The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a major grant of $300,000 to the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS) in support of its efforts to build cultural sociology in China. The funds will be used to deepen ties between the Yale CCS and a sister organization, the Fudan University CCS in Shanghai. The initiative connects two leading global centers dedicated to explaining how meanings shape social life. A further $60,000 has been provided by Yale’s MacMillan Center in recognition of the project’s fit with Yale University’s globalizing mission.
The grant builds on several years of informal and low budget collaboration between Yale Professors Jeffrey Alexander and Philip Smith and their Fudan counterparts Professors Zhou Yi and Hu Anning. During this time, the Chinese CCS colleagues established a large cultural sociology section in the Chinese Sociological Association, over which they preside as President and Vice-President. The Henry Luce Foundation awarded this grant not only in recognition of the leading role CCS plays in the English speaking world – thanks to its influential “Strong Program” in Cultural Sociology – but also because they believe cultural sociology has become a key new frontier for knowledge and research in China. Funds from Luce will fund a dense series of Yale-Fudan faculty and graduate student visits, conferences, and collaborative publication initiatives over the next three years. It is expected that these interactions will have a powerful impact on knowledge formation, social thought and mutual understanding.