The Department of Sociology, ECNU, enjoys a deep academic tradition traced back to the Department of Sociology, the University of Shanghai, and the Department of Historical Sociology, the Great China University. In 1913, the first Department of Sociology was founded at the University of Shanghai. In 1930s, Mr. Wu Zelin, a sociologist and anthropologist back from America, founded the Department of Historical Sociology at the Great China University. After 1949, the principal parts of these two departments were incorporated into ECNU, providing a crucial foundation for the development of sociology at ECNU.
Since 1979, ECNU was directly engaged in the revival and restoration of the sociology in China and in Shanghai. In 1979, ECNU was the first to form a special research group of sociology in China headed by Prof. Yan Xinzhe, and to set up the Teaching and Research Office of Sociology later. In 1982, ECNU launched the first postgraduate programs in sociology in China; in 1986, the “Centre for Sociological Research” was officially launched, with the famous sociologist Prof. Wu Duo as the first director. Since then, ECNU became one of the country’s first key universities that revived sociology.
On 28 March, 2001, the Department of Sociology was established and affiliated to the former School of Law and Political Science. In 2007, the Department of Sociology was independent from the School of Law and Political Science, becoming a substantive teaching and research institution. In November, 2009, ECNU School of Social Development was established, with the Department of Sociology as one of its five teaching and research divisions. The previous department head were Prof. Chen Yinfang and Prof. Nicholas Tapp, and the current head is Prof. Li Xiangping. The Department of Sociology launched the doctoral program in sociology in 2011 and was approved to set up the post-doctoral research station for the primary discipline of sociology in 2014.
The Department of Sociology has 17 full-time faculty members, including 5 professors, 7 associate professors and 5 lecturers. Fourteen of them hold doctorates from preeminent universities at home and abroad, such as ÉcoleNormale Supérieure de Cachan in France, Loyola university of Chicago in the US, Hitotsubashi University and Rikkyo University in Japan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Peking University, Nanjing University, Sun Yat-Sen University, Jilin University. The Department of Sociology keeps close partnerships and communication with universities in the US, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries and regions. Most of our faculty members have had experience as visiting scholars at renowned universities and institutes like Harvard University, Brown University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and EcoleNormale Supérieure.
As one of the major institutions supporting the Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, a key research base of humanities and social science of Ministry of Education, ECNU Department of Sociology has been committed to urban sociology studies. In recent years, the Department of Sociology boasts long list of research achievements, as our faculty have published over 30 academic monographs and over 100 articles in Chinese Social Science, Social Science, Studies in World Religions and other SSCI, A&HCI, and CSSCI journals. It ranked 4th among the secondary faculties of China’s universities in 2009, 2014, and 2016 in terms of number of essays reprinted in full in Replicated Journal of Renmin University of China. Most our faculty members has led government-sponsored projects at the national level or provincial and ministerial levels, and various collaborative projects sponsored by enterprises. Prof. Wen Jun and Prof. Li Xiangping have led major projects sponsored by National Social Science Foundation respectively. Prof. Wen Jun, Prof. Li Xiangping and other professors have been awarded the second and third prizes of the Ministry of Education Best Publications of Humanities and Social Sciences for several times, and first, second and third prizes of Shanghai Outstanding Achievement Awards for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, and the second prize of the 7th Shanghai Outstanding Achievement Awards for Deng Xiaoping Theory Research and Propaganda. The think tank reports and policy-consulting reports submitted by Prof. Wen Jun, Prof. Li Xiangping, Prof. Zhang Wenming and associate Prof. Zhao Yeqin were highly praised by national officials and Shanghai municipal officials, and won several policy advisory and research awards of Shanghai.
The Department of Sociology has several academic institutes including the Institute of Sociology, Institute of Sociological Theory, Center for Community Culture Studies, Religion and Society Research Center, and the Professional Committee on Religious Sociology of Chinese Sociological Association. The Department sponsored or organized the commemorative symposium “A Century of Sociology—From University of Shanghai to East China Normal University” (2013), the 4th International Symposium on Urban Society and Culture (2013), etc.
The School of Social Development, ECNU, was ranked 10th in 2009 and 9th in 2012 in national primary discipline evaluation of sociology, demonstrating that our academic strength in sociology is widely recognized in China’s sociology community. In the part of teaching, the Department of Sociology offers a national quality course, i.e. Western Sociological Theory led by Prof. Wen Jun. Since 2000, we started to enroll students in the undergraduate program in Sociology and have sought to produce sociological professionals equipped with comprehensive knowledge and skills of sociology and enable them to work on social research and investigation, policy research and evaluation, social planning and management, as well as development research and forecast at educational and research institutions, governments, parties, public sector, enterprises and social organizations.