As well as being CMCI’s centre manager, Dr. Ralph Parfect is also the Assistant Director of King’s College’s new China Institute. As such he is profiled in King’s alumni publication InTouch as one of ’12 of the best’ King’s academics helping to solve the biggest issues in a changing world. Below is a copy of the article:
In a fast-moving world, King’s fine-tunes its research to reflect shifts in global power. The College’s new China Institute is set to do this by understanding China’s increasing influence in the world and reacting to its recent focus upon the creative and cultural industries.
‘This change in emphasis is a new phenomenon after decades of economic and technological development, says Dr Ralph Parfect, who works with Professor Xinzhong Yao, Director of the Institute. ‘There are two reasons. Firstly, the Chinese government now sees culture, including media and tourism, as part of its economic development. Secondly, China’s cultural identity is also being addressed. The question we are interested in is: what kind of country is China becoming?’
Founded recently, the Institute provides a focal point for China-related activities across a range of disciplines, building links with Chinese organizations and working closely with mainstream academic departments at King’s.
‘The institute is focused upon understanding China as a world power which is growing in importance in different areas,’ adds Parfect, whose ongoing research into Chinese contemporary narrative fiction is linked to the wider question of the country’s potential as a cultural – along with economic – world leader.
‘We’re launching a Master’s programme, and we are building a centre of expertise with up to 10 full-time teaching and researching staff. We want our students to be aware of the wider, changing world, and be employable in this world. It’s part of the College’s “internationalisation strategy” that encourages students to study abroad and enables us to build links with countries like China through conferences and visiting lecturers and researchers.’