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Lecture Prof. Hsiung Ping-Chen (The Chinese University of Hong Kong): Chinese Humanities in the Global Era
July 6, 2016, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
The Term “Humanities” is often used in reference to disciplinary academic humanities: a modern, institutional subject. That its development is usually a product (or byproduct) of cultural politics in nation-building can be taken for granted. In the case of China, however, the long and complicated civilization evidenced before the modern era—since Neolithic times, with literary texts that date back thousands of years—presents us with the particular problem of deciding whether “national” is the best and most representative designation for the evolution of Chinese humanities as a disciplinary subject or for the cultural heritage behind it. The developmental phases of Chinese humanities provide us with a good tool for considering the nature of “national” humanities in an era that is increasingly global. The fact that “Chinese” humanistic studies are the product of an ancient civilization has also given them an undeniable regional quality, which explains why they continue to exhibit characteristics that appear to be more broadly “East Asian.” In crises or opportunities involving Chinese academic and public humanities, therefore, the interplay of this national and intrinsically regional character may help scholars to address the complex yet fundamental questions behind the assumption that any humanities can be labeled as national or regional in this global era.