Sofia Graziani

Associate professor

Department of Humanities

Via Tommaso Gar, 14 - 38122 Trento
tel. 0461 282988
sofia.graziani[at]unitn [dot] it

• Ph.D. in East Asian History and Civilization, University of Rome “LaSapienza” (2009)

• M.A. Asian Studies, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden (2006)

• B.A. hons. (Laurea V.O.) in Oriental Languages and Civilization (Chinese language, history track), Ca' Foscari University of Venice (2003).

Academic career and teaching activities

2016-  Researcher, China Studies, University of Trento, Department of Hmanities 

2013-2016 Fixed-term researcher (Ricercatore T.D.a), China Studies, University of Bologna

2012-2013 Post-doc fellow, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (Taiwan)

2012 Ca' Foscari University, Research Fellowship (June 2012) [she renounced]


Teaching activity:

2011-2013: Adjunct lecturer (professore a contratto) at Università degli Studi RomaTre

◦ undergraduate: “History of East and South-East Asia” (L-OR/23)

2011-2013: Adjunct lecturer at the University For Foreigners of Siena

◦ postgraduate: “History and Institutions of Contemporary China” (SPS/14)

2011 (Fall semester 9-12): Visiting Professor at Peking University, History Department

◦ undergraduate: “China in Transformation”, course on Modern Chinese History held within the framework of the Beijing Program for American University

2010-2011: Adjunct lecturer at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Dep. of East Asian Studies

◦ undergraduate: “History of China”

2010-2011: University of Macerata, “Cultore della materia” (L-OR/21)

2007: University of Rome La Sapienza, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Tutorial activities



Research interests

History and politics of modern and contemporary China; CCP-led youth movements; China-Italy relations; China-Africa engagement; China's soft power and people's diplomacy.





Research work

- The BRI and the impact of pandemic on China's international projection  BRI (interdisciplinary research project, funded by the University of Trento), scientific coordinator (2021-2022)

•“Society, nationalism and soft power in China: towards new paradigms”, University of Bologna (2013-2016 ).

• “Relations between Italy and the Two Chinas during the Cold War: The case of youth movements and organizations (1954-1970)” project funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (Taipei, Taiwan) (2012-2013).

•Member of the Research Project on "Italy, Europe, China. Economic, political, and cultural relations in the Cold War years (1954-1971)" funded by Ca' Foscari University (2011-2014; Director Prof. Guido Samarani)

Academic and research activity abroad: 

 ◦ Shanghai University, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai (May 2018)

◦ East China Normal University, Center for Cold War International History Studies, Shanghai (April-May 2015) 

◦  Washington, DC.  Library of Congress (April 2014)

◦ Taipei, Taiwan ROC. Academia Sinica, Department of Modern History (March-May 2013)

• Beijing PRC, Beijing National Library and Beijing Municipal Archives (July 2012 and May 2013)

◦ Peking University, School of International Studies, Beijing (April-September 2011)

◦ Harvard University, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies (Cambridge, MA)  (July-September 2007) .

◦ China Youth University for Political Sciences, Beijing (September 2006- February 2007)

◦  Beijing Foreign Studies University, Research Center of Overseas Sinology, Beijing (April-June 2006)

• Fudan University, Nordic Centre,  Shanghai ( September 2005)

• University of Heidelberg, Institute of Chinese Studies (May 2005) 


Memberships in societies and scientific committees

AISC – Italian Associan of Chinese Studies since 2005  (Member of the Executive Board since 2019) 

EACS – European Association for Chinese Studies, since 2005

SISSCO – Società Italiana per lo Studio della Storia Contemporanea, since 2007

AAS – Association for Asian Studies, since 2013

SISI - Italian Society for International History, since 2014.

Awards and honours

 • Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (Taiwan), Postdoc Fellowship (2012-13)

• Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), Sciences and Arts Fellowship China (SAF/CHINA) (2011)

• University of Rome La Sapienza PhD Fellowship (2005-08).

• European Association of Chinese Studies - Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation or International Scholarly Exchange, Library Travel Grant (May 2005)

Conferences and lectures

Talks and presentations in English (selection 2014-2019) 

5/12/2019  "Youth in modern Chinese politics: discursive practices and political organizing in the early twentieth century (1919-1922)", Internationl Workshop, 1919-1949: The Birth of Modern China, Zhejiang University, Centre for Chiang Kai-shek and Modern Chinese History and Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Venice. 

 9/10/2019  "The Role of Trade Unions in Sino-Italian contacts in the early Cold War: Some Preliminary Findings", International Workshop Western Europe and China in the Cold War: The Rapprochement between Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany and the PRC in a Global Context, Università ca' Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Mediterranea, Venice.

3-4/10/2019 "The role of youth and youth groups in China’s people diplomacy and global outreach: a historical perspective",  Trento-Shanghai University Joint International Workshop on "Chinese youth under socialism from Mao to Xi: experiences, images and literary representations", Central University Library, Trento University, Trento.

18-22/10/2018 -  "Youth and the search for modern China: discoursive practices and political organizing in the early twentieth century" , Shanghai University-Ghent University Joint Workshop on '欧战与中国的新文化 The Relationship between the First World War and China's New Culture Movement', Shanghai University, Shanghai.

29-08/1-09/2018  "Re-orienting the Communist Youth League’s approaches and patterns of work: initiatives and debates in a long-term perspective" within the panel "Reappraising the Communist Youth League: Professionalization, Responsiveness and Social Work" (coordinated by Konstantinos Tsimonis). XXII Conference of the European Association of Chinese Studies, Glasgow University, Scotland.

