The University of Newcastle’s news team has, believe it or not, posted a news item on my involvement with Chinese Marxism. It has its expected focus, but they quoted me fairly. Full text copied here:

After 11 years of increasingly longer visits to China, The Centre for 21st Century Humanities’ Professor Roland Boer is tapping into collaboration opportunities with Chinese scholars of Marxism and has created deep connections for Chinese students to spend time at The University of Newcastle.

Having been invited to teach at Renmin University of China in 2013, Professor Boer currently holds the role of Distinguished Overseas Professor in a research position at the University.

“I direct a project called ‘Socialism in Power’, with Chinese and international scholars. It will run for 6-7 years and focuses on issues such as the socialist state, socialist democracy, socialist civil society, the role of the communist party, socialist market economy and contradiction,” Professor Boer said.

Professor Boer is forging bonds that are leading to an increasing level of collaboration for UoN, especially in the area of Marxism, which is now a scholarly discipline in China in its own right.

“Every university in China has a school of Marxism, let alone major research institutes like the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau. Marxism opens many doors otherwise closed to foreigners and offers a range of collaboration opportunities,” he stated.

“Further, it is now mandatory that every Chinese university lecturer who is seeking promotion must spend a year overseas, so an increasing number of Marxist scholars are coming to UoN for that year. Also, postgraduate scholars are often expected to spend a semester or year overseas, so more of these are coming to UoN.”

Reflecting on his time in China, Professor Boer is “amazed and bewildered” about the way Chinese tradition meets Marxism in China. He notes the main difference to scholarly Australia is that Chinese scholars are closely involved with key social, economic and political issues, with much of their research focused on dealing with solutions to problems.

“This is both part of Chinese tradition and the Marxist heritage. The scholar has a venerable place in Chinese society. The intellectual is simultaneously expected to devote significant time to reading, thinking and writing and to the good of public life,” Professor Boer remarked.

“One volunteers to contribute in some way to the greater good of society, but this is simultaneously a duty or obligation. Although it is manifested as many levels of social relations, for an intellectual it means service in or for the government, or perhaps work that contributes to solving a commonly recognised problem.”

Boer, who is a Marxist and a scholar, is especially aware of the extremely high ethical standards expected of his role in China.

“The combination of Confucian and Marxist ethics entails an expectation of almost impeccable morality – speaking plainly and directly, being honest, living simply, avoiding any sign of personal gain, and substantially focused on the public good.”

“By living here in China, I’ve been able to immerse myself in Chinese Marxist ethics, which has had a profound influence on me and my lifestyle. There is a traditional Chinese term, jianku pusu, which means ‘to work diligently and live simply’. This has also become a feature of Marxist ethics in China, and, in a rather different way, was the way I was brought up,” Professor Boer said.

But what it is that Professor Boer likes most about his post in China? The answer is quite obvious given Boer’s fascination with Marxism and the fact that China is a socialist country.

“I like Chinese culture, food, tradition, people, pace of life, etc., but the main reason I like China is because the communist party is in power.”


The course itself begins on 1 March, but enrolments have now opened. The introduction page provides the final version of the invitation video, course syllabus and some other details.

The website concerning the first China Road conference in the southern hemisphere is now up at the University of Newcastle (screen grab below). This is obviously a notice to save the date and begin thinking about a potential conference paper or panel proposal. More details will be posted as the conference planning develops early in the new year. This is sponsored by none less than the Academy of Marxism within the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.




When 19 to 21 August 2016

Where University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Contact Roland.Boer


Paper proposals and abstracts for The China Road international conference due 1 June 2016.

The China Road has a number of levels of meaning. It concerns China’s distinct path in the modern world, a path that has also been called the ‘Beijing Consensus’ and ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’, with deep historical roots and a broad basis in reality. It also refers to the new ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, which seeks to revitalise countries along and around the old Silk Road – a revitalisation that includes economic, cultural, social and educational dimensions.

In this light, the conference will examine the China Road from a range of perspectives. These include philosophy, Marxism, economics, politics, society, education, culture, different forms of democracy, and international relations in the Asian Century. With an eye on past and present, the conference will also examine possible future developments. It will be undertaken in a supportive environment, seeking insight, understanding and constructive criticism. The conference is ideally placed to make a significant impact, attracting attention by the media and the wider public.

Scholars from Australasia and China, as well as international scholars, are invited to participate. The conference will also include keynote speakers.

Please save the date and return to this website for more details, including registration, as they become available.

The China Road conference is sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Academy of Marxism image

The University of Newcastle is offering the following PhD scholarships to high calibre international applicants. This is – as usual – extremely competitive. A few details:

  • A high quality, international University partner
  • Agreement of the supervisors and student to undertake a jointly supervised PhD with at least one supervisor from each University
  • Availability of a high quality (top) student preferably from the partner institution
  • Student to spend (face-to-face) time at both institutions during their PhD, the time distribution being flexible
  • Up to 50% full scholarship support from University of Newcastle and the remainder from the partner

Please contact me at my university email address if you know of anyone eligible and interested in a joint PhD in Marxist philosophy and religion.

A few announcements to come, such as the ‘Religion and Radicalism’ book series with Palgrave Macmillan, and the final stages of planning for a research program in ‘Religion, Marxism and Secularism’ at the University of Newcastle. Speaking of the latter, we are pondering the slogan, ‘Towards world domination’.

