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ZHANG Chunjie (University of California at Davis), “Weber, China and Cultural Pessimism”
May 3, 2018, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
This talk attempts to read Max Weber’s treatise on Chinese Confucianism and Taoism, contained in his magnum opus Wirtschaftsethik der Weltreligionen, as a critique of a rationalism that Weber sees as the core component of Christian puritanism and as the foundational force for the rise of capitalism in Europe and America. This talk is cautious about understanding Weber’s theoretical effort as a triumphant historicist and cultural legitimation for European capitalism in the early twentieth century. Rather it discusses a deep cultural pessimism that informs Weber’s transcultural endeavor. Moreover, the talk hopes to develop the concept “world as method” through the reading of Weber’s works.
ZHANG Chunjie is Associate Professor of German at the University of California, Davis, USA. During the next three years, an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship for experienced scholars will enable her to spend 18 months researching at the Global and Transregional Studies Platform and at the Department of East Asian Studies of the Georg-August-University Göttingen (in cooperation with Dominic Sachsenmaier). Her research interests include the global 18th century, postcolonial theory, comparative literary modernism, and Asian-German studies. In 2017, her book Transculturality and German Discourse in the Age of European Colonialism has been published by Northwestern University Press. In her current project “World as a Method: Cosmopolitan thinking in German and Chinese Modern Cultures” she tries to compare cosmopolitan thinking in the German and Chinese discourse of the early twentieth century.