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09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1A: Music and Performing Arts (1) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Yuanzheng Yang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Yuanzheng Yang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Simon Debierre (École Pratique des Hautes Études-PSL, France)
Yizhou Wang (Heidelberg University, Germany)
He Lin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Xiaodan Wu (Shanghai Conservatory of Music, China)
(HYBRID) Remaking the Qin Zither: When Music, Images, and Texts Meet

ABSTRACT. Organizers: Yizhou WANG, Simon DEBIERRE Chair: YANG Yuanzheng Participants: Yizhou WANG, Simon DEBIERRE, He LIN, WU Xiaodan

This interdisciplinary panel investigates the “remaking” of the ancient but still “lively” instrument, the qin 琴 zither. Ranging from late imperial China to the modern and contemporary periods, it explores this art through a wide range of approaches, including source studies, music history, musicology and ethnomusicology, cultural studies, art history, and gender studies. It covers varied aspects of the qin, from the character-based classical notation system to masters and regional schools, from woodblock-printed handbooks to ink or colored paintings, and from male literati to attractive women.

Through four research papers, this panel attempts to bring scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds into dialogues and reshape our understanding of the qin zither. Simon DEBIERRE explores the music history of qin handbooks by analyzing the evolution in the authorship of this genre that flourished since the Ming dynasty. Yizhou WANG focuses on the representations of the qin and women players in paintings through the lens of gender and argues that the musical iconography of qin could be an emblem of female chastity. He LIN illuminates the cultural significance of the classical qin notation system jianzipu 減字譜, “character-reduced notation,” and explains its irreplaceability faced with the promotion of the modern staff notation system. WU Xiaodan questions the criteria of defining the schools of qin in modern China by offering a fresh look at the legacy of ZHANG Ziqian (1899-1991), a representative figure of the Guangling school.

Musiking for Print? The Development of Qin Zither Handbooks in Late Imperial China


Since the Ming dynasty and until the beginning of the 20th century, over a hundred different qinpu 琴譜 (handbooks for qin zither) have been published and preserved in China. Part of this collection is still actively in use today among the heirs of this living musical tradition. This paper studies the historical development of qin zither handbooks as a genre. Indeed, the content of the qinpu has remained homogeneous throughout the centuries. It is structured on the one hand by a repertoire of more than 650 monodies overall, sometimes paired with lyrics, and transcribed with a unique system of tablatures that uses abbreviated sinograms. On the other hand, it provides a guide into this art with coherent notes including musical treatises, notices on fingering imagery, illustrations of instruments, lists of famous composers, etc. More specifically, paratextual writings such as prefaces or verse endorsements are frequently attached. Written by the authors themselves or by renowned cquaintances, they reflect the social context behind the publishing of these commentaries along with the rest of the handbook. Such information can include the publication date, place, and process, or the relationship between the paratextual writer and its author, as well as critical discourses on music. From this perspective, this research aims to produce a preliminary framework to explore the evolution of the qinpu. It questions the social and geographic shifts in the authorship of this literature that has played an essential role in literati culture and the transmission of musical knowledge.

Musiking Chastity: Women, Gender, and the Sound of Qin Zither in Paintings and Texts

Yizhou WANG

In the Confucian discourse on music, the proper music assisted in maintaining moral order and good governance; in contrast, the wanton music resulted in corruption and collapse of the government. The music by female performers (nüyue 女樂) was often considered corruptive and dangerous. Scholars have discussed the interrelations between the qin zither and the male literati ideal and self-cultivation. What about the meanings of representing women playing the noble qin zither? What if the female qin players were courtesans or prostitutes who belonged to the “mean” (jian 賤) social category of people? This paper attempts to enrich the perception of qin music from art historical and gender perspectives. It has been known that qin played an active role in communicating the intimate messages of affection and passionate emotions between lovers. Through the close reading of paintings and texts, this research shows how women’s association with the qin music became parallel to their moral ethics and served the idea of musiking their female chastity and faithfulness. It argues that the Ming dynasty representations of women’s enthusiasm for qin, rather than the other popular musical instruments for female entertainers (e.g., zheng zither, pipa lute), negotiated and shifted the social and gender identities of the controversial women in Chinese Confucian context. It also contributes to our understanding on the qin performance as part of the “talented woman” (cainü才女) imagery in modern and contemporary China.

