A university professor must endeavor to make students want to learn. This desire may consist of an open mind, a desire to know more or even to go further in the initial knowledge of the field taught.Florence-NewsÉric FLORENCE, Associate Professor in Chinese Studies. Picture : ©MichelHouet.


fter studying Chinese studies in Paris (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales), China and UCL (DES in International Relations and Political Science) from 1988 to 1993, from 1993 to 1996, Éric Florence worked as a Chinese, English and French interpreter in the field of iron and steel in France and Spain for a company specialized in the field of cold rolling mills and direct current electric furnaces. From 1996, he began his career at the University of Liège as an assistant at the Centre d'études chinoises of the University of Liège. In 1999, he joined the Centre d'études de l'ethnicité et des migrations (CEDEM) where he carried out research  (Walloon Region and Federal Science Policy) on migration and integration issues, while starting a PhD under the supervision of Marco Martiniello and Jean-Philippe Béja (Science po, CERI, Paris). "Since 2001, I have been teaching courses on contemporary Chinese society at the University of Liège while teaching in the field of Chinese language at the Institut Libre Marie-Haps, the Institut libre des Traducteurs et Interprètes (ISTI) and as a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges (2005-2010). Following my PhD in political and social science, I was appointed Assistant researcher, then Senior researcher and then Associate professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (2015). From September 2015 to the end of August 2019, I headed the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC), one of 27 Mixed Units of French Research Institutes Abroad (CNRS and Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs) based in Hong Kong with two branches in Beijing and Taipei. During these four years in Hong Kong, I was also director of publication for China Perspectives  a peer-reviewed scientific journal focusing on contemporary China. My research in relation to contemporary China focuses on power issues in post-Maoist China and on forms of mediating the experiences of rural migrant workers in Chinese cities."

A fair balance between research, teaching and participation in public debates

"Through his or her pedagogical skills, passion, knowledge and experience in the field in question, a university professor ought to work to inspire students. This desire may simply consist of an open mind, a desire to know more or, by oneself, to go further in the initial knowledge of the field being taught. The teacher's involvement in research gives depth and dynamism to the taught courses. In particular in the human and social sciences, professor should do their best to contribute to nurturing students’ critical thinking in an increasingly complex world. To paraphrase Michel Foucault, it is a matter of fostering a state of concern about the world in which we live, a state of constant questioning and reflexivity in relation to categories of thought and action that seem established.

Finally, the professor-researcher has to try to find a fair balance between the time spent in research and work within the university on the one hand and participation in public debates when it falls within his or her field of competence on the other."

Contact Information

Éric Florence

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