17/05/2018 -  "Youth Groups, Transnational Networks and Sino-European Interactions in the Early Cold War", talk at the Shanghai University, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai. 

18-19/11/2016  “China-Italy unofficial relations in the 1950s: the Role of the Communist Youth League International Liaison Department” , Conference on “The Smaller European Powers and China in the Cold War, 1949-1989”, University of Lausanne. 

23-26/07/2014 "Italian and Chinese communists in the 1950s: the case of youth contacts and exchanges", XX Conference of the European Association of Chinese Studies, Braga/Coimbra (Portugal). 

27-30/03/2014 "Reassessing CCP's Conception of 'Youth Work' in the Early Reform Period (1978-1980)", Association for Asian Studies 2014 Annual Conference, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). 

13-14/02/2014 "The Communist Party of Italy and People's China: Political ties and exchanges (1949-1965)" (with Guido Samarani), International Workshop on "Italy, Europe, China: Economic, Political and Cultural Relations during the Cold War Years (1949-1971)", Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Mediterranea. 


Other work

Appointments AT UNITN (2017-2019):

- Member of the executive board of Centro Studi Martino Martini, University of Trento (since 2017)

- Member of the Joint Committee Teachers-Students (Commissione Paritetica Docenti-Studenti) – Department of Humanities University of Trento (since Dec. 2019)

- Collaborator of the Director for assigning students’ travel grants at the Department of Humanities, University of Trento (since 2018).  

- Academic supervisor at the Department of Humanities (Trento University) for incoming students from Chinese universities (since 2018)

- Contact person for bilateral agreements between the Department of Humanities at the University of Trento and the following Chinese universities: Shanghai International Studies Universities, Shanghai University, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang International Studies Universities (since 2017)


Selected publications (in English and Chinese) 2014-2021

(2021) "Between Chinese youth and the Party: The Communist Youth League’s revival and adjustments in the early post-Mao era" in JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR CHINESE STUDIES, v. 2, (2021), p. 83-125. - URL: . - DOI: 10.25365/jeacs.2021.2.83-125

(2020) "Italians in Soviet-Sponsored International Organizations in China" in Contact Zones in China: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Merle Schatz, Laura De Giorgi and Peter Ludes, Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020, pp. 97-109. 

(2019) " Socialism and Revisionism: The Power of Words in the Ideological Controversy between the Italian Communist Party and the Chinese Communist Party (Late 1950s-Early 1960s)", in Words of Power, the Power of Words: the Twentieth-Century Communist Discourse in an International Perspective, edited by Giulia Bassi, Trieste, EUT, 2019, pp. 75-92 (capitolo di libro) (con Guido Samarani) 

(2019), "May Fourth Youth Day from Yan'an to the Early People's Republic: The Politics of Commemoration and the Discursive Construction of Youth", in Twentieth-Century China, vol. 44, no. 2, Special Issue: A Century Later: New Readings of May Fourth, pp. 237-252 (ISSN 1940-5065)

(2019) "China's Communist Youth League, Transnational Networks and Sino-European Interactions in the Early Cold War", in Europe and China in the Cold War: Exchanges Beyond the Bloc Logic and the Sino-Soviet Split , edited by Janick Marina SchaufelbuehlMarco Wyss and Valeria Zanier, Brill, Leiden, 2019, pp. 108-133 (Book Chapter)

(2018) (eds.), Roads to Reconciliation: People's Republic of China, Western Europe and Italy  during the Cold War Period (1949-1971), Venezia: Edizioni Ca' Foscari (with Guido Samarani and Carla Meneguzzi Rostagni) online open access 

(2018), "International political activism in the '50s: the World Federation of Democratic Youth and Bruno Bernini’s encounter with Mao’s China"  in Guido Samarani, Carla Meneguzzi Rostagni, Sofia Graziani (eds.), Roads to Reconciliation: People's Republic of China, Western Europe and Italy  during the Cold War Period (1949-1971), Venezia: Edizioni Ca' Foscari, pp. 197-219.

(2017), “The case of youth exchanges and interactions between the PRC and Italy in the 1950s”, Modern Asian Studies, 51, 1, pp. 194-226. Link DOI:10.1017/S0026749X16000305

(2016), “Chinese Volunteering in Africa: Drivers, Issues, and Future Prospects”, Annali di Ca’ Foscari, Serie orientale, vol. 52, pp. 297-333 (co-author: Antonella Ceccagno) [online] ISSN 2385-3042 [print] ISSN 1125-3789  Link DOI 10.14277/2385-3042/AnnOr-52-16-11

(2015), “Editors’ Forward”, in 冷战国际史研究 [Cold War International History Studies], n. 19/20, pp. 1-3 (with Guido Samarani). 

(2015), "意大利共产党与中华人民共和国:政治联系与交流(1949-1965)" [The Communist Party of Italy and People's China: Political Ties and Exchanges (1949-1965)]", in 冷战国际史研究 [Cold War International History Studies], n. 19/20, pp. 5-29 (co-author: Guido Samarani) 

(2014), “Youth and the making of modern China: a study of the Communist Youth League's organization and strategies in   times of revolution (1920-1937)”, European Journal of East Asian Studies, vol. 13, n. 1, pp. 117-149 (ISSN 1568-0584) Link DOI 10.1163/15700615-01301008


2019. "The Multiple Layers of China’s Engagement in Africa", in ISPI dossier China Turns 70: Where Does It Go Now? (a cura di Alessia Amighini e Giulia Sciorati), September 27, 

2019. "The May Fourth Centenary: Binding Youth to the Nation and the Party", in ISPI dossier Political Contestation in China: Instances from the Past, Impacts on the Future (edited by Giulia Sciorati), June,