Replacing or Not? Jianzipu Notation System as a Cultural Innovation


Jianzipu 減字譜 (lit. notation in abbreviated characters) is the tablature for qin zither, based on Chinese characters and invented especially for this musical instrument in the Tang dynasty. This paper explains the unique features of jianzipu in order to find out whether or not jianzipu is irreplaceable, and if not, for what reasons. In this notation system, the pitch and rhythm are not indicated. Therefore, there were attempts in the 19th and 20th centuries to add the information to jianzipu or remove jianzipu in favor of western notation systems (Five-line Staff or jianpu 簡譜), or even invent a new notation system to record qin music. However, jianzipu has never been replaced since its invention in the 8th century, while the notations of most Chinese musical instruments were substituted with western notation systems. Besides Jianzipu, there were several character systems in the past, which were based on the structure of Chinese characters, e.g., Kitan script and Jurchen script. In the 1990s XU Bing 徐冰 created the “false” Chinese characters in his Tianshu天書 (Book from the Sky). Furthermore, it compares the primary differences between these character systems in different aspects. A key aim is to deconstruct the structures of jianzipu and typical jianzi characters to explore the significance of jianzipu as an innovative, operative, enigmatic but playful Chinese-character-based notation system. It argues that, instead of replacing Jianzipu, though technically possible, we could reconsider jianzipu from a “regressive” and “unscientific” notation to a vital and creative cultural phenomenon and technique.

Schools of Qin zither in Modern China. The case of ZHANG Ziqian (1899-1991) from the Guangling school

Xiaodan WU

Qinpai 琴派 (schools of qin zither) has been an important phenomenon in the development of qin culture. Flourishing in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the names of such schools were area-based. Since then, around ten different schools have been handed down up to the present day. Their formation was closely related to different factors such as area, practices, and the transmission of handbooks from master to disciples. Along with the major socio-economic shifts that occurred during the Qing dynasty, literati culture, as well as the social interactions of qin players, were deeply impacted. Schools of qin have been passed on locally but also transregionally, therefore forming new schools. But did these transformations present a comprehensive system with defined criteria? The research on this issue mainly centers on the representative figures of one’s school. Following this perspective, this paper focuses on ZHANG Ziqian 張子謙 (1899-1991) as a case study for the Guangling school of qin. In particular, it analyzes the events that impacted the evolution of this school and questions the definition criteria of its lineage as well as the master-disciples transmission.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1B: Religion (2) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Giorgio Strafella (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Richard Ellguth (Free University of Berlin, Germany)
Chinese Buddhism and the Comparative Study of Christianity in Republican China

ABSTRACT. By the early 20th century, Chinese Buddhists could already look back on a long history of Buddhist-Christian confrontation in China. During the presence of the Jesuits that had started in the early 17th century, Buddhist authors like Yunqi Zhuhong 雲棲祩宏 (1535-1615) wrote essays in order to refute the doctrines and religious practices of the Christians. During the heyday of the Protestant missions in China in the 19th century, Buddhists also contributed to a largely anti-Christian climate. For both historical episodes, it can be concluded that whatever knowledge Buddhists received in their engagement with Christianity would be measured against traditional Buddhist concepts and practices such as karma or the non-killing of animals. In Republican China, however, a number of Buddhists would make in-depth investigations of Christianity that have to be understood in terms of a "comparative study of religions". Not only were many Buddhists reading Christian texts with great precision, but they also drew on definitions of religion by Western philosophers like Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) or theologians like James Martineau (1805-1900). It will be argued, that in these discourses, Christianity was no longer contextualized as a teaching to simply argue against, but as an interesting case example of a religion that would stimulate Buddhists to debate on recent concepts such as “atheism”, “religious experience” or “transcendence”. Using Buddhist journals of the Republican era as its source material, this paper will analyze contributions of famous Buddhists like Taixu 太虛 (1890-1947) and lesser-known figures such as Zhang Ruzhao 張汝釗 (1900-1969).

Suphacha Sriratanaban (Chiang Mai University, Thailand)
Chao Po Muang Kae: The Chinese Who Became a Local Deity in Muang Mae Hong Son of Thailand

ABSTRACT. Chao Po Muang Kae is a tutelary deity of Chinese origin worshipped by Tai Yai people in the Muang district of Mae Hong Son, Thailand. The objective of this article is to investigate the identity of Chao Po Muang Kae and the factors leading to his deification, and to examine the local perception of the deity’s Chinese identity, through the analysis of local legend and data obtained from fieldwork observations and interviews. It is found that Chao Po Muang Kae was likely a Tai Yai of Yunnanese descent originally from the Shan State who established himself in Mae Hong Son as a respected healer with divine powers. There are two main factors influencing the deification of Chao Po Muang Kae. The sacredness with which the character has been endowed has allowed him to transform from a living person to a divine spirit, and eventually to a tutelary deity, while the creation of the deity statue has helped to add credibility to the legend and strengthen the position of Chao Po Muang Kae as a Tai Yai chao muang. It is also found that the local Tai Yai have chosen to use objects such as chopsticks and Chinese silk shirts as markers of the deity’s ethnic and cultural identity. Meanwhile, the ethnic Chinese of different origins have come to identify with the Chinese background of the deity, and incorporated Chinese beliefs and traditions into the worship of Chao Po Muang Kae as a way of asserting their own Chinese heritage.

Severina Balabanova (National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan)
Imagining Nature: Animal and Plant Images in Shuijing zhu and Fayuan zhulin

ABSTRACT. In research on medieval Chinese Buddhism the question of amalgamation of worldviews and self-perception through the lens of a foreign religion has fascinated scholars for centuries.

