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Vortrag Prof. Martin Powers (Univ. of Michigan): “The Shared Struggle for Freer Speech in Early Modern China and England”
April 24, 2017, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
In Song times Chinese scholars began collecting exemplary writings on social and political policy as study aids for examination candidates. These compilations included edicts on contrarian political speech by Emperor Han Wendi, and policy documents on equality by statesmen such as Jia Yi, Ouyang Xiu, and Su Shi. Emperor Kangxi had these collections compiled together as examples of the best legal and political thinking in the Chinese tradition. The Jesuits translated this collection into French in the 1730‘s, and this work was translated into English. Before long the “Free Thinkers” and other European progressives were making use of political arguments recorded there in their struggles against nepotism, cronyism, and aristocratic privilege. This paper examines the role of translingual practice in this process, balanced against considerations of structural necessity. As a third check, the paper compares ways in which visual art could be pressed into service in support of these struggles, both in China and in England.