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07/22/2024 - 07/22/2024 | Hamburg

Navigating Post-Pandemic Fieldwork in China: Challenges, Adaptations, and Insights

The GIGA China Series aims to foster a community of knowledge seekers interested in unravelling the complexities of China’s politics, society, and global impact. Speakers will present their current research findings on today’s China, ranging from domestic governance and societal trends to geopolitics and international relations.

Following an extended period of closure due to COVID-19 restrictions, the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in China has been reinstated. However, this reopening has been met with a degree of apprehension within the realm of Chinese Studies, as researchers are questioning the scope and nature of viable research. This presentation, predicated on fieldwork on social governance discourses in China conducted in Beijing from November 2023 to February 2024, offers an exploration of the potential dynamics of fieldwork in Beijing's academia in the post-pandemic context. Key questions to be addressed include the transformation in the perceived sensitivity surrounding research topics, the implications of one’s status as a foreign researcher on fieldwork execution in China, and the challenges encountered during the research process. Furthermore, the presentation will offer some preliminary strategies to navigate these obstacles. The insights gleaned from this experience aim to provide guidance and preparation for scholars embarking on future fieldwork endeavors in China.

Philipp C. D. Immel is a Research Assistant with teaching responsibilities at the Chair of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Würzburg. His doctoral thesis focuses on the social governance discourses in China, examining how power relations are shifted between the overseeing agent and subjects of the system, how they are shifted between the subjects themselves, and how localities interpret and implement the top-level directives in concrete terms.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and Chinese from the University of Bonn and a Master of Arts in Chinese Studies (Distinction) from the University of Würzburg. From 2014 to 2015, he studied at Jilin University in Changchun and during the winter semester 2017/18 at Peking University. After graduating, he spent the summer semester of 2019 at Sophia University in Tokyo. From November 2023 to February 2024, he stayed at Peking University's Law School as an International Visiting Scholar under the guidance of Prof. DAI Xin.

His research is funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) and the Marianne Plehn Program (Elite Network of Bavaria). Since 2021, he serves as an elected board member of the German Association for Asian Studies (DGA) and has been a member of the Association for Social Science Research on China (ASC) within the DGA since 2019. Additionally, he is a member of the DLR_Graduate_Program at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Askan Weidemann is a Doctoral Researcher at the GIGA.

Information on participating / attending:


07/22/2024 11:00 - 07/22/2024 12:15

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Event venue:

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21 in Hamburg, Room 243 and online
20354 Hamburg

Target group:

Scientists and scholars, all interested persons

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Types of events:

Presentation / colloquium / lecture




Verena Schweiger


Fachabteilung Kommunikation

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