The aim of this paper is to study this broad topic by comparing the images of animals and plants in Northern Wei Dynasty Li Daoyuan’s (d. 527) Shuijing zhu and Tang Dynasty Daoshi’s (596-683) Fayuan zhulin in the hope to highlight the ways in which the natural world participates in the complex process of structuring and transforming worldviews. The underlying assumption is to explore differences in epistemological and symbolic significance behind images of the natural world.

These differences present themselves in multiple forms: a shift, a confluence, a transfer, or a transformation of meanings. Moreover, both works use a large number of texts to describe, comment or elucidate the implied meaning of the images, hence the complexity of the represented tradition of natural history.

Focusing on several examples, this research will first outline the specifics of nature writing in Shuijing zhu, observing the images of animals and plants, and the connotation attached to them. Second, it will map these images onto Fayuan zhulin, explore the conceptual accents of the chapters they appear in and analyze the epistemological value they have in this religious discourse. Lastly, the paper will consider oppositions such as real/imaginary, superior/inferior, center/periphery, detailed/general, at the same time emphasizing the importance of cross-genre research approach.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1C: Literature (Modern) (4) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Auditorium Maximum)
Petr Janda (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Shuowin Chen (NCCU, Taiwan)
(ONLINE) Sailing to "Meridian": A Study of the Translation of Modern Chinese Literature in French Shanghai Daily (Le journal de Shanghai)

ABSTRACT. French Shanghai Daily (Le journal de Shanghai) was founded in 1927 by Jean Fontenoy (1899-1945), and funded by the French Chamber of Commerce. It was published for more than ten years and sold thousands of copies daily. French Shanghai Daily was not only circulated in the French Concession of Shanghai, but also distributed to other French colonies. It was the most important French newspaper published in Republican China. French Shanghai Daily was rich in content. It also included literature columns on weekends. From January 1934 to the end of that year, the newspaper's weekend supplement added a column entitled "Today's Chinese Literature" (La littérature chinoise d'aujourd'hui), which published the French translation of works by Lu Xun (1881-1936), Guo Moruo (1892-1978), Wang Duqing (1898-1940), and other Chinese writers. These works were translated by Xu Zhongnian (1904-1981), a scholar who had studied in France. Xu was also a translator of foreign literature in China. How did Xu Zhongnian translate modern Chinese literature to readers in French Shanghai Daily? What were his translation strategies and achievements? And what kind of role did Xu play during the process of modern Chinese literature entering the world literary space? Although Xu Zhongnian’s translation was not entirely unnoticed by scholars, his translation and introduction of modern Chinese literature in the French Shanghai Daily has attracted relatively little attention. Borrowing the point of view of the making of world literature, this paper examines the cultural connotation of Xu Zhongnian’s transcultural translation practices at the early republic period.

Hiu Lam Kwok (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) Dual “Locality” in Taiwan: East Asia Eco-cosmopolitanism in Wu Ming-yi’s Novels

ABSTRACT. Ursula K. Heise proposed “eco-cosmopolitanism” based on “imagined communities”, advocating a conception that transcends individuals, nations, and places to envision the relationship between different species, explore ways to establish connections with the natural world, and construct new local imaginations. This article attempts to point out that the novels of Taiwanese writer Wu Ming-yi not only echo Heise’s eco-cosmopolitanism, but also further express a local reflection on “Taiwaneseness”. Wu Ming-yi’s so-called “accumulated Taiwaneseness” refers to the constantly changing and accumulated Taiwaneseness based on the culture of the indigenous peoples. On the other hand, it also refers to Taiwan, which is in line with the world with the world myth system and the global ecological crisis. In addition, Wu Ming-yi’s reflections on Taiwaneseness help to explore the meaning of “East Asian perspective”. “East Asia” is a vague foreign concept, and Korean historian Baik Youngseo believes that the “dual peripheral perspective” helps us to rethink the relationship between “center-periphery” and “local-world”, and is an important condition for establishing an East Asian introspective subject. Taking Wu Ming-yi’s novel as a research case study, this paper explores the following two major questions: first, how eco-cosmopolitanism from an East Asian perspective shows the role of place-consciousness, and what kind of identity is reflected in the writer’s posture of being both local and worldly; second, how does this local-centered cosmopolitan tendency respond to the cultural politics of the Sinophone world, and how to present the intention of East Asian Chinese literature to integrate with the world.

