Guopeng Chen

guopeng chen

St Cross Archaeology Graduate Scholarship

Joining us from: China

DPhil Archaeology (2021)

I’m from China and I use he/him pronouns. I was born in Anhui province, grew up in Jiangsu, did my undergrad in Beijing, recently moved to Zhejiang, and am now studying in Oxford. Geologically I was never attached to any of these “hometowns”. Yet, culturally I do identify myself as part of Jiangnan (江南,south-Yangtze-River). You will get a sense of what I mean by going to the Wu Guanzhong exhibition in the Ashmolean Museum.

My interests also spread across different academic landscapes. I did my undergraduate in archaeology and the program allows me to explore many different disciplines from history, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, to psychology, Chinese classics and English Literature. One beauty of archaeology is that it allows students to engage in theoretical and empirical thinking in all these subjects. Currently, I’m focusing on archaeological theory and Mesoamerican Archaeology. I’m interested in how humans interact with other humans, themselves, other species and things. My DPhil research focuses on how these different forms of interactions make some parts of the Maya world more resilient and survived the so-called “Maya collapse” in the 9th-11th centuries.

Outside academic reading and thinking, I enjoy playing badminton and volleyball. I’m playing for the University team for both sports. I also love museums and galleries and very recently, I was awarded the “top fan” from the Pitt Rivers Museum Facebook page. I am currently doing an internship at the Pitt Rivers, working on the decolonisation of the museum. The current project that we are working on is the D.I.E. Project (Digital Innovation and Engagement), where we create a digital platform and digital trails to engage the audience and encourage them to think about coloniality, hierarchy, ecology, etc.

I am extremely fortunate to be awarded the St Cross Archaeology Scholarship for my DPhil. It is the very reason that enables me to conduct my research and continue my academic pursuits in Oxford. St Cross have a small, yet very close and friendly community and I very much enjoy the lovely conversations and activities here! There are many interesting archaeologists here, focusing on different topics. I think all archaeology students will benefit a lot from this wonderful community!