Dr Robert Irving


Robert Irving was born and educated in Melbourne and received his BA (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne. Following submission of the dissertation entitled “Narrating New China: Chen Dengke, Liu Qing and the Politics of Literary Production (1949-1976)”,  in 2011 he was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Monash University

For the past few years his main area of responsibility has been as coordinator of the Chinese studies major, while also contributing to the wider educational leadership of the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics.

Robert is passionate about teaching Chinese as a second language, having taught Chinese at Melbourne Grammar School and RMIT. He began teaching on a permanent basis at Monash in the former Department of Asian Languages and Studies in 1990 and currently coordinates Chinese Intermediate, where he comes into contact with students in the second year of the introductory stream of Chinese language study as well as with first year students in the post-VCE stream.

His research interest continues to lie in the field of Chinese literature and political practices during the Maoist period.


Institution: Monash University
Year awarded: 2011

Institution: University of Melbourne
Year awarded: 1976


Journal articles

‘Implementation of Mao Zedong’s Yan’an “Talks” in the Subei Base Area—The Chen Dengke “Phenomenon”’, Asian Studies review, Volume 40, Number 3, September 2016, pp. 360–376

‘The Struggle between “Humanity” and “Party Spirit” in Maoist China—The case of Chen Dengke and Ding Ling’, Transcultural Studies—A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, Volume 8, Number 1, 2012, pp. 172–186.

Conference papers

‘The Chen Dengke Phenomenon—A Case of Affirmative Action in Maoist China’, Conference Proceedings of 17th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, June 2008, Melbourne, at: http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/mai/asaa/proceedings.php

June 2008: 17th Biennial Asian Studies Association of Australia Conference (Melbourne): ‘The Chen Dengke Phenomenon—A Case of Affirmative Action in Maoist China’.

November 2005 Monash University, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Research Cluster ‘Cultural bridges and Borders’ Conference: ‘Literary Production in China during the 1950s: Chen Dengke a case study’.

July 2001 Chinese Studies Association of Australia Conference, Canberra: ‘Mao’s Yan’an Guidelines on Literature and Art—Literary Production in China post–Yan’an’


‘Power Chinese 1.01’, CALICO Journal, Volume 17, Number 2, 1999, pp. 368–376.

Fifty Patterns of Modern Chinese’ by Han Dezhi”, Asian Studies Review, Volume 19, Number 1, July 1995, 141–143