Letizia Fusini (SOAS, UK)
The revival of dramatic tragedy in 1930s China and Spain: comparing Cao Yu and Federico García Lorca’s coeval tragic trilogies

ABSTRACT. In 1933, the Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) declared in an interview that “without a tragic feeling there is no theatre”. A year later, he expressed his willingness to revitalize the then declining Spanish theatre through a “return to tragedy”, a dramatic genre which he associated with the archaic culture of the rural population of his native Andalusia. In the same year, Cao Yu (1910-1996) completed the first play of his tragic trilogy: Thunderstorm (雷雨), a work set in a modern urban context yet suffused with references to an outdated and repressive society, quite akin to the one depicted by Lorca. By choosing a tragic form for his first play, Cao Yu was responding to the general call for a renewal of the traditional theatre of China through the adoption of Western tragedy, hailed as an epitome of the “modern”. This paper aims to investigate the relationship between modernity and tragedy through a comparison of Cao Yu and Lorca’s coeval tragic trilogies, with particular attention to Lorca’s Yerma (1934) and Cao Yu’s Thunderstorm (1933). More precisely, it seeks to establish how Lorca and Cao Yu bring together those two apparently incompatible categories and how they construct a transcultural tragic discourse grounded on the representation of the regional realities of 1930s Andalusia and northern China, and on a ritualistic view of the dramatic medium.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1D: Interdisciplinary (2) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Natalia Ryzhova (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Gina Song Lopez (Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Sweden)
From 素食(Sùshí) to 蔬食(Shūshí): New plant-based lifestyles in the Sino-cultural sphere

ABSTRACT. Veganism and plant-based diets have come under the spotlight in recent years under growing efforts to adopt sustainable and ethical lifestyles around the world. Mirroring these developments there is now a nascent movement in East Asia dedicated to promoting plant-based diets. Yet, meatless diets are nothing particularly new in a region that has a long-documented history of vegetarianism. In the case of Taiwan, vegan and vegetarian diets have been traditionally associated with religious practice. Most commonly Buddhism, religious groups like Yīguàndào or Guānyīn fǎmén, and temporary vegetarianism under personal vows known as ‘Huányuàn’. Nevertheless, the new generation of plant-based food advocates in Taiwan seek to disentangle meatless diets from spirituality, elevating issues of animal rights and climate change into the public agenda. In this paper I will introduce the actors involved in the rise of the new plant-based food movement in Taiwan and explore their work promoting ethical meatless lifestyles through vegan fairs and public outreach. This paper will draw from ongoing participatory-observational data, interviews, and digital ethnography conducted in connection to my doctoral research project. This study aims to contribute to increasing knowledge of new social movements in the context of Taiwan’s green movements, expand accounts of animal advocacy in East Asia, and to highlight the distinctive case of veganism and vegetarianism in the Sino-cultural context.

Wei Wu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Institutional Foundations of Big Businesses—A Comparison of Diasporic Conglomeration across East Asia

ABSTRACT. This paper explores the business model of conglomerates through two case studies within and beyond the Chinese paradigm. One is called Tongshuntai—a Chinese diasporic company based on the Korean peninsula from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, regarded as the prototype of Japanese zaibatsus and Korean chaebols—the key engines of economic growth in modern East Asia. The other is the Swire Group—a British company which started as a small trading firm, grew into a multinational enterprise with a focus on China and managed to further prosper long after the decline of the British empire, manifesting European influence in Asia. I will elucidate how Tongshuntai set up a model for pan-East Asian conglomerates and compare the business networks and management practices with the Swire Group, in order to identify common patterns of conglomeration across regional and ethnic boundaries. Additionally, I will investigate how they diverge or converge with Chandler's model of managerial capitalism drawn from the American experience. Adopting an "integrative history" and longue durée perspective, I will investigate the institutional transformations of conglomerates in the "horizontal continuity" of global demographic, sociocultural, technological and geopolitical forces and further conceptualize the professionalization of business management in parallel with the rationalization of state bureaucracy in the broader context of institutionalization in social science.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1E: Philosophy and History of Thought (4) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Ondřej Kučera (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Jonathan Truffert (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Towards a Typology of the Chinese “Family Instructions” (jiaxun 家訓)

ABSTRACT. Following the reform era and the subsequent crave for educational manuals, the term jiaxun 家訓 have become ubiquitous in the Chinese publishing world, and is not limited anymore to the reprinting of illustrious books such as the Family Instructions of the Yan Clan or of family rules that used to accompany genealogies. The term is now established to the point of being juxtaposed to all kinds of texts as long as they are somehow perceived as being related to moral instruction. But it remains ill-defined. If it is already clear – as a glance in jiaxun anthologies quickly shows – that formal features are not defining, their function of moral advices is not entirely sufficient either. Firstly, this function can be broken down into finer ones, more or less present depending on the title: a function of moral edification in the form of direct advices, but also a biographical one (the author himself acting as an example) and a referential one (cultural elements whose mastery is deemed essential). These three functions give the term a multi-layered horizon of expectation. Secondly, this seemingly one-dimensional moral endeavor hides some tensions intrinsic to the literati class, and which make the jiaxun an ideological battlefield. Failing to acknowledge these tensions would mean neglecting the fundamental intention of jiaxun that is to help the individual, political and cultural positioning of the family’s younger members.

