China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

(32) Collaboration, Competition and Intelligentsia Circle for a New China Horizon

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Johnson, Mezzanine Level

Intellectual ideas are never produced in a vacuum. It emerges from debates, collaboratively or contestably, across cultures and continents. This panel explores the formation of intelligentsia circles that takes the form of both cooperation and competition with their intellectual other, whereby new linguistic dispositions, conceptual apparatus, and modes of explicating patterns are formed. Four papers echo on the concept of shared horizon, expounded by Peter Gordon, while focusing on the different possible content of the proposition “What is China,” in relation to the framework of traditional Sinology and modern Chinese studies. DesForges’s paper studies the Qing academics who downplayed the instrumental purpose of the civil examination system to inquire into an analytical understanding of the system’s inner strength. The format of these inquiries was as radical as those produced by the learned societies in Europe. Saarela’s paper explores the dialectical vision reflected through a group of European Sinological grammaticians on deciphering the Manchu language in the academic arena. The paper concludes that this effort has finally taken stride when individual animosity was discarded. Kwan discusses the hostility conjured during the race of understanding China by the British and the French imperial interpreters in the nineteenth century. Using the firsthand experiences with the local Chinese people, the British shaped a new phase of Chinese studies in Anglophone world.  Chen argues for a subtle collaboration of appropriating the Athenian legacy by both sides of China’s 1920s cultural war, which underlined rediscovery and reincarnation of classical Chinese heritage in China’s post-classical age.

Presentations:

Uganda Sze Pui Kwan

Nanyang Technological University, Not Applicable, Singapore

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Jingling Chen

Middlebury College, Vermont

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Theodore Huters

University of California, Los Angeles, California

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Alexander Des Forges

University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts

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Marten Soderblom Saarela

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany

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Uganda Sze Pui Kwan

Nanyang Technological University, Not Applicable, Singapore

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Jingling Chen

Middlebury College, Vermont

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Theodore Huters

University of California, Los Angeles, California

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