Meanwhile, one inspiration is Chairman Mao, who wrote in 1955 of the crucial importance of Marxist philosophy:

I would advise our comrades to study philosophy. Quite a few people are uninterested in philosophy; they do not have the habit of studying philosophy … There are a number of subjects in Marxism: Marxist philosophy, Marxist economics, Marxist socialism – the theory of class struggle; but the basic thing is Marxist philosophy. Unless this thing is studies and understood, we will not have a common language or a common method among us. (The Writings of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976, vol. 1, p. 533)

No wonder there are so many centres of Marxist philosophy in China.

Mao studying 01

Mao studying 03

At long last, the Bible and Critical Theory Journal is settling into its new home – the University of Newcastle‘s Nova website. A few bumps on the way to resettling, but we have made it. This is a rich bumper issue, 9:1-2, for 2013. Actually, it is a late Christmas present. The full list of articles and book reviews, with links, is as follows:


Revelations of the Dream PDF
George Aichele, Tina Pippin, Richard Walsh
Probing the Homelessness of Jesus with Žižek’s Sublime Object PDF
Robert J. Myles
A Serious Man PDF
Timothy Stanley
We Are Family: Deuteronomy 14 and the Boundaries of an Israelite Identity PDF
Dermot Nestor
God’s Visions and God’s Eyes in Ezekiel’s Surrealistic Imagery PDF
Edgar W. Conrad
A Big Room for Poo: Eddie Izzard’s Bible and the Literacy of Laughter PDF
Christopher Meredith
Barth, Žižek & the Cold War: Defending Radical Politics against the Totalitarian Concept PDF
Michael Jimenez


Review of Paul de Man, The Post-Romantic Predicament. Ed. Martin McQuillan. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012. PDF
George Aichele
Review of Pheme Perkins, Reading the New Testament: An Introduction. 3rd ed. New York: Paulist Press, 2012. PDF
Nathan Barnes
Review of Alison Jack, The Bible and Literature. London: SCM Press, 2012. PDF
Caroline Blyth
Review of Ronald L. Troxel, Prophetic Literature: From Oracles to Books. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. PDF
Caroline Blyth
Review of Philippe Guillaume, Land, Credit and Crisis: Agrarian Finance in the Hebrew Bible. BibleWorld. Shef-field: Equinox Publishing, 2012. PDF
Roland Boer
Review of Philippe Guillaume, Land, Credit and Crisis: Agrarian Finance in the Hebrew Bible. BibleWorld. Shef-field: Equinox Publishing, 2012. PDF
Mark Brett
Review of David M. Halperin & Valerie Traub, eds., Gay Shame. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009. PDF
Philip Culbertson
Review of Dennis J. Horton, Death and Resurrection: The Shape and Function of a Literary Motif in the Book of Acts. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2009. PDF
Scott S. Elliott
Review of James G. Crossley, Jesus in an Age of Neo-liberalism. BibleWorld; Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2012. PDF
Hans Leander
Review of Christina Petterson, Acts of Empire: The Acts of the Apostles and Imperial Ideology. Sino-Christian Studies Supplement Series 4. Chung Li: Chung Yuan Christian University, 2012. PDF
Robert J. Myles
Review of Hector Avalos, Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship. The Bible in the Modern World 38. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2011. PDF
Robert Seesengood
Review of Stanislas Breton, A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul. Trans. J. N. Ballan; introduction by W. Blanton; Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture; New York: Columbia University Press, 2011 PDF
Robert Seesengood
Review of James E. Harding, The Love of David and Jonathan: Ideology, Text, Reception. Sheffield: Equinox, 2013. PDF
Susan Ackerman
Review of Marianne Bielland Kartzow, Destablizing the Margins: An Intersectional Approach to Early Christian Memory. Pickwick: Eugene, 2012. PDF
Nathan Barnes
Review of Mark Boda, Carol J. Dempsey, and LeAnn Snow Flesher (eds), Daughter Zion: Her Portrait, Her Response. Atlanta: SBL, 2012. PDF
Miriam Bier
Review of Roland Boer, Criticism of Heaven: Marxism and Theology. Historical Materialism Book Series, 18. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007; Criticism of Religion: On Marxism and Theology, II. Historical Materialism Book Series, 22. Leiden and Boston: Brill, PDF
Deane Galbraith
Review of Roland Boer, Nick Cave: A Study of Love, Death and Apocalypse. Sheffield: Equinox, 2012. PDF
Yael Klangwisan
Review of Hélène Cixous, (eds) Marta Segarra and Joana Masó, Poetry in Painting: Writings on Contemporary Arts and Aesthetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012. PDF
Francis Landy
Review of Julia Kristeva, The Severed Head: Capital Visions. Columbia University Press: New York, 2012. PDF
Christopher Meredith
Review of Adam Stewart, ed. Handbook of Pentecostal Christianity. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2012. PDF
Stephen Waldron
Review of Anthony C. Swindell, Reworking the Bible: The Literary Reception of Fourteen Biblical Stories. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2010. PDF
Richard Walsh

The full description is at Tim Stanley’s blog.

The four areas for a potential PhD student are: 1) democratic authority; 2) political radicalism; 3) gender; 4) post-colonial legacies.