Xiyin Zhou (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), France)
A Contemporary Turn in the Problem of Chinese Philosophy: from “Chinese Philosophy” to “Philosophy in Chinese”

ABSTRACT. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the question of the nature of Chinese thought has been explicitly addressed, but at that time, the question was mainly whether there is a philosophy in China or whether Chinese thought can be considered as a kind of philosophy. The question of language — the particular linguistic structure of the Chinese language and its pragmatic aspect — was only in the background. However, since the 1990s, the problem of Chinese philosophy has undergone an important change. The reflection on the theoretical use of the Chinese language itself, which was previously in the background, came to the foreground and even became the focus of the issue, especially since many Chinese intellectuals in the second half of the twentieth century are increasingly concerned with the question of how philosophy in Chinese language is possible. Thus, the question whether traditional Chinese thought also counts as a kind of philosophy takes a back seat, becoming relatively minor. The reversal of the structure of this problem of Chinese thought in the last hundred years is not only closely related to the pace of the evolution of contemporary Chinese intellectual history, but also to the deepening of Chinese intellectuals' self-understanding of the identity issue, which, in the final analysis, is in fact a question of the shared identity of all contemporary intellectuals who use Chinese as their working language.

Marie Schierhorn (University of Hamburg, Germany)
Traces of a segmentary society in the Mengzi

ABSTRACT. In the 20th century, ethnologists such as Fei Xiaotong made an interesting observation during their fieldwork in the Chinese countryside: many phenomena in this backward peasant society could be explained surprisingly well with the help of Confucian classics. Focussing on the Mengzi, the present paper explores how this observation fits with a text considered the epitome of higher ethical standards, scholarship and statesmanship. The study draws from ethnological and sociological research on rural societies—so-called segmentary societies—and discusses different aspects of this specific social structure, notably the importance of the family, the lack of moral universalism and the role of reciprocity. Through close reading of relevant text passages, it will be shown that the semantic traces of a segmentary social structure can indeed be observed in the Mengzi. This may allow future research to describe concepts of morality and rulership in the Mengzi in a fundamentally new way.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1F: Politics and International Relations (3) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Lisa Indraccolo (Tallinn University, Estonia)
Lisa Indraccolo (Tallinn University, Estonia)
Ariane Knuesel (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
Simona Grano (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Ralph Weber (University of Basel, Switzerland)
Johan Lagerkvist (Stockholm University, Sweden)
(HYBRID) Neutral States and the USA-China Rivalry

ABSTRACT. Chair: Lisa Indraccolo

Recent years have seen increasing in talk about a New Cold War. While this concept has been debated heavily, the panel uses the example of two small European neutral nations, Switzerland and Sweden, which were caught between the USA and China in the (original) Cold War and have, once again, been facing tough decisions in recent times. The panel’s papers analyze Switzerland’s and Sweden’s dealings and relationships with both China and the USA to discuss and compare historical and contemporary issues that small neutral nations face in the current era of growing polarization. The panel begins with a discussion on the way the USA tried to interfere with Swiss relations with China in the Cold War, when China used Switzerland as its European headquarters, and how Switzerland tried to balance its relations with both powers. The second and third papers examine Switzerland and Sweden’s recent positioning and foreign policy directions. Increasing tensions between China and the US have been making the world of international relations much more complicated. This is particularly the case for small powers with a history of neutrality, which have at times been reluctant to take openly partisan positions towards one power or the other.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place: China’s European Headquarters in Switzerland and Swiss relations with the USA in the Cold War

Ariane Knüsel

This paper discusses how China’s use of Switzerland as a European hub in the Cold War caused tensions between Switzerland, the USA and China, and how Switzerland tried to balance neutrality, economic interests, and foreign policy in a way that avoided outright confrontation with either the USA or China. In the Cold War, the Swiss government wanted to establish Switzerland as a neutral mediator between the Eastern and Western blocs. For this, it was crucial that Switzerland’s neutrality was respected by all major powers. As a result, Switzerland was among the first Western powers to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1950. This became a problem for Swiss relations with the USA because China immediately started using Switzerland as a hub for Chinese economic, political, and intelligence networks in Europe. For the USA, this was unacceptable, and the US government used economic and political pressure to force the Swiss government to tighten the screws on the Chinese operating from Switzerland. However, Switzerland had to avoid following the USA’s lead too much or it would have lost its credibility as a neutral power. Faced with the lure of the Chinese market and preferential treatment of the Swiss by the Chinese on the one hand, and the protection and trade of the USA on the other, the Swiss found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A small and neutral state in the great power rivalry: Switzerland’s response

Ralph Weber and Simona Grano

This paper, dealing with Switzerland and its foreign policy in the present era of growing polarization, address a puzzle that poses itself to Switzerland given its long-standing, but evolving practice of neutrality. After providing an overview of the literature in the field of small states studies, the chapter addresses the issue of how ‘smallness’ plays out in face of the increased influence and pressure exerted over Switzerland to position itself in the growing competition between China and the United States of America. Can Switzerland afford to remain neutral between the two superpowers? The authors shall evaluate the Swiss government’s more recent response to pressure coming from both China, the US and the EU, in the growing strategic competition by evaluating several documents in which these countries/parties are addressed and differently framed.

