skip to primary navigationskip to content

Past MPhil Topics

Past MPhil Dissertations

Below is a list of titles of some of the past MPhil dissertations in Chinese Studies (some are from the current year). These include dissertations resulting from the former two-year MPhil programme. A large number of these students continued their research training in doctoral programmes at Cambridge or elsewhere. Many have become academics who teach all over the world, while others have pursued their interests in other equally exciting careers.

Pre-Modern History and Sinology

Prospective applicants interested in pre-modern history should contact Professor Roel Sterckx or Dr Imre Galambos.

  • Perspectives on the Zhouli 周禮
  • The spring and autumn period hegemony: Ceremonies of enfeoffment and the second hegemony
  • Eloquence or authenticity: The evolution of attitudes toward speech and speaking during the Warring States period
  • Virtually in charge: subversive voices in pre-Qin historiography: A study of the subversion of authority in the Zuo Zhuan 左傳
  • The polemic on "demons" in Han China
  • Ban Gu's use of former Han history
  • History and hearsay: The Tang Queshi by Gao Yanxiu
  • Zhaoling: the spatial and textual analysis of a seventh century Tang imperial cemetery
  • The role of the horse in the economy of the Liao dynasty
  • The irony and ambiguity of modernity: A comparative study of the "examination Hells" of late imperial China and modern Japan
  • The Yangzishan 揚子山 Tomb in Chengdu: An Expression of Wealth and Status in the Eastern Han Dynasty
  • Hidden Music: Shang and Western Zhou Belled Ritual Vessels
  • Echoing Rulership: Understanding Musical References in the Huainanzi 淮南子
  • The Construction of Mythology in Early China

Modern History

Prospective applicants interested in modern history should contact Professor Hans van de Ven.

  • The Sino-Franco War (1883–1885) through Memorials to the Qing Court
  • Translation, Communication and Power in the Chinese Maritime Service, 1854 – 1895
  • The CCP's French connection: How the France-based work-study movement influenced the development of Chinese Communism
  • Nurturing Children of the Empire (Development of the Conceptions of the Education and how to Nurture Children in Shanghai during the period from 1925 – 1941)
  • Women and the CCP: The Impact and Implementation of the Divorce Law, 1930-1950
  • Resistance of Acceptance?: Varying Attitudes toward the Manchurian Crisis 1930-1933
  • The Creation of the CCP Government in the Jiangxi period, 1931-1934
  • The Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong: The 1967 Riots and the Aftermath
  • The Second Revolution: China Went to War in 1913
  • The Negotiations of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, 19th March – 17 April, 1895
  • Late Qing Policies towards the Diasporic Chinese in British Malaya (supervised by Dr Adam Chau)


Prospective applicants interested in literature should contact Dr Heather Inwood.

  • A study of the political concerns and aesthetic ideals of Tang poets redefining the Yuefu genre (AD 755-820)
  • The Guoshibu and Tang anecdotal literature
  • A study of some traditional sources in Niehai Hua
  • Translation and techniques in the Poetry of Xu Zhimo
  • National consciousness and humanitarian modernism in the writing of Lai He (1894-1942)
  • Gendered modernism in the work of Lu Yin (1898-1934): The early works 1921 to 1928
  • A study of Shen Congwen's aesthetics : Shen Congwen as a countryman
  • Style and innovation in the works of Liang Yuchan (1906-1932)
  • The representation of the "country person" in the works of Huang Chun-ming (1939-) and Wang Zengqi (1920-1997)
  • Feng Jicai (1942- ): A contemporary establishment writer
  • 'The Politics of Cultural Identity in the Works of Yan Geling (1958 – present)
  • Grotesque Rainforests: The Struggle for Subjectivity of Malaysian Chinese in the Works of Zhang Guixing (1956 – present)
  • Jia Pinwa and Shaanxi Literary Regionalism
  • Reading Wang Anyi's (王安忆) 'Chang hen ge' (长恨歌) as a lyrical novel
  • Paternity Overshadows Feminism – Conflicts in Chen Ran's Private Life (Siren Shenghuo) and Chiu Miao-Chin's The Crocodile Journal (Eyu shouji)
  • Mu Shiying's Early "Proletarian" Fiction: A Re-Analysis

Film, Theatre, Dance and Art

Prospective applicants interested in film, theatre and dance should contact Dr Heather Inwood.

  • Gao Xingjian and China's alternative theatre of the 1980s
  • Gender and identity in the films of Tsai Ming-Liang
  • The History of the Zhujiang Film Studio 1956 – 1966
  • Shoulder-pole, girl: Migrants in contemporary Chinese cinema
  • Choreographing Cultural Identities: A Case Study of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan's "Cursive I" and "Cursive II"
  • Performing Gender Identities in Edward Lam's Theatrical Re-Interpretation of Classical Chinese Novels
  • “Trans-Editing” Chinese Lyricism in Hou Hisao-Hsien’s City of Sadness 
  • Concealing and Revealing: Identity in the Chinese Contemporary Self Portrait (supervised by Dr Adam Chau)
  • Ligne Claire: The Cross-Cultural Transmission and Transformation of Chinese Painting Techniques

Anthropology and Sociology

Prospective applicants interested in anthropology and sociology should contact Dr Adam Yuet Chau.

