Center for the study of ethnic and cultural diversity

Center for the study of ethnic and cultural diversity

In July 2013, Professors van der Veer and Wu Da (China Central Nationalities University, Minzu Daxue), took the initiative of starting a new Research Centre at Minzu University. It was opened by a series of lectures given by van der Veer and the selection of an initial set of PhD students and Postdoctoral fellows. The Center now has a journal, a working paper series and a website. The everyday management of this project is in the hands of Dr. Jie Kang (MPI MMG).

     Director: Prof. Dr. Wu Da, Professor at the School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China, Beijing, China
     Chairman of Advisory Board: Prof. Dr. Peter van der Veer, Director Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity, Göttingen, Germany

Advisory Board Members


  • Peter van der Veer (Max Planck Institute)
  • Steven Vertovec (Max Planck Institute)
  • Kenneth Dean (McGill University)
  • Bung-Cho Chung (Hanyang University)
  • Steven Harrell (University of Washington)
  • Stephan Feuchtwang (The London School of Economics and Political Science)
  • Vincent Goossaert (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Sorbonne)
  • Randy LaPolla (Nanyang Technological University)
  • Sidney C. H. Cheung (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • Joseph Bosco (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

National (China)

  • Lizhu Fan (Fudan University)
  • Xiaoyun Li (China Agricultural University)
  • Yin Se (Chinese Academy of Social Science)
  • Mingming Wang (Peking University)
  • Shengmin Yang (Minzu University of China)
  • Xiaojun Zhang (Tsinghua University)
  • Xudong Zhao (Renmin University of China)
  • Xiaoyun Zheng (Chinese Academy of Social Science)
  • Hong Ding (Minzu University of China)


  • Scholars from MUC
  • Scholars from MPI MMG
  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • PhD students
  • Mphil students

Research Topics

  • Conceptualization of hierarchy and slavery in India and S.W. China, the study of the relations between Yi and Miao in Sichuan, Yunnan, and Vietnam (PhD students from China and Vietnam, four year project)
  • Study of the effects on ethnic minorities of the opening up of S.W. to S.E. Asia (Postdocs, PhD students, four year project)
  • Yi immigration and the relations between Yi and Tibetan in Muli (PhD student, four year project)
  • Study of the linguistic diversity of Yi in Southwest of China ( PhD and MPhil students, four year project)
  • Social networks beyond ethnicity in China: Case study of the classmates and alumni of Minzu University (PhD and MPhil students, four year project)

Translation Project

  • Van der Veer’s Morgan Lectures on the Value of Comparison
  • Wu Da’s book on the Yi
  • A collection of articles by Wu Da and van der Veer (Comparative issues in China and India)

Translators:  At least 5 professional and qualified translators are working as the translators of the translation project.

Recruitment of PhD Students

PhD students are recruited both from China and from abroad. They complete a one-year period of preparation study in Göttingen, and are then trained at Minzu. Dissertations are defended in Utrecht and in Minzu. Funding comes both from Göttingen and Minzu. Chinese students have to perform satisfactorily in the IELTS test. Non-Chinese students have to be fluent in Mandarin.

Annual Summer School started July 2014

First Summer School Beijing, July 7-11, 2014
Location: Minzu University of China, Beijing
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity

Conference Proceedings

The Center holds an annual conference and the conference papers are collected and published. The conferences are based on different subjects and topics; conference proceedings are held in both English and Chinese.

The Academic Journal (in Chinese and English) and Working Paper Series (connected to the MPI  MMG Series)

The Journal of Cultural Diversity in China  《中国文化多样性研究》 edited by Prof. Peter van der Veer with Professors Wu Da and Liang Yongjia are published as an open-access journal in both Chinese and English by De Gruyter Publishers in Berlin.

The Academic Website

This bilingual website publishes information about the academic activities of the Center. Information will be posted here on publications of research team or members, reports from the field, working papers, as well as fieldwork pictures and so on. The website will be a window of the Center and will be linked to both the MPG homepage and the MUC homepage.