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Reflections on China's International Cultural Dialogue: Historical Perspectives and Their Current Significance

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Marianne Bastid-Bruguière from Institut de France in Paris on January 22 at the Confucius Institute at Freie Universität

№ 011/2018 from Jan 19, 2018

China's international cultural dialogue will be addressed in a lecture by the highly regarded sinologist Prof. Dr. Marianne Bastid-Bruguière from the Institut de France in Paris on January 22 at Freie Universität Berlin. In her lecture Bastid-Bruguière will describe the emergence of the concept of qiaology, which can be understood as learning from other cultures, and the transformation of this concept over the decades. She will describe the current rediscovery of this concept in literary and cultural studies and discuss its significance in the 21st century. The lecture will be in English. Admission is free, and registration not required.

During the first half of the 20th century, Chinese elites as well as the broad Chinese population engaged in an intensive exchange with the world outside of China. These contacts led to discussions in China about which techniques and knowledge from other cultures should be borrowed or adopted to improve one's way of life or to enrich China as a whole. Some influential Chinese intellectuals developed comprehensive reflections on the operation, benefits, and significance of international cultural dialogue. The founders of this reflection on dialogue were the members of a group around the agricultural economist and educator Li Shizeng (1881-1973). They conceptualized this "Qiaology," transferable as the learning of other cultures, as a separate form of learning and a tool for social development. After the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, this concept was forgotten. Around ten years ago it was rediscovered and further developed by Chinese scholars of comparative literature and cultural studies.

Sinologist Marianne Bastid-Bruguière is a member of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques des Institut de France in Paris. She is a professor emerita of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and has taught the history of present-day China at Université Paris Diderot (Universität Paris 7) and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). Bastid-Bruguière was deputy director of the Higher Normal School (1988-1993), president of the European Association of Chinese Studies (1992-1996), and is an honorary member of the CASS Institute of Modern History. Her research and publications cover the political, social, and cultural history of China from the early 19th century to the present.

Time and Location

  • Lecture title: Chinese early views of transnational cultural dialogue and their recent revival: Qiaology in the eyes of Li Shizeng and its new interpretation
  • Monday, January 22, 2018, 6:15 p.m.
  • Confucius Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, Goßlerstraße 2-4, 14195 Berlin. S-Bahnhof Lichterfelde-West (S1), Bus M48


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