Sinophone Borderlands

interaction at the Edges

We aim to introduce a new research approach towards rising China, grounded in the dialogue between key regions on its borders.


The “SINOFON” project explores how the Sinophone world interacts with the Turco-Persophone, Slavophone, Tibetophone, Hispanophone and Austroasiatophone worlds. The research team that we have established consists of senior and junior researchers from various disciplines in the fields of the humanities, social sciences and political science whose qualifications go beyond the average. This allows for a cross-disciplinary dialogue and cross-cultural comparisons which will push the current discussion on the Sinophone world beyond the current limited disciplinary and national frameworks. We present the research results at conferences, and in books and papers. 

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The project supports the following research areas:

  • Research Methods: Surveys
  • Research Methods: Linguistic Data Collection
  • Research Methods: Material Culture
  • Laws and NGOs in the People’s Republic of China
  • The Rise of China and its Impact in South-East Asia
  • One Belt One Road (OBOR) Campaign and its Impact in Central Asia
  • Sociolinguistics and Discourses on Taiwanese Indigeneity and Ethnicity through Chinese Lenses
  • Cultural Encounters between China and the Borders: Tibet, Mongolia and Manchuria
  • Uzbekistani Perceptions of Chinese Presence
  • Chinese Peasants in Russia’s Far East
  • Aesthetic Sovereignty along the Russian Chinese Border
  • Regimes of Taste: the Rise of China, Architecture and Aesthetics of Development in Central Asia
  • Uyghur Senses of Tradition: a Cross-Compared Analysis of Uyghur Material Culture in Kazakhstan and Xinjiang


Ancient chinese words on old paper

Linguistic & Literature Reading Group

The linguistic division of the group focuses on the study of languages within China and in countries that are/had been in contact with China both geographically or historically, including Sino-Tibetan languages and Austronesian languages, to name a few. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are adopted in our linguistic research covering areas such as lexicology, formal theoretical linguistics, historical linguistics, language contact, sociolinguistics, language documentation and revival as well as computational linguistics.

The literature division focuses, basically, on exploring cultural and textual practices related to the construction of identity. Its members explore the process of creation of national identities in interaction with Chinese culture, the representation and textual construction of the Chinese empire in the Early Modern period, and the naming practices and its relation to identity.

Political Science Reading Group

The reading group of political science section is focused on sharing knowledge, research methods and new theoretical approaches in studying politics, economics and cultural aspects of contemporary Sinophone world and its perception of the Western society. The members of the reading group are trained in various academic disciplines and theoretical traditions. In the research, they also apply different methodologies, ranging from qualitative case studies, cultural and critical approaches, or historical analysis to analysis of discourse, quantitative textual analyses or econometrics.

Within the reading groups, these theoretical approaches and analytical tools are shared in order to improve the groups understanding of the Sinophone world, especially the PRC, and its interactions with other regional countries such as Taiwan, ASEAN countries, Japan, Central Asia or Russia or other international players, such as the U.S., E.U. or various international organizations. Internationally, a special attention is paid to the dynamic development of relations between the PRC and Europe, especially the central and eastern parts of Europe. Domestically, the situation of PRC’s minority groups, the state-society relations and its authoritarian governmentality is of our focus.

The reading group is also a platform for cooperation with others academic institutions and researchers that are frequently invited to give a lecture or cooperate in the project’s research activities. The reading group is also a place to coordinate its members’ activities beyond the academia, such as operating a think tank (the Central European Institute of Asian Studies), participating in various public discussions (on issues related to the research project), or mediating knowledge for media and participating in policy making events.

night view of illuminated Zhouzhuang water town, Jiangsu, China

Material Culture & Cultural Anthropology Reading Group

The Reading Group “Cultural Anthropology and Material Culture” consists of multiple international scholars with different research foci and discourses. And since the target area of the project, the Sinophone borderlands, is comparatively large, complex and heterogeneous in terms of geography, history, culture, and population, the geographical research foci are on selected areas within the Russian Federation, Inner and Central Asia (including Altai), Southeast Asia and Oceania (mainly Melanesia and Micronesia). Furthermore, the various case-studies of the group members are related to several kind of interactions along the Sinophone borderlands in terms of colonization, cultural exchange, economic development, ethnicity, food culture, historiography, migration, modernization, and land tenure. Additionally, the group member with focus on material culture put emphasis on the collection of specimens and artefacts as well as on analysing the artefacts in close cooperation with chemists within this project. However, the commonness of our group members is the methodological approach: By investigating and describing cultures and societies through fieldwork we all conduct ethnographic research.

The overall objective of this Reading Group is to give a valuable impact on the understanding of cultural traditions, intercultural borrowings and diffusions in the various contexts along the Sinophone borderlands. Thus, the focus on matters of transmission as social and cultural process inevitably leads to a greater awareness of how cultures are highly interwoven and interdependent.

The various research findings are not only presented at conferences and workshops, but are also published in international academic journals, edited volumes, and books. 

We are proud to cooperate!

Take a look at the list of events we are planning.

Tuesday.20 October 2020
  • Internal Admin meeting

    When: Tuesday.20 October 2020||8:45 AM9:15 AM / Location:

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  • Internal Coordination meeting

    When: Tuesday.20 October 2020||9:15 AM9:45 AM / Location: Online

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Wednesday.21 October 2020
  • All members meeting

    When: Wednesday.21 October 2020||12:30 PM13:30 PM / Location:

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  • RG Linguistics & Literature Lecture by Ana Carolina Hosne

    When: Wednesday.21 October 2020||13:45 PM15:45 PM / Location:

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Thursday.22 October 2020
  • Internal Admin meeting

    When: Thursday.22 October 2020||9:15 AM9:45 AM / Location:

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  • Sustainability weekly meetings

    When: Thursday.22 October 2020||13:00 PM14:00 PM / Location:

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  • RG Political Science Lecture by Hoang Duong Vu

    When: Thursday.22 October 2020||14:00 PM16:00 PM / Location:

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The project has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund. The whole project is administered and coordinated by the Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, and co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic.

Operational Program: OP Research, Development and Education ||  Reg. Project number: CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000791
Project duration: 1. 7. 2018 – 30. 6. 2023 ||  Project leader: Mgr. Ondřej Kučera, Ph.D. ||  Recipient: Palacky University Olomouc
Contact person: Petra Vaculíková, Project Manager –; +420 774 274 252