Unit of Chinese Studies
Office (Mon-Fri: 9am - 12am, except Tue: 2 pm - 6pm): Ms Maria-Carmen Pernoud, Dept of East Asian Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Université de Genève, rue De Candolle 2, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland // 3rd fl., room L301, Phone: +41 22 379 7287, Fax +41 22 379 7281 .
In 1972, the Department of History, in the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Geneva, opened a course on Chinese History, taught by Jean-François Billeter. In 1976, the Faculty set up the first programme in Chinese Language, Literature and Civilisation in French-speaking Switzerland. At the national level, the programme was designed to complement the Ostasiatisches Seminar of the University of Zurich (created in 1964). Due to limited resources, however, Chinese Studies could only be elected as a minor and not as a major.
In 1987, the Faculty established a Chair in Chinese Studies, and J.-F. Billeter was appointed to the position. The programme was extended, allowing the students to elect Chinese Studies as a major.
In 1999, Prof. J.-F. Billeter resigned; he was temporarily replaced by Prof. Michael Lackner (1999-2000). In 2001, Prof. Nicolas Zufferey was appointed to the position.
In 2011, the Unit was reinforced by two appointments, with Laure Zhang (Zhang Ning) as Associate Professor and Head of the Unit, and Basile Zimmermann as Assistant Professor and Director of the Confucius Institute of the University of Geneva.
Until 2001, the Unit of Chinese Studies was part of the Department of Mediterranean, Slavonic and Oriental Languages and Literatures (MESLO). In 2011, a separate Department of East Asian Studies (Département d’Etudes Est-Asiatiques, ESTAS) was created, with full programmes in Chinese and Japanese Studies, and a partial programme in Korean Studies. It is one of the most comprehensive East Asian Studies programme in the French-speaking world. The Head of the Department is Prof. Pierre Souyri (Japanese Studies).
Chinese Studies is one of the subjects offered by the Faculty of Humanities. In accordance with the Bologna system, the BA curriculum can be completed in three years (180 ECTS) and the MA curriculum in two additional years (90 or 120 ECTS). The Faculty also accepts Ph.D. students.
At the BA level, the students must choose two majors, for example Chinese Studies and (Western) Philosophy, or Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies. Most courses are taught in French; a good command of Chinese is necessary at the MA level.
The number of students enrolled in Chinese Studies at the BA level generally ranges between 70 and 80 students. In addition, 30 to 40 students are enrolled in the different Master programmes (Chinese Studies, East Asian Studies and MASPEA, see below).
The Unit provides a fully-fledged and polyvalent programme which enables graduates to explore various fields of sinology, from ancient classics to contemporary society. The programmes are organized as follows:
BA in Chinese Studies (180 ECTS)
- 1st year: Modern Chinese I, 6-8 hrs/week; Introduction to Chinese Studies 2 hrs/week; lectures on various topics, 2-3 hrs/week
- 2nd year: Modern Chinese II, 7-8 hrs/week; Introduction to Classical Chinese I, 2 hrs/week; Introduction to Chinese Literature, 3 hrs/week
- 3rd year: Modern Chinese III, 4-6 hrs/week; Introduction to Classical Chinese II, 2 hrs/week; Modern and Contemporary Texts, 2hrs/week; lectures in Asian Studies or another discipline, 3hrs/week
MA in Chinese Studies (90 ECTS)
The students select a combination of different courses to be credited towards 5 modules, including:
- Ancient China and Classical Philology module: 3 hrs/week
- Chinese Language & Translation module: 4 hrs/week
- Contemporary China: Society, Literature & Media module: 3 hrs/week
- Asian Studies module: 3-4 hrs/week
In addition, the students write a research Master dissertation (approx. 80 pages).
MASPEA (Multidisciplinary Master in Asian Studies; 90 ECTS)
The MASPEA is an inter-institutional and multidisciplinary two-year programme in Asian Studies. The programme includes modules in different fields such as the Humanities, the Social and Economic Sciences, International Relations and Development Studies, as well as a language module (Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Hindi). The courses are taught in the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). The students also have the possibility to complete an internship. In addition, they write a research Master dissertation (approx. 80 pages).
