chicago/Getty Dissertation Workshop in Chinese Art History are due via email to on Sunday, May 13, 2018 CST. Award notifications will be sent in early June. Applicants may be interviewed via Skype.



Applicants should specialize in any area of Chinese art history or visual and material culture, be ABD (All But Dissertation status), or equivalent, at the time of application, and still be in the research or early writing phase of their dissertation work. Fluency in English is required and an advanced level of Chinese (Mandarin) is preferred.



Roundtrip airfare or trains, lodging, shared meals, local transportation, site admissions, UChicago library access, and visa fees are covered for workshop participants. Each student will also receive a $50 allowance toward book purchases.



Please note: application materials may be shared with the Getty Foundation as part of the review and selection process. All application materials should be composed in English.

  1. Application form (attached)
  2. Statement of Interest (2 page maximum) explaining the value of this workshop for applicant’s future scholarship and career path, noting how your research and previous experience would contribute to the objectives of the workshop
  3. Statement of dissertation work completed thus far and schedule of work to be completed after the workshop (2 page maximum)
  4. Dissertation proposal (2 page maximum)
  5. One writing sample that could be a dissertation chapter, a published essay, or a polished seminar paper
  6. CV (including grants received and their sources, foreign language competence, teaching experience, any past museum/gallery experience) 
  7. Two recommendation letters; one from the applicant’s advisor and one from another member of the applicant’s dissertation committee 
  8. Letter of support from the applicant’s department indicating that the student is in good academic standing and has the appropriate language proficiency
  9. TOEFL or IELTS scores, if available