The China Nudge: Naivety, Neutrality and Non-alignment in Sweden

Johan Lagerkvist

This paper is a preliminary attempt to understand how political naivety has been, and still is, used as a battering ram in Swedish political debate, especially regarding foreign policy and issues of national security and international cooperation. Which actors frame the debate this way and to what purpose? Specifically, his chapter sets out to shed some light on “Swedish naivety” in relation to China, and the “awakening” to what kind of challenge China under president Xi Jinping presents to Sweden. In the end the author provides an answer regarding what his country’s path foresees, choosing sides, remaining neutral or opting for issue-based criteria, to dictate its policy-making choices.

09:00-10:30 Session SD3-1G: Literature (Premodern) (2) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Lectorium)
Barbara Witt (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)
Barbara Witt (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)
Raffaela Rettinger (Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg (JMU Wuerzburg), Germany)
Elizabeth Smithrosser (IIAS, Leiden, Netherlands)
Ambivalent Heroes in Late Imperial Chinese Literature

ABSTRACT. Premodern Chinese literature, historiography and hagiography tells us stories of heroes who carry quite a large amount of ambiguity with them. In the hands of different authors, commentators, and critics, they can have the capacity to become shining examples of valor and prowess, heroic antagonists, or notoriously duplicitous scoundrels. Some heroes are presented with a certain ambivalence as part of their character design. Others change roles between retellings of their stories, be it because they need to conform to the new environments they inhabit, or because a new author wants to make a point about the predecessor narratives. This panel will discuss several literary, historical and religious “heroes” as they move, or are moved, between the roles of antagonist and protagonist, hero and villain. In this process, their abilities and stories largely stay the same, while their characters are reimagined, reinterpreted, or recontextualized. Those changes need not be wide in scope either, with the most determined authors or commentators using small details placed with intention to convey profoundly different characteristics. In this way, self- confidence becomes arrogance, adaptability becomes hypocrisy, adherence to principles becomes inflexible stubbornness, and vice versa. It comes as no surprise then, that writers through the ages found characters who carry a certain ambivalence within them, a fascinating subject for reinterpretation.

1) Barbara Witt (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) Hero or Antagonist? God Erlang Fighting the Monkey Spirit in the Mountains Erlang 二郎 was a popular exorcist deity in late imperial China who made his name as a slayer of a flood dragon (jiao 蛟) and exorcist of a whole menagerie of other animal demons. One such exorcistic excursion is depicted in the Erlang Searches the Mountains Paintings (Erlang soushan tu 二郎搜山圖), dating back to at least the Song dynasty, in which Erlang and his subordinates capture all kinds of animal spirits, including notably a monkey. Xiyouji 西遊記 (1592) turned this avid demon catcher into an antagonist by pitting him against its protagonist, the irreverent Monkey King (Meihou wang 美猴王) Sun Wukong 孫悟空. Three decades later, the Fengshen yanyi 封神演義 (1620s) would go on to make Erlang (a under the name Yang Jian 楊戩) one of its most capable heroes. Favoring capable, loyal, obedient, and sincere heroes like Yang Jian, the novel sets itself up in contrast to the more humorous Xiyouji. To emphasize this point, Fengshen yanyi also makes use of the Erlang soushan scenario, by describing his capture an ape spirit (yuan jing 袁精) in a scene that clearly echoes the one in Xiyouji, redeeming Erlang as a hero and simultaneously making a greater point about the kind of characters it favors. It’s careful rewriting of the Xiyouji narrative makes this episode a clear rebuttal of Xiyouji, just as much as a celebration of Yang Jian.

2) Raffaela Rettinger (Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg (JMU Wuerzburg), Germany) To Serve or Not to Serve – The Ambivalent Role of the Liangshan Leader Song Jiang The Shuihu zhuan 水滸傳 has played quite an ambivalent role, sometimes being condemned as a revolutionary piece of writing, other times celebrated as a great literary work. Just as ambivalent is the leader of the Liangshan 梁山 bandits, Song Jiang 宋江. This becomes the most evident in two aspects: First, in his loyalty towards the emperor and his role as a leader of a group of outcasts and secondly, in his name Song, shared with the dynasty of his time. Both seem to legitimize him as a future ruler of the Song 宋 (960 – 1279) as well as the reason for their downfall. While his sworn brother Li Kui 李逵 stands for the morals of good fellows (hao han 好漢), Song Jiang seems to be more focused on fulfilling his filial duties and prove his loyalty. In his role as admired leader and fellow hao han, and as loyal servant to the ruling emperor, Song Jiang represents a struggle within himself, as well as the unsettled social circumstances surrounding him. Therefore, Song Jiang can be seen as either a good fellow, a servant of the empire, blinded to intrigues by corrupted ministers, an enemy of the state, or even as the main enemy of the Liangshan bandits. This ambivalent role of Song Jiang offers not only a deep insight in new narrative structures, but also the conflicting ideas during the times of the emergence of the Shuihu zhuan.

