James Lee, Bamboo Ren, and Chen Liang Publish an Updated Version of their 2020 China Quarterly Article “Meritocracy and the Making of the Chinese Academe, 1912-1952”

Cover of Khanna and Szonyi’s edited volume Making Meritocracy

In “Meritocracy and the Making of the Chinese Academe Redux, 1912-1952”, a chapter in the new Oxford University Press volume edited by Michael Szonyi and Tarun Khanna Making Meritocracy: Lessons from China and India, from antiquity to the present, James Lee, Bamboo Y. Ren, and Chen Liang update the figures, maps, tables and related text from their earlier China Quarterly article to include domestic student data from five additional Chinese universities as well as data on many more overseas Chinese students from foreign universities.

Web page for Making Meritocracy at Oxford University Press

Full reference:

Lee, James, Bamboo Y. Ren, and Chen Liang. 2022. Meritocracy and the Making of the Chinese Academe Redux, 1912-1952. In Michael Szonyi and Tarun Khanna, eds. Making Meritocracy: Lessons from China and India. Oxford University Press, 137-169.

HKUST colleague Lawrence Zhang contributed a chapter to the same volume:

Sheth, Sudev and and Lawrence L. C. Zhang. 2022. “Meritocracy in Early Modern Asia: Qing China and Mughal India.”  In Michael Szonyi and Tarun Khanna. Eds. 2022. Making Meritocracy: Lessons from China and India, from Antiquity to the Present, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 85-117.

Bamboo Ren, Chen Liang, and James Lee publish new article in China Quarterly on “Meritocracy and the Making of the Chinese Academe, 1912-1952” using the CUSD-ROC, CUSD-OS, and CPOD-UE

This article takes advantage of three new big historical datasets to identify four salient features of the Chinese academe during the Republic of China. First, it was highly international in terms of training. Second, the proportion of female students was unexpectedly large. Third, there was a heavy emphasis on STEM subjects. Finally, the social and spatial origins of China’s university students and university faculty members changed from a national population of civil servant families to business and professional families largely from Jiangnan and the Pearl River Delta. The datasets are the China University Student Dataset – Republic of China, which includes almost half of all students to graduate from a Chinese university during the first half of the 20th century; the China University Student Dataset – Overseas, which includes the vast majority of all Chinese students to graduate from an North American, European or Japanese university during this same period; and the China Professional Occupation – University Employee Dataset, which includes almost all university faculty members in China, 1941–1950. The China University Student Datasets are described in detail here.

Here is a link to the paper at the China Quarterly page:



Beijing Science Press publishes Liang Chen’s new book on Republican-era Tsinghua University faculty and staff

Liang Chen’s new book A Study of the Living Standards and Social Structures of Faculty and Staff in Republic of China: Focusing on Tsinghua Campus was published in November 2020 by Beijing Science Press. Publication was supported by funding from the National Social Science Foundation.

The book systematically examines the numbers, work, family patterns, living standards, social status, and educational attainment of every category of Republican-era university employees through a case study of the Tsinghua campus.  According to the results, from the perspective of living standards there were multiple strata in campus society. The income disparity between faculty, staff, and other groups was large. This created a structure in which differences were stark. Stratification in the “Tsinghua campus” was ostensibly reasonable, in principle based on position or title and the level of education.  However, underpinning this structure were inequalities in access to education by wealth and geography origin associated with the general acceptance of the “Western learning” model of education and commensurate reduction in the role of education in social integration.

Here is the book page at Douban.

梁晨新著《民国大学教职员工生活水平与生活结构研究:以清华为中心》(A Study of the Living Standards and Social Structures of Faculty and Staff in Republic of China: Focusing on Tsinghua Campus)于2020年11月,在北京科学出版社出版。该书为“国家社科基金后期资助项目”,主要内容是对以“清华园”为代表的民国大学校园中各类从业群体的工作性质、人口数量、家庭规模、生活水平、社会地位以及教育获得的系统梳理和相关关系分析。分析发现“清华园”这样的校园社会中,以生活水平为标准,存在着多个阶层,教职员工各职业群体间的经济收


<民国上海大学生社会来源量化研究,1913-1949> wins a prize

As part of their 2020 biennial competition, the Jiangsu academe awarded Chen Liang, Bamboo Yunzhu Ren, Yuqian Wang, James Z. Lee,  2017, <民国上海大学生社会来源量化研究,1913-1949>,  《历史研究》(Historical Research) 第三期 (May): 76-92,  a second prize (二等奖) for Outstanding Achievement in Philosophy and Social Science. This is the third publication by the Lee-Campbell Group to receive such recognition from the Jiangsu academe.  For full text please follow this link.

Here is the official announcement.


PRC Ministry of Education awards Lee-Campbell Group article an Excellent Research Achievement Award

The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China awarded Chen Liang, Hao Dong, James Z. Lee, 2015,  <量化数据库与历史研究> (Big Historical Data and New Directions in Historical Research) 《历史研究》(Historical Research). Vol 2 (April 2015): 113-128 a 优秀青年成果奖 (Excellent Young Scholar Research Achievement Prize). This is the eighth triennial Excellent Research Achievement Award competition and the first to distinguish young scholars, below age 40, from more senior scholars.  Altogether 11 history publications, including nine books and only two articles, received this recognition.

Here is the official announcement at the PRC Ministry of Education website.

《江山代有才人出,各领风骚数十年:中国精英教育四段论,1865-2014》wins a prize

The Jiangsu Academy of Social Science awarded 梁 晨 (Chen LIANG), 董浩(Hao DONG), 任韵竹 (Bamboo Y. REN), 李中清 (James Z. Lee).《江山代有才人出,各领风骚数十年:中国精英教育四段论,1865-2014》. 《社会学研究》第三期(May/June): 48-70, a 2017 third prize (三等奖) for Outstanding Achievement in Philosophy and Social Science. This is the second such recognition in the last five years by the Jiangsu Academy of Lee Campbell Research Group scholarship and our tenth best book, best article, or choice award from a scholarly organization.

Liang Chen named a 2019 青年拔尖人才 Outstanding Young Talent

Liang Chen was named a 2019 青年拔尖人才 Outstanding Young Talent.  Outstanding Young Talents are Chinese scholars under the age of 40 from the natural and applied sciences, humanities, social sciences, and creative arts whose academic achievements already demonstrate outstanding creativity and social impact.

The Young Talents program was established in 2012. Approximately 200 Young Talents are named each year according to a rigorous nomination and selection process similar to those for Young Thousand Talents 青年千人 and Young Changjiang Scholars 青年长江 .