The Evolving Global Order

Supporting the Center for the Study of
Contemporary China


Global Influence

As China’s global influence steadily grows, so does the importance of understanding this powerhouse in world affairs. The Center for the Study of Contemporary China (CSCC), based in the School of Arts & Sciences, is the institutional home for the faculty and students across Penn who are studying the multifaceted political, legal, economic, and social factors that shape contemporary China and its role in the larger world. Founded in 2012, the Center brings scholars from Arts & Sciences, Wharton, Penn Carey Law, and the Annenberg School of Communications together with distinguished visitors, providing a space for discourse on developments in China during this period of dramatic growth and transition.

The Penn Symposium on Contemporary China is an annual event organized by undergraduate students. The symposium aims to provide a unique high-level academic forum for the discussion of the political, legal, economic, and social factors shaping China and its role in the world today.

Building Relationships

Building on nearly two centuries of cross-cultural engagement between Penn and China, CSCC ensures that the campus community participates in the University’s leadership in scholarship, education, and other programs involving contemporary China. The Center is integral part of the academic community at home and abroad and has significantly raised Penn’s international profile as a dynamic center of research and teaching about contemporary China. Its role on campus complements the work of the Beijing-based Penn Wharton China Center.

The Center supports scholarship and knowledge-sharing through research grants for faculty and graduate students, funding for postdoctoral fellowships, a robust speaker series, and annual lectures and conferences. Lectures feature leading experts and practitioners, opening the Center up to the University and surrounding communities, while conferences focus on the dissemination of academic research and scholarly debate. Seminars and informal weekly forums provide opportunities for faculty and graduate students to share research in progress.

A recent class of postdoctoral fellows included Chris Carothers, who researches authoritarianism and corruption control; Zhiqiu Benson Zhou, who explores topics that straddle the intersection of sexuality, race, media, and popular culture; Jieun Kim, who focuses on local government accountability and transparency; and Anna Zhang, who studies ethnic conflict and migration.


Giving Opportunties

The Center has played a critical role in reinvigorating the study of contemporary China at Penn as well as upholding and expanding the University’s work on and partnerships in China. Your support will enable us to maintain this momentum and build on the Center’s success.

The giving opportunities listed here support the Center’s work. All gifts are payable over five years.

Name the Center for the Study of Contemporary China with an endowed gift of $8 million

A naming gift to endow the Center would provide a perpetual funding stream and its permanent home within Penn Arts & Sciences.

Name the Center for the Study of Contemporary China directorship with an endowed gift of $2 million

A gift to endow the Center directorship will associate the donor’s name with the program’s academic leadership in perpetuity. A named directorship is a position that brings prestige and resources to the scholar who holds it, allowing for academic and programmatic innovation.

Name the Center’s space in the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics with a gift of $2 million

The Center’s new space in the Perelman Center brings together many affiliated faculty and graduate students with other scholars of world affairs, providing increased opportunities for knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Fund a postdoctoral fellowship with an endowed gift of $1.5 million

Postdoctoral fellows are chosen for their emerging academic talent. Fellows pursue independent, interdisciplinary research while mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and growing into committed scholars of contemporary China. Former CSCC postdocs have gone on to a range of successful placements, including at major research universities and top-tier liberal arts colleges.

Fund the Center’s annual conference with an endowed gift of $1.25 million

The Center’s annual conference features leading experts from institutions around the world who present original research and serve as panel discussants. Recent topics have included the 40th anniversary of China’s major economic reforms, China and international law, and China’s relationship to changing technology. These dynamic discussions have produced special issues of the Journal of Contemporary China and produced four books, published by Brookings Press and the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Fund the public lecture or speaker series

The Center hosts an annual public lecture by a prominent policymaker, diplomat, or public intellectual, complemented by a yearlong speaker series that invites academics and practitioners to campus for lectures and roundtables. Endow the annual lecture with a gift of $850,000; a gift of $450,000 endows the speaker series.

Avery Goldstein, Inaugural Director of CSCC and David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations, specializes in international relations, security studies, and Chinese politics.


To learn more about supporting the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, please contact Deb Rhebergen, Vice Dean for Advancement, at