Six research projects receive Academic Research Grant from the Cultural Affairs Bureau

Date of publication: 11/11/2019
Type: ---

In order to encourage original academic research on Macao’s culture and the exchanges between Macao, Mainland China and other countries, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) has set up the Academic Research Grant programme. After an evaluation process, six research projects from local and overseas scholars received the 2019 Academic Research Grant.

In order to ensure the integrity and impartiality of the selection process and in accordance with the Academic Research Grant Regulations, IC has commissioned the Institute for Social and Cultural Research of the Macau University of Science and Technology to organize a panel of experts in order to carry out an anonymous review of the applications and to provide academic comments to the Selection Panel. The Selection Panel was composed by Leong Wai Man, Vice-President of IC; Lee Kam Keung, Professor of Faculty of Social Sciences of the Hong Kong Baptist University; Hong Hsu, Professor of Faculty of History of the Nankai University, Tianjin; Li Qingxin, Director of the Institute of History of the Guangdong Academy of Social Science, and Tang Yuk Ling, Acting Head of the Division of Research and Publications of IC. After seeking advice from professionals and in-depth discussion, the Panel selected six research projects out of the 31 applications for this year’s Grant, namely:

I. “Research on French Hand-painted Ancient Maps of Macao from the 17th to the 19th Century” by researcher Wang Lan, who obtained his PhD from the China Academy of Art and currently works as an Associate Professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology. Adopting a combination of research methods such as iconography, cartology and history, this research project explores the early history of Macao and the shipping history of Macao and the vicinities of the Pearl River by studying a group of hand-painted maps collected in the Archives Nationales France, Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Navy Historical Documentation Centre. This research will study Macao’s urban landform, boundaries and coastlines from the first French hand-painted map of Macao, and will further explore the important historical incidents related to urban pattern, coverage expansion and changes of coastlines as recorded in the map of Macao printed by the East India Company. Meanwhile, this research will make an iconographic interpretation and comparative study on hand-painted and printed maps, so as to revisit the historical changes of Macao’s urban space and reveal the urban history of Macao during the Age of Discovery and the city’s significant position and role amidst the exchange between east and west.

II. “Procurators of Guangzhou and Macau: A social history of Modern Chinese Christianity” by researcher Liu Qinghua, who obtained a PhD in history from the Université de Recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres-Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and now works as a lecturer at Central China Normal University. This project aims to study how Macao acted as a key hub when Catholic missionaries arrived in China and started preaching, and how the Catholic procurators in Guangzhou and Macao exercised the important role of the Catholic Church in China. “Procurator system” is one of the distinguishing features in the history of the Catholic Church. “Procurators” refer to a unit responsible for the financial management of the Church, composed of the Church’s core or elite members who had an influence on the development of church affairs and internal affairs. Studying the “procurators” of the Catholic Church in China could give an insight into the relations between Macao and Europe or between Macao and Mainland China, which will be of special significance to research on the social history of the Catholic Church in China during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

III. “Manuel de Agote y Bonechea (1755-1803): Um basco do Iluminisno em Macau nos finais do século XVIII” (translated as “Manuel de Agote y Bonechea (1755-1803): An Enlightened Basque Figure in Macao in the Late 18th Century”) by researcher Ivo Manuel Veiga Carneiro de Sousa, who obtained a PhD in Portuguese culture (history) from the Universidade do Porto and was a former professor of the City University of Macau and the University of Saint Joseph. This project is a study on a diary manuscript written by a citizen from the Basque Country of in northern Spain, who was employed by the Spanish Royal Company (similar to the East India Company in Netherlands and Britain) and was sent by the Company to Guangzhou to serve as a supercargo in 1789. Due to the ban promulgated by the Chinese Government that no foreigners could stay in Guangzhou in winter, the diary’s author had to go to Macao to spend this season and thus travelled back and forth between the two cities every year. The diary records the author’s life in Guangzhou and Macao from 1789 to 1797, and presents a detailed record of the trade, livelihood and culture in the two cities during the same period with maps and drawings attached, providing valuable historical information for research on how Spanish people saw Macao in the 18th century.

IV. “Dharma Master Guanben and Studies of Macao” by researcher Ieong Hoi Keng, who obtained a PhD in library science (specialized in information management) from the Peking University and currently works in Macao Foundation. Revolving around Wizard Guanben from Macao Kong Tac Lam Temple, this research explores the relationship between the contemporary cultural history and the history of Buddhism of Macao. By studying the contributions made by Wizard Guanben to the contemporary development of Buddhism and culture in Macao, the research reveals the context of social and cultural changes in Macao and Lingnan, the relationship between pure land and meditation in Macao Buddhism, and female education in Macao Buddhism. This research gives an insight into the contemporary cultural and the history of Buddhism in Macao, as well as into the contemporary Chinese cultural history.

V. “Macau na instituição parlamentar portuguesa: 1821-1999” (translated as “Macao's Parliamentary Institutions in Portugal: 1821-1999”) by researcher Célia Maria Ferreira Reis, who obtained a PhD in history (contemporary history) from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and currently works as a instructor of the Agrupamento de Escolas Henriques Nogueira in Portugal. This research reviews the “parliamentarism” in Macao from 1821 to 1999. After the revolution in Portugal in 1820, Macao sent its representatives to the Portuguese Parliament in 1822 until Macao’s handover to China. Historically speaking, Portugal held a different attitude towards Macao than towards other colonies by allowing Macao representatives to enter the Portuguese Parliament, which was rarely seen in Europe. Such practice became an important link between Macao and Lisbon and contributed to the formation of the Macanese community. There is few research on “parliamentary history” in the field of Macao studies, so the research is expected to help fill the gaps in history.

VI. “Research Plan for Oral History and Archives of the Chinese-speaking Muslim Groups in Macao (1930-2000)” by researcher Hung Tak Wai, who obtained a PhD in philosophy (Chinese studies) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and currently works as a researcher of the Centre for the Study of Islamic Culture of the University. This research focuses on the history of the Chinese-speaking Muslim community in Macao from 1930 to 2000. Since the Chinese-speaking Muslim group is a marginal community in Macao, its social history usually receives less attention than the mainstream religious cultures of Christianity and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. There is not much research on contemporary Islamism in Macao, not to mention the lack of information on the Chinese-speaking Muslim community. The research will give an overview of the historical activities of this community in the form of oral history, as well as its relations with the counterparts in the neighbouring regions, thereby presenting the life of the Chinese-speaking Muslim community in Macao during the contemporary time, giving an in-depth description of the multicultural and religious exchange in contemporary Macao, as well as bringing new elements to the history of non-mainstream religions in Macao.

For details about the Academic Research Grant Regulations and the list of grantees, please visit IC’s website at For inquiries, please contact IC at 28366866 during office hours, or email to