MA in East Asian Studies (120 ECTS)
A Master in East Asian Studies with a focus on language and translation (Chinese and Japanese) is to be launched in 2012. More information will follow.
Students interested in undertaking Ph.D. studies should contact one of the professors at the Unit to discuss their project. Once a professor has agreed to supervise the project, the candidate can enroll at the Faculty of Humanities. Currently, the Unit does not offer a specific Ph.D. programme in Chinese Studies, however seminars may be organized on an ad hoc basis.
Chinese Studies for Chinese students
Chinese students are welcome to attend courses and programmes at the Unit of Chinese Studies. The programme can be adapted, with a focus on Chinese to French translation. Similarly to other students at the Faculty of Humanities, Chinese students will also be encouraged to develop analytical and methodological skills, as well as the ability to work independently.
Other related programmes
The Faculty also offers a programme in Japanese Studies, and the neighbouring University of Lausanne teaches a programme in Indian and Buddhist Studies; a rather extensive curriculum in Asian Studies is thus available to interested students.
The Department of East Asian Studies also collaborates with other Institutes based in Geneva that are specialized in Asian or Development Studies, amongst which the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). The Multidisciplinary Master in Asian Studies (MASPEA) was created as a result of this collaboration.
- Prof. Laure Zhang (Zhang Ning) 张宁, Head of the Unit
- Prof. Nicolas Zufferey 左飞, currently Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
- Prof. Basile Zimmermann 金亦然, Director of the Confucius Institute
- Dr Jérôme Bourgon 巩涛, Lyons Institute of East Asian Studies
- Dr Vincent Durand-Dastès, INALCO, Paris
- Dr Helen Loveday, Dept. of Art History, Unige
- Dr Romain Graziani, ENS Lyon
- Dr Grâce Poizat (Xie Honghua) 谢红华, Vice-Director of the Confucius Institute
- Ms Claudia Berger 牧晨曦, Lecturer
- Ms Ping Chen-Zeller 陈萍, Lecturer
- Mr Oliver Constable 从一为, Lecturer
- Ms Jue Wang Szilas 王珏, Scientific collaborator
- Mr Wang Fei 王飞, Lecturer
- Dr Victor Vuilleumier, Paris VII
- Ms Sung-Mi Kim, Lecturer
- Ms Léa Signer 柳霞, Teaching Assistant
- Ms Phung Tran 陈凤棠, Teaching Assistant
- Ms Marie Wyss 韦明卉, Teaching Assistant
- Ms Jennifer Ng Chin Yue 银芳, Teaching Assistant
- Ms Manon Widmer 孟容, Teaching Assistant
Former staff members
- Prof. J.F. Billeter (retired)
- Prof. M. Lackner (University of Erlangen)
- Ms W. Billeter (retired)
- Dr G. Goormaghtigh (retired)
- Prof. F. Dikötter (University of Hong Kong)
In addition to individual research areas, staff members are involved in transnational research projects at the Department level.
In 2010, the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded funding to Prof. Pierre Souyri, Prof. Samuel Guex and Prof. Nicolas Zufferey for their project entitled “China, Korea and Japan : a transnational modern history with a focus on cultural and intellectual representations” (2010-2012). The project is currently underway.
Main research areas :
L. Zhang Ning: transformation of the law system in modern China, reception of Western literature in China, social evolutions in contemporary China, contemporary Chinese literature
N. Zufferey: Han dynasty philosophy and intellectual history, ancient and modern Confucianism, popular literature
B. Zimmermann: contemporary China, technology studies, sociology of art
V. Durand-Dastès: history of the traditional Chinese novel and theater, Chinese literature and religions, gender roles in literature and theater
J. Schumacher: pre-imperial philosophy, Tang literature
G. Poizat: linguistics, teaching methods, modern grammar and language
C. Berger: teaching methods, new technologies in language education
Wang Fei: history of Chinese calligraphy and seals, classical Chinese literature
O. Constable: appreciation of Chinese calligraphy in China and Japan, ceramics, painting
M. Wyss: modern Chinese art, propaganda, nianhua and new nianhua
P. Tran: modern Chinese literature
L. Signer: contemporary Chinese cinema text
Main publications (only monographs are mentioned):
J.-F. Billeter, Li Zhi, philosophe maudit (1527-1602). Paris & Geneva : Droz, 1979, 313 pp.
