Els van Dongen received her Ph.D. from the Department of Chinese Studies, Leiden University (the Netherlands). She obtained her M.A. and B.A. degrees from the Department of Chinese Studies, University of Leuven (Belgium), and a post-graduate degree in International Relations from the Department of Political Science, University of Leuven. Prior to joining NTU, she also studied and conducted research in China (Central China Normal University and Peking University), and the USA (Boston University). She completed her Ph.D. with the support of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Fulbright Foundation.

Els aims to write intellectual histories in which history and transnational concerns take center stage. Firstly, she is interested in how changing historical conditions affect the organization of knowledge, particularly through the lens of conceptual history in China. In her book Realistic Revolution: Contesting Chinese History, Culture, and Politics after 1989 (Cambridge University Press, June 2019), she analyzes the reception of ‘-isms’ in post-1989 China and how this intersects with the rewriting of history, attempts to reorganize knowledge, and efforts to redefine the role of intellectuals.

Secondly, she is interested in historiographical practices and the role of history and foreign theory in Chinese public debate, especially in a post-socialist environment. Branching out from this, she has also investigated changing meanings of nationalism in China and India from the angle of the interconnection between diaspora policies, discursive forms of diaspora engagement, and conceptions of the nation. This ties in with her second main area of research, namely Chinese migration and diaspora. In her current research project, based on a Tier 1 Grant, she looks at the role of educational institutions for Chinese overseas students in cultural diplomacy efforts in the PRC during the Cold War.

For full-text pre-published versions of publications, see:

Some open access publications can be found here.

ORCID iD available here.


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