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Tina Schilbach, Ph.D. (Sydney)


Tina Schilbach, Ph.D. (Sydney)

Contact information

About Tina Schilbach

Research interests

I joined the research group of “New Urban Imaginaries” (B11) as project coordinator in June 2010. My research explores themes of social change, aspirational modernity and everyday life in urban China, and in particular in Shanghai, which I study as a place where ideas and images of the world are reworked into the local imagination of the global city itself. I am currently finalising a PhD at the University of Sydney, where I examine the politics of class and cosmopolitanism in Shanghai. For my post-doc project I will be investigating changing forms and formats of white-collar work and the emergence of new career patterns among young people in Shanghai. I ask how modern middle-class work lives and work regimes are negotiated around a complex nexus of class entitlement, individualised life plans, and social responsibility in an increasingly cosmopolitan urban context. In this, I am particular interested in the growing “normalisation” and localisation of middle class and its global reference points; the project enquires in what ways this process intersects with shifting discourses on the meaning of success in China and relates to new expectations about biographical paths, gender relations and individual attainment among young urban Chinese.


Curriculum vitae

Born in 1980 (in Dresden)


2006- PhD studies, University of Sydney (until 2008 at the China Centre, University of Technology, Sydney).

Thesis title: “Shanghai’s cosmo-politics: the young middle class in the global city”.

My research was funded by a scholarship of the Australian Research Council as part of an ARC Discovery Grant project on “The Cultivation of Middle Class Taste: Reading, Tourism and Education Choices in Urban China”, led by Stephanie Hemelryk Donald.

2004–2005 Chinese language studies, Shanghai International Studies University.

2003–2004 Chinese Studies foundation course, University of Heidelberg.

2001–2002 MA International Studies, University of Durham.   

1998–2001 BA (Hons) Politics and History, University of Durham. 

Professional experience

2009–2010 Research Assistant, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney.

2009 Co-organiser of the 2009 Conference of the Chinese Studies Association Australia (CSAA); Convener of the CSAA Postgraduate Workshop.

2008 Tutor, Foundations in International Studies (undergraduate course), University of Technology, Sydney.

2007 Research Assistant, Institute for International Studies, University of Technology, Sydney.

2005–2006 Project Assistant, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Shanghai.

2003 Intern, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Office of the Commissioner for Democratic Development, Copenhagen.

2002–2003 Research Assistant, Department of Political Science, University of Tübingen.  

Selected publications

Ed. with S.H. Donald and I. Cucco. Other Stories / Missing Histories: Reflections from the Jiu Year in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press). Forthcoming 2011.

Cosmopolitan absences? Politics and Youth in global Shanghai. In: S.H. Donald, T. Schilbach und I. Cucco (eds.): Other Stories / Missing Histories: Reflections from the Jiu Year in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press). Forthcoming 2011.

Cultural Policy in Shanghai: the politics of caution in the global city. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events [Special Issue: Culture, Policy and the City] 2:3 (2010), 221-235.

Conference papers:

Institutional creativity in Shanghai. Spaces in-between: from non-place to shared space in developmental cities (Annual Workshop of Project Group B11). New Delhi, 19.-23.10.2010

On the international, the foreign and the ordinary: Shanghai and the cosmopolitan variants of the global city. International Symposium: Building Global Cities: Shanghai and Sydney, Sydney, 19.-20.11.2009.

(with Julie Lim) With Starbucks and Goethe in Shanghai: Two Stories of Cosmopolitan Encounters. University of Sydney Chinese Studies Seminar Series, University of Sydney, 12.11.2009.

Cosmopolitan gestures in the global city: making a home for Shanghai’s foreign professionals. (part of a panel I convened on ‘Better City, Better Life?’: Shanghai’s Visions and its Stories). Biennial Conference of the Chinese Studies Association Australia (CSAA), University of Sydney, 09.-11.07.2009.

Global class, global city and the project of Shanghai’s cosmopolitan compromise. Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS), University of Lund, 06.-10.08.2008.

Cosmopolitan fashions and collective cautions: navigating young middle-class biographies in Shanghai. Biennial Conference of  the Asian Studies Association Australia (ASAA), Melbourne, 01.-03.07.2008.

Towards an ethics of comfort? Narratives of middle class and urban belonging among Shanghai’s young generation. ANU Asia Pacific Week 2008, Australian National University, 29.01.-01.02.2008.

The Politics of Middle Class in China’s Economic Centre: Shanghai and the making of Chinese urban identity. Postgraduate Research Summer School: China in the World, University of Leeds, 24.-27.07.2007.

The essential discovery of the middle class: “harmonious society” and new class belongings in urban China. Second Conference on Multicultural Discourses, Universität Zhejiang, 13.-15.04.2007.

Cosmopolitanism and the post-Communist city: making class (in-) visible in Shanghai. ARC Workshop on Comparative Perspectives on Cosmopolitanism and Theories of Belonging: Asia, Australia and the EU, University of Technology Sydney, 08.-09.06.2006.