J.-F. Billeter, L'Art chinois de l'écriture. Geneva : Skira, 1989, 319 p. (English translation The Chinese Art of Writing, New York: Skira/Rizzoli, 1990, 319 pp.).
J.-F. Billeter, Chine trois fois muette : essai sur l'histoire contemporaine et la Chine ; suivi de Bref essai sur l'histoire chinoise, d'après Spinoza. Paris : Allia, 2000.
J.-F. Billeter, Leçons sur Tchouang-tseu. Paris : Allia, 2002.
V. Durand-Dastès, La Conversion de l’Orient : un périple didactique de Bodhidharma dans un roman chinois en langue vulgaire du XVIIe siècle. Brussells : Institut Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 2008, X-437 p. (Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, 29).
G. Goormaghtigh, L'Art du qin. Deux textes d'esthétique musicale chinoise. Bruxelles : Institut belge des Hautes études chinoises, 1990, 209 pp.
G. Poizat-Xie et N. Zufferey, Mots chinois, Mots français : Manuel d'analyse lexicale pour francophones. Paris : Youfeng, 2003, 226 p.
G. Poizat-Xie, Préparation aux HSK - tout ce que vous devez savoir pour réussir votre test. Paris: Editions You-Feng, 2007. 302p.
G. Poizat-Xie, Vocabulaire du chinois contemporain 1. Paris: L'Asiathèque, 2008. 190p. (+ 2CD)
G. Poizat-Xie, avec la collaboration de N. Zufferey, Mots chinois, mots français - Manuel d'analyse lexicale pour francophones I. (Edition revue et corrigée). Paris : L'Asiathèque, 2010.
G. Poizat-Xie, avec la participation de M. Wyss, Nuances et subtilités de la langue chinoise - Manuel d'analyse lexicale pour francophones II. Paris : L'Asiathèque, 2010.
J. Schumacher, Über den Begriff des Nützlichen bei Mengzi. Bern : Lang, 1993, 364 pp.
L. Zhang Ning, Un autre sens de l'Occident : l'appropriation par la Chine du théâtre occidental. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1998, 303 p.
L. Zhang Ning, Shuxie yu chayi (introduction, translation and commentary to Jacques Derrida's L'Ecriture et la différence). Beijing: Sanlian, 2001, 547 p.
L. Zhang Ning, Delida Zhongguo jiangyan lu (organisation, translation and discussion of Jacques Derrida's lectures in China), ed. with Du Xiaozhen. Beijing: Zhongyang bianyi ju, 2003, 235 p.
L. Zhang Ning, L’Ecriture et la différence (Shuxie yu chayi) de Jacques Derrida, Beijing, Sanlian, 2 vols. Taibei, Rye Field Publishing Co., 2004 (591 p.)
L. Zhang Ning, Jiegou zhilü, zhongguo yinji 解构之旅，中国印记 (Studies on Derrida), Nanjing, Nanjing University Press, 2009 (282p.).
B. Zimmermann, N. Zufferey, Caractères chinois courants. Paris : Youfeng, 2007 (160 p.)
N. Zufferey, Wang Chong (27-97?): connaissance, politique et vérité en Chine ancienne. Bern: Lang, 1995, 220 pp.
N. Zufferey (tr.), Wang Chong : Discussions critiques. Translation, introduction and commentary by Nicolas Zufferey. Paris : Gallimard (Connaissance de l'Orient), 1997.
N. Zufferey, To the Origins of Confucianism: The Ru in pre-Qin times and during the early Han Dynasty. Bern: Peter Lang (coll. Etudes asiatiques suisses), 2003 (409 p.).
N. Zufferey (tr.) Wang Chong, De la Mort. Paris: Gallimard (Folio 2€), 2006, 120 p. [Extracts from: Wang Chong: Discussions critiques (see above), with a new introduction.]
N. Zufferey, Introduction à la pensée chinoise. Paris: Marabout, 2008 (287 p.)
The Library of the Unit of Chinese Studies is located inside the building Bastions, Aile Jura, ground floor, 3 rue De Candolle, 1205 Genève.
Librarian: Ms. France Besson-Girard (Phone: +41 22 379 7039, )