Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Carl Arendt (1838–1902) and the Development of Sinology

Lecture and Exhibition Opening on March 20, 2017, at Confucius Institute at Freie Universität

№ 057/2017 from Mar 16, 2017

On March 20, 2017, in a lecture at the Confucius Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, the sinologist Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Mechthild Leutner from Freie Universität Berlin will present the results of her recent research on the early history of German-Chinese relations and the work of Carl Arendt (1838–1902). Arendt, a German linguist and Chinese studies scholar, has received little attention in accounts of the history of sinology up to now, but he was a pioneer in German sinology with regard to modern Chinese, according to Mechthild Leutner. The lecture will mark the opening of an exhibition curated by Leutner, "Carl Arendt (1838–1902) and the Development of Sinology." It will be on display from March 21 through July 27, 2017, in the Confucius Institute in Dahlem. The event is public, and admission to the lecture and the exhibition is free.

Carl Arendt studied linguistics at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin, which is today Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He worked as an interpreter and conducted research and taught as a professor of Chinese at the Seminar for Oriental Languages. Arendt played a decisive role in the German colonial policy in China and in the process or professionalizing sinology in Germany, says Leutner. Using his life and work as an example, Leutner analyzes the interweaving of colonial history and the history of knowledge. "By taking into account social history and family history – Arendt came from a Jewish family that converted to Christianity – it is possible to make history come alive from "the bottom up." With the biographical dimension, new, illustrative perspectives on colonial expansion and the history of sinology are possible," adds Leutner. In her lecture, she will illustrate the short social rise of a Jewish family after the Prussian emancipation laws of 1812 to the social descent and persecution of the descendants of Carl Arendt during National Socialism.

Mechthild Leutner is an internationally recognized sinologist who deals with the history of modern China in its political, social, and cultural dimensions using an innovative methodological-theoretical perspective. She has initiated numerous German-Chinese collaborative projects in research and teaching. She has published many works, including some published in Chinese. Since 1995 she has been editing a monograph series, Berliner China-Studien, and since 1991 the semi-annual sinology journal Berliner China-Hefte / Chinese History and Society as well as the six-volume series Quellen zur Geschichte der deutsch-chinesischen Beziehungen 1897–1995. Leutner is a member of several advisory boards of Chinese journals and international journals dealing with China. She is a visiting professor at Peking University and Nanjing University.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Monday, March 20, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
  • Exhibition: March 21 through July 27, 2017
  • Confucius Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, Lecture Hall 203, Goßlerstraße 2-4, 14195 Berlin. S-Bahnhof Lichterfelde-West (S1), Bus M48.


Sören Vogler, Confucius Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-72881, Email: info@konfuziusinstitut-berlin.de