Visiting Fellow am Dahlem Humanities Center
July 2020 – December 2021
World as Method. Cosmopolitan Thinking in German and Chinese Modernist Cultures
This project seeks to compare cosmopolitan thinking in Germany and China in the first half of the twentieth century and reads major works by thinkers such as Max Weber, Hermann von Keyserling, Liang Qichao, and Liang Shuming. In the current theoretical debate about cosmopolitanism, scholars point out that it is not necessarily always the nations or local cultures that construct incommensurable values and cause irreconcilable conflicts. Rather their visions of global orders and their expectations from others on an international scale give rise to disputes and disagreements. The vibrant intellectual exchanges between Europe and China and the cosmopolitan impulses among German and Chinese thinkers from the 1890s to the 1940s provide rich resources for exploring the conjunctions between capitalism, politics, cross-cultural practices, and the ethics of life in a comparative way.
Chunjie Zhang is currently associate professor of German at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Transculturality and German Discourse in the Age of European Colonialism (Northwestern UP 2017). Her research interests include the global eighteenth century, postcolonial theory, comparative modernisms, and Asian-German studies. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University, USA, after earning a Magister degree at Universität Tübingen and a BA from Peking University, China.