  • Pan Guangdan and the concept of Minzu
  • Compulsory Confucianism: Mandating Filial Duty in Modern China
  • Quality control: Beijing's rural migrants and the discourse of renkou sushi (人口素质)
  • Buying the Brand: Consumer Behaviour in the Contemporary Chinese Art Market
  • Social and Political Factors Contributing to the Pricing of Calligraphic and Painting Works in Contemporary China
  • Language Education Policy towards Ethnic Minorities in China
  • Overseas Chinese Students' Luxury Consumption: A Cultural Explanation
  • Faith, Fertility, Economy: A Study on the Interaction between Religious Belief and Economic Practice in a Chinese Catholic Village during the Reform Era
  • Versatile Vocabulary: Negotiating Identity in the City of Nanjing
  • From a National Champion to a Global Giant: The Case of Haier in India 
  • The Rise of Vegetarian Restaurants in Taiwan
  • Community Activities in Beijing: A Contested Space
  • How Naofang (闹访) Has Threatened the Chinese Judicial Order: A Case Study of the Specialised Violent Petitioners 
  • Learning Chinese or Being Chinese: Chinese Schools in Thailand and the Trend of Resinicisation among the Thai Chinese
  • A New Town along the HK-Shenzhen Border
  • Temporary Couples amongst Migrant Workers
  • The Registration of Zhengyi (正一) Daoist Priests in Contemporary China
  • Developing the Self, Developing the Nation: Hui Muslims between China and the Islamic World
  • Civil Society on Weibo: An Appreciation of Virtual Civilsocietal Acts through the Lens of Social Media Posts
  • Learning to Discern: Wine Culture and Connoisseurship as a Pedagogical Tool in Mainland China


Prospective applicants interested in linguistics should contact Dr Boping Yuan. Please note that the current Chinese Studies MPhil curriculum does not provide any concentrated training in linguistics.

  • The structure of topic and its representation in non-native grammar of Chinese
  • Locative argument structures in English-Chinese interlanguage grammars
  • Bilingual acquisition of Chinese and English
  • Topicalization and the semantic constraints in English speakers' L2 Chinese grammar
  • The Interface of Aspectual Selection and Negation in Chinese Interlanguages
  • Behaviours of Definite and Indefinite Nominative Phrases in English Speakers' Non-Native Grammars of Chinese
  • Chinese Sentence – Final Particles in English Speakers' L2 Grammars of Chinese

Politics and Economics

Although the Chinese Studies teaching staff in this department does not include economists or political scientists,  Dr Adam Yuet Chau is interested in supervising topics relating to Chinese political and economic life as it relates to broader social transformations. (This excludes topics involving technical research such as econometric or statistical analysis). [The past MPhil dissertations relating to economics reflect the fact that our department used to have an economist on the staff.] Two political scientists at the University of Cambridge are connected to our programme, Dr Kun-Chin Lin of POLIS and Dr Robert Weatherley, an affiliated lecturer in Chinese politics. Please note that even though Drs. Lin and Weatherley are available for consultation about MPhil research projects in their areas of expertise they will not be able to serve as official MPhil supervisors in FAMES.

  • Chinese Communist Party's changing policies on economic reforms in China, 1978-1997: Historical perspectives and contemporary issues The Prospects for Private Equity in China
  • The Structure of the Chinese Banking Industry and its Implications for the Monetary Transmission Mechanism and the Problem of Macroeconomic Control in China
  • The Clean Development Mechanism and China: A Catalyst for Development and Transitioning China to a Low Carbon Economy
  • The Return of HSBC to the Mainland Market in the Reform Period
  • The Next Step after Getting Rich: Development of the Chinese Non-Profit Sector
  • A Comparative Analysis of Due Diligence Best Practices in Chinese Alternative Investments
  • Financial Growth Constraints of Medium and Matured Private Enterprises in China
  • Derivative Products in Mainland China
  • The Role of Venture Capital in Renewable Energies in China
  • Going Global – An Examination of China's Outward Foreign Direct Investment and the Internationalisation of Chinese Enterprises
  • China's Massive Foreign Reserves: An Economic and Political Tool
  • China's Perception of its Role in the World in the 21st Century
  • Politics of control: Foreign media censorship in China
  • Power and Diplomacy: The Need for Energy as a Factor in Chinese Foreign Policy
  • Chinese Entrepreneurs in the UK
  • China's Organic Farming Industry
  • The Rise of the China Threat Discourse and its Impact on US China Political Rhetoric and Public Opinion
  • The Shanghai Co-Operation Organisation: Insights into Chinese Security Relations
  • Local-State Financing through Real Estate Sales in Contemporary China (supervised by Dr Adam Chau)