Department Of Sociology

The Department of Sociology at Tsinghua University was established in 1926. Many prominent Chinese sociologists in the 20th century, such as Chen Da, Wu Jingchao, Pan Guangdan, Li Jinghan, Fei Xiaotong, and Yuan Fang either taught or studied in the department. The works of the founding fathers of Chinese sociology have become classics and inspired generations of young students. Tsinghua Sociology was unfortunately shut down during the government’s restructuring of college disciplines in 1952. It was not until the year 2000 that the Department was formally reinstalled. Professor Li Qiang, who is also the Dean of the school, was the chairperson of the Department.

Since its restoration, the Department has made great progress in both teaching and research. It has emerged as one of the top sociology programs in China with an international reputation. The Department now offers a full-range curriculum, including undergraduate and graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) programs and research opportunities for postdoctoral associates. The Department has established several research centers: the Research Center on Contemporary China, the Research Center for Gerontology, the Research Center for Medical Sociology, and the China Rural Research Institute. The department has also successfully built two research bases: the Research Platform of “Political, Social, and Legal Disciplines in Transition” and the Creative Research Base for “Social Development and Legal Construction” which host and collaborate with researchers from other disciplines and other institutions.

The Department has 14 full-time faculty members, including eleven professors, two associate professors and one lecturer. The current chair is Dr. Shen Yuan. The associate chairs are Dr. Wang Tianfu and Dr. Jin Jun. The faculty’s specialties of research include urban sociology, medical sociology, sociology of social transition, sociology of law, and social anthropology. The faculty carries out high-impact research projects and has successfully acquired millions in research funds from the central government, various government agencies, international organizations, and foreign foundations. To name a few, the faculty has won numerous awards and recognition for their scholarship, being honored by the Across Century Talent Program of the Ministry of Education, the New Century Talent Program of the Ministry of Education, the Changjiang Scholar Program, and along with being invited to teach in world-class universities such as Stanford University and the University of Chicago.

The Department puts an emphasis on academic exchanges with research institutions worldwide. The Department has established connections with sociology and anthropology departments in Europe and the U.S., including Chicago, Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, Berkeley, and others. In addition, the Department also has frequent contact with counterparts from Japan, Korea, and India. Within the great China circle, the department has regular exchange programs with Tunghai University in Taiwan, Hong Kong Chinese University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The department frequently invites distinguished sociologists to introduce new frontiers in sociological research. Recent visitors include Michael Burawoy, Gao Bai, Gary Gereffi, Lin Nan, James Scott, Michael Sobel, Andrew Walder, E. O. Wright, Zhao Dingxin, and Zhou Xueguang, etc. This has become an important component of the Department’s academic activities.

The Department publishes a series of textbooks called The Tsinghua Sociological Textbook, which is an attempt to publish sociological textbooks written by first-rate scholars and to enhance knowledge exchange with other disciplines. To this end, the Department invites well-established domestic and overseas sociologists to teach a selection of courses in Tsinghua and write a textbook based on their teaching. In collaboration with the prestigious Social Science Documentation Press, four best-selling textbooks have come out so far including Ten Lectures on Organizational Sociology by Zhou Xueguang, Textbook on Social Network Analysis by Luo Jar-der, Textbook on Social and Political Movement by Zhao Dingxin, and Ten Lectures on Social Stratification by Li Qiang.

Zengzi once said, “Intellectuals cannot but be broad-minded and persistent for the heavy responsibilities shouldered and a long course ahead.” Facing various issues of a fast-changing Chinese society, the Department’s two-fold task is to conduct sociological research with practical significance and to equip students with scientific rigor and sociological imagination. The Department aims to tackle the practical issues of China and the globalized world and to make contributions to general sociological theories.