Duthie-Secchia Fellowship for Doctoral Research on Contemporary China

Fellowships for UCLA Ph.D. students' doctoral research addressing contemporary social issues in China

Duthie-Secchia Fellowship for Doctoral Research on Contemporary China

Due 4/20/2018

Online Application


v. The fellowship is awarded to UCLA Ph.D. students who are registered and enrolled for the academic year of 2017-18.

v. The fellowship is awarded to facilitate doctoral research addressing social issues of contemporary relevance in China.

v. Students from any department are welcome to apply; however preference will be given to those projects that have a clear connection to social issues in contemporary China.

v. Fellowship at the range of $5,000 to $10,000 will be awarded based on compatibility of research proposal, student merits, and other funding available to students. 

v. Fellowship recipient is required to provide a one-page summary of research outcomes (such as conference presentations, dissertation chapters, or publications) and a picture of her/his research for dissemination on UCLA/CCS website and social media.


Research Proposal Guidelines (4-6 pages, double-spaced)

Describe your research project, include the following:

v. A precise statement of the project and its key objectives;

v. Preliminary budget, field site location, design of work, and timeline for completion;

v. Plan of publications, conference presentations or other public dissemination that can be expected from the work.


Check List

v. Curriculum Vitae

v. Research Proposal (see details above)

v. Faculty Recommendation Letter from committee chair (or a faculty who is most familiar with your work).


Award recipients will be contacted on 5/19/2018.

Please fill out the online application and upload all required documents HERE

You may review and revise your application anytime before the deadline (April 20, 2018)

2017 Summer Recipients


My research interests focus on water control practices in early modern and modern China, especially the entanglement between water management at the sub-county level and those at the county level and above. With the financial support of the Duthie-Secchia Fellowship, I did archival research in Changshu, Suzhou, and Shanghai to collect sources published by both the government and the local people. I also undertook field work in Changshu and a Kunshan-based farm and interviewed elderly farmers. I also attended the six-day UCLA-SJTU Summer Workshop on Chinese Archival Materials and, afterwards, became more aware of newly available county-level archival materials in the Republican era.

The fruits of the archival research, field work, and workshop all together have led to two paper projects. The first paper, "Being East to the Great Lake: Sovereign Tasks, Communities, and Technologies in the Nineteenth-Century China,” which I will present at the 2018 Conference of American Society for Environmental History on March 17. It discusses the collaboration between the state agents (the governor-general, the provincial governor, and county magistrates) and local elites, with a focus on financial and managerial tensions among officials, local gentry, and laborers and official attempts to introduce more technically advanced water pumps.

I am still working on the second paper that uses the materials I collected with the help of the Duthie-Secchia Fellowship. The paper, tentatively entitled “As Water Flows Through Lowlands and Highlands: Irrigation Systems and Their Management in Jiangnan,” will be presented at the 2018 Agricultural History Society Graduate Student Workshop on May 23 and the following annual Agricultural History Society Conference. In this paper, I will explore the water management in the rural areas at the polder-, village-, and town-levels. By investigating this under-researched sub-county water management, I would be able to shed light on commons management in general.

As an international student with limited funding opportunities, I am particularly grateful to the Duthie-Secchia Fellowship for providing me with the chance to collect archival and oral materials and to improve my research. The two paper projects would not have been accomplished without your generous support.


My research explores the political communication system in China with a focus on information control and image maintenance in international political press conferences. With the support of Duthie-Secchia Fellowship for Doctoral Research on Contemporary China, I was able to make significant progress on two papers and have presented them in academic conferences.

The first paper, “Mitigating journalistic adversarialness: Interpreters’ involvement in Chinese political press conferences,” investigates how interpreters mediate between the press and the state in the annual Chinese Premier’s Press Conferences (CPPCs). The analysis reveals that interpreters in CPPCs tend to work to support state policies and perspectives by transforming journalists' questions in ways that make them less adversarial. The findings illustrate how interpreting serves as a vehicle for political propaganda through which the Chinese leaders present themselves to the Chinese people and to the world in the high-profile arena of international press conferences. This paper was presented at the 112th American Sociological Association (ASA) Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada and will be submitted to a top-tier journal after some revisions.

The second paper, “Interpreters’ stance in Chinese political press conferences:
Translating the institutional ‘we’,” examines the stance that interpreters take in CPPCs by analyzing how interpreters translate the institutional ‘we,’ the plural first person pronoun that indexes a speaker’s institutional identity. As the analysis shows, interpreters distinguish between the state and the press and apply different interpreting strategies accordingly. The findings suggest that instead of acting as neutral facilitators in the institutional interaction, interpreters in CPPCs may actually take up a stance in favor of the Chinese government. This paper was presented at the 7th Annual Conference of the Language and Social Interaction (LANSI) Working Group in New York, NY and will also be submitted for journal publication.

I am truly grateful for the fellowship and the Center for Chinese Studies. The fellowship has provided me with the living stipend over the period I was working on the two projects and has allowed me to present my work at ASA and LANSI, in which I have received valuable feedback on my work. Thank you so much for supporting my research!


For more info please contact:
Center for Chinese Studies

published icon

Published: Monday, April 3, 2017