3) Elizabeth Smithrosser (IIAS, Leiden, Netherlands) From Hero to Zero and Back Again: Contested Ming-Qing Appraisals of Warring States Persuader-Consultants

This paper explores the contested appraisals of Warring States period persuader- consultants through a counter-intuitive juxtaposition of two unrelated and very different late imperial texts: a Cheng-Zhu Confucianist moralistic guide and the compiled adventures of a fictional joke master. The exploits of the ancient class of travelling persuaders and Coalition Advisors, as immortalised in the Stratagems of the Warring States (Zhanguo ce 戰國策), had become a matter of controversy down the ages due to the fact that much of their advice to rulers had been deemed immoral according to Confucianist standards. In the face of such misgivings, however, the popularity of the Stratagems and the figures themselves persisted. By late imperial times, a palpable division in opinion concerning the Stratagems figures had emerged, as demonstrated by our cases in point. The Aizi 艾子 humour compilations, wildly popular in the late Ming, revolved around a fictional Warring States travelling consultant protagonist, while 1692 saw the publication of “Stratagems of the Warring States” with the Poison Extracted (Zhanguo ce qu du 戰國策去毒), a textual guide which annotated the persuasive speeches of the Stratagems figures in explicit contrast to their more virtuous contemporary Mencius, motivated by a deep- seated fear that impressionable younger readers would imitate their actions. Discussing these two publications together proves fruitful, providing two distinct angles on a millennia-long debate over which deeds should rightfully be lauded and the dangerous social implications of choosing the “wrong” men to hold up as “heroes”.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2A: Music and Performing Arts (2) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Giorgio Strafella (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Valerie Pellatt (Newcastle University School of Modern Languages, UK)
Stage directions as endotext: the psychological and socio-historical messages in the stage directions of Cao Yu and Lao She.

ABSTRACT. Cao Yu and Lao She, major Chinese playwrights of the 20th century, both wrote lengthy stage directions, providing a back story: Cao Yu described and prescribed in minute detail the inner workings of the minds of his protagonists; Lao She described in similar detail the physical conditions of the settings of his plays. Their long establishing directions are very often unrepresentable, unperformable and, from a performance point of view, unnecessary. So what is their purpose? In both cases the establishing directions may be seen as a significant component of a work, which though ostensibly designed for the stage, is also a work of literature. They are also explications of a culture: as writers, both men would be assuming that their work would be read and performed by later generations and by foreigners, and would therefore require explanation across temporal and cultural barriers. Thirdly, and most importantly, the directions are endotext – not the core text itself, but deeply embedded in it, and embodying the inner workings – in Cao Yu’s case psychological states, and in Lao She’s case, socio-historical situations of poverty and corruption. This function is crucial to the director, actors and readers in their interpretation of the characters, and reflect a Stanislavskian approach. To regard stage directions as either paratext or core text is inadequate. I therefore use this case study to posit the notion of endotext – text which is deep and internal to the core text.

Andreea Chirita (University of Bucharest, Romania)
The Contemporary Chinese Historical Play as Morality Play in Li Jing’s Rongyi’s Clothes

ABSTRACT. This paper analyses how playwright Li Jing (b.1972) explores the theme of history as morality in her latest play, Rongyi’ s clothes (2021), which was inspired from Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals, compiled during Qin dynasty. The play rewrites the story of Rongyi, a famous scholar from the state of Qi during pre-Qin China, who sacrifices his own life to save that of his disciple. Li Jing rewrites and brings to life this historical episode originally narrated by Qin chancellor Lü Buwei in order to give a new voice and agency to her characters by rendering them relevant in the present Chinese society. I analyze Li Jing’s metahistorical drama aesthetic from two different perspectives: 1) as a form of continuity from the Chinese historical drama lishiju which often engaged with the past as an allegory of the present 2) as historical contingency that juxtaposes tradition and globalization and re-contextualizes Chinese theatre in the light of intercultural global theatre aesthetics, postmodernism and new cultural consumption ecologies. In this regard, for example, the play explores the Chinese philosophical tradition of Mohism via theological ideas of Christian origin. Li Jing also juxtaposes and harmonizes the moral codes promoted by both doctrines in an attempt to redefine the performance of history as the performance of morality.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2B: Religion (3) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Christoph Anderl (Ghent University, Belgium)
Christoph Anderl (Ghent University, Belgium)
Ann Heirman (Ghent University, Belgium)
Tzu-Lung Chiu (Center for the Advancement of the Humanities and Social Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan)
Stuart Young (Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, United States)
Christoph Anderl (Ghent University, Belgium)
(HYBRID) Animal Management in Chinese Buddhist Monasteries : Ethical, Commercial, and Normative Discourses

