Shirley Wai Chan

Associate Professor


Research output per year

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Personal profile


A/Prof. Shirley Chan is Head of Chinese Studies, Department of International Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney; she is a member of the MQ University Research Centre for Cultural Heritage and Environment. Shirley has taught at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales before joining Macquarie.

Shirley believes a deep understanding of Chinese culture in a global context is crucial not only from an academic point of view but also for building ethical, just and inclusive communities. She has taught various courses in Chinese Studies, including Chinese language (modern and classical), literature and culture, Chinese history and Chinese philosophy and has broad research interests in Chinese culture, Chinese philosophy and textual studies. She is available for HDR supervision in those areas. 

Shirley Chan has served as President of Chinese Studies Association of Australia (CSAA) and is an executive committee member of the Oriental Society of Australia. She also serves on the editorial board of several journals including the Silk and Bamboo (Brill) and is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Oriental Society of Australia. She has appeared by invitation in programs produced by the BBC (Genius of the Ancient World: Confucius, with British historian Bettany Hughes), ABC, SBS, as well as international online teaching platforms such as MOOC and Coursera. 

Research interests

- Sinology, Chinese culture, Chinese history, Chinese philosophy, Chinese ancient texts and intellectual history, Chinese excavated texts, etc.


Currently Teaching and Convening

Traditional Chinese Culture and Society

Chinese Literature and Culture

The Chinese Classics

Traditional Chinese Thought

Courses Taught and Convened

Traditional Chinese Thought

The Chinese Classics

Traditional Chinese Culture and Society I

Traditional Chinese Culture and Society II

The Chinese Capstone Unit

Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society I

Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society II

The Chinese Research Project

Chinese History

Chinese Literature from Hong Kong and Taiwan

Introduction to Chinese Civilization

Introduction to Classical Chinese

Advanced Chinese I

Advanced Chinese II

Intermediate Chinese I

Intermediate Chinese II

Introductory Chinese I

Introductory Chinese II

Courses Convened

Chinese Calligraphy

History of Chinese Art


Research engagement

  • Albert Li/Kenny Li Research Funding for Ancient Chinese Texts 2015- (CI)
  • Faculty of Arts Themed Research Workshop Grant, 2014. (CI)
  • Faculty of Arts Publication Subsidy Scheme, 2013. (CI)
  • Macquarie Research Development Grant, 2010-2012. (CI)
  • Research Grant, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, 2009-2011. (CI)
  • Departmental Teaching Index Grant Funding, 2011. (CI)
  • Macquarie University New Staff Grant,2005-2006. (CI)  

Research student supervision

PhD and HDR Supervisions

  • Daniel Lee: The Sensual and the Moral: "Confucian Poetics" and the Book of Odes (2010-2013) (PhD, completed) 
  • Iain Clark: Legitimacy from Antiquity: Qing Imperial Ceramic Ritual Vessels for State Occasions (2010-2014) (PhD, completed) 
  • Jonathan Goodall: An Examination of the Syncretic Nature of Han Fei's Philosophy and His Utilization of the Concept of Wuwei in the Han Fei Zi (2011) (Honours, completed)
  • Daniel Lee: Eileen Chang on Hong Kong: a Cultural Delineation of a Colonial Discourse (2009) (Honours, completed) 
  • Esther Li: The Effect of Australian Culture on Compliment Responses of Mainland Chinese Speakers of English (Associate Supervisor) (2011-2015) (PhD, completed) 
  • Sabrina Yuan: Robert van Gulik: Life and Work (Associate Supervisor) (2012-2016) (PhD, completed) 
  • Lam Wai Hung: Philosophical Principles in the Ancient Chinese Medical Text (PhD, part-time) (2015-) 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Sinology, Confucianism and Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Intellectual History, Chinese Studies, University of Sydney

Master of International Studies, Department of Government and Public Administration, University of Sydney

BA (Asian Studies), Chinese Studies, Social Antropology, Japanese Studies, University of Sydney

External positions

Research grant reviewer, European Science Foundation

Nov 2020 → …

Advisory Board of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy, Springer

Sep 2020 → …

External Reviewer, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong

Feb 2019 → …

Honourary Research Fellow, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA)

Nov 2018 → …

Editor-in-chief, Journal of Oriental Society of Australia, University of Sydney

Oct 2018 → …

Council member, Chinese Studies Association of Australia

Jul 2017Jul 2019

Member, editorial board, Bamboo and Silk, Brill

Dec 2016 → …

Adjunct Professor, Jinan University

Jan 2016 → …

President, Chinese Studies Association of Australia

Jul 2015Jul 2017

International panel member , Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ).

May 2013 → …

Visiting Professor, Qinghua University

Mar 2012May 2012

Visiting Scholar, Hong Kong Baptist University

Jan 2012Mar 2012

Visiting Professor, National Taiwan University

Jun 2009Jul 2009

Visiting Scholar, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dec 2007Feb 2008

Member, Executive committee, Oriental Society of Australia

Jan 2007 → …

Honorary Associate, University of Sydney

Jan 2003Dec 2005

Language Examiner (Cantonese and Mandarin), The University of New South Wales


Qantas Airways Language Proficiency Test Assessor (Mandarin and Cantonese) , The University of New South Wales



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