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Edwin Hao Chen Jiang (2019)

Research Title:  Suzhi education and moral evaluation in the People's Republic

Supervisor: Professor James Laidlaw


My current research examines the concept of suzhi (素质), which without an adequate translation in English can roughly be understood as an all-encompassing human quality. In the post-reform era, the phenomenon of suzhi has seeped through all aspects of social life in the mainland. This is especially true of education, where the Ministry of Education has mandated a curriculum of “suzhi education” from the top down to improve the quality of citizens. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the role of suzhi in how one justifies one’s actions; how suzhi comes to modulate aspiration in ordinary life; and how suzhi shapes one’s understanding of oneself amongst Chinese youth in the context of high school. Using ethnographic methods, I hope to produce an empirical piece of work that speaks directly to (and with) contemporary theoretical developments in moral psychology and action theory. 


Before coming to Cambridge, I completed a MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology at University College London. And before switching to anthropology, I studied philosophy at the University of Chicago (AB ’16). 

Research Interests

Mainland China and the Chinese diaspora; ethics, action theory, moral psychology.