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Prof. Dr. Bart Dessein (Ghent University, Belgium): Historical Narrative, Remembrance, and the Ordering of the World: A Historical Approach of China’s Contemporary Presence in Central Asia
January 17, 2020, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
China’s imperial history is characterized by the expansion and reduction of zones of Chinese cultural influence. This cultural influence also applies to Central Asia, which was part of China’s zone of cultural influence during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The literature portrays the Tang Emperor as the “Khan” of these regions. The territorial expansion of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) also brought parts of Central Asia into China’s polity, albeit under different political structures. For Europe as well, Central Asia developed into an “intermediate land,” an area inhabited by, among others, descendants of Hellenistic culture brought into the region by Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). The Central Asian region was also the link between Europe and the Far East through the presence of Europeans in the Mongolian Empire. In this lecture, the importance of the Chinese ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’ will be discussed against the backdrop of the “historical awareness” of China and Europe.