ABSTRACT. Discussant: Christoph Anderl

Against the background of Buddhist guidelines on non-killing and on the release of captured or domesticated animals, this panel focuses on how animals are managed in Chinese Buddhist monastic environments. In historical sources as well as in contemporary monasteries, the presence of animals was not left unnoted. Whether harmless, beautiful, annoying, dangerous, or useful for the commodities they produce, animals have long influenced the daily lives of Buddhists, lay and monastics alike. This panel investigates, from a Buddhist normative viewpoint, the questions that arise from the encounters and management of animals in a monastic setting in contact with the lay environment. We hereby focus on animals that take up an active role in (monastic) society, such as silk worms, cats and dogs, and animals that, as sentient beings, become a natural part of monastic life. Important questions to deal with are: What is acceptable? How do Chinese Buddhist sources tell us to behave when confronted with animals? Is one allowed to cultivate useful animals? And can one make use of the products some animals generate, such as silk, even if it involves slaughter? These questions reflect the uncomfortable balance that Buddhists, both lay and monastics, must achieve between respecting the life of individual sentient beings, including insects, and adhering to daily realities and conventions.

When Monastics Meet Animals in Contemporary Buddhist Monasteries

Tzu-Lung Chiu

Buddhism regards all sentient beings as possessing the Buddha nature, and it therefore places considerable emphasis on compassion for them and the protection of their lives. Some leading figures of Taiwanese Buddhism, including Master Hsing Yun, Master Wu Yin and Master Cheng Yen, have strongly promoted the ethos of compassionately refraining from killing, and protecting all living beings, to their monastic and lay disciples. Accordingly, the present study investigates how contemporary Buddhist monastics deal with animal-related issues inside their monasteries, a process that often involves the intertwining of ideal vinaya rules and relevant Buddhist doctrines with practical necessity. Based on cross-institutional ethnographic fieldwork and document collection, this paper centres on modern Taiwanese monks’ and nuns’ perceptions of the relation between vinaya rules against killing and their practical need to deal with dangerous creatures and annoying pests in their monastic living environments, which are usually located in remote mountainous or other rural parts of Taiwan. Additionally, some monasteries keep dogs, cats or other animals for certain practical, religious and/or educational purposes to which scant scholarly attention has hitherto been paid. As such, this work represents an important case of how contemporary Buddhist practitioners link theory to day-to-day reality to arrive at acceptable forms of behaviour in specific local contexts and institutional conditions.

How to Treat Animals in a Chinese Buddhist Monastery: Daoxuan’s Views on Animals in a Monastic Environment

Ann Heirman

This paper focuses on guidelines relating to animals in Chinese Buddhist monasteries, as articulated by the influential Chinese vinaya master Daoxuan 道宣 (596–667) in his Liang chu qing zhong yi 量處輕重儀, Models for Measuring and Handling Light and Heavy Property (T no. 1895). Daoxuan discusses monastic property in detail and offers advice on how to deal with goods – including animals – that are offered to the monastic community. In addition to drawing a distinction between domesticated animals (which may be useful economic assets) and wild animals (which should be returned to their original habitats), he creates a special category for creatures that could be used for pest control, such as cats and dogs. As the paper demonstrates, though, his guiding principle is always the protection of all living beings. No animal should ever be killed or harmed as the karmic effects of such an act will be severe and unavoidable. Daoxuan is most explicit on the subject of animals that are used to catch and kill other creatures: he insists they have no place in any monastic community. Once again, this reflects his strict adherence to the Buddhist principle that all living creatures – including pests – should be treated with respect and compassion.

Silkworm-Human Relations in Medieval Chinese Buddhism

Stuart Young

In medieval China, silk was the fabric of Buddhist monasticism. Silk enmeshed Chinese Buddhist monastery environs, institutional economies, and literary discourses that helped shape Buddhist identities in China. Chinese Buddhist texts were written on silk; bound, wrapped, and tied in silk; and shot through with references to silk and its entomic producers: wild and domesticated silkworm caterpillars. This paper examines how silkworms emerged through these sources as willful, agentic, moral subjects, as the kin of humans and deities and as bodhisattvas themselves, and thus as embodying key Buddhist cosmological and soteriological principles: concerning samsaric rebirth; the ethics of karmic causality; the bondage of householder life; monastic discipline; the nature of the mind and consciousness; and others. What, then, did it mean to for human beings to kill silkworms, to boil them to death for their silk? In some contexts Buddhist authors lamented this miserable fate of silkworms, and other Buddhists attempted to ban silk from monastic uniforms. But on the whole, Buddhist silkworms lived to die for silk. Like humans, their lot was to suffer for their blind desire, or else to gratefully embrace their inevitable destruction for the benefit of sentient beings. Either way, silkworm caterpillars offered uniquely entomic paths to Buddhist liberation in medieval China, forged through deep entanglements between human and entomic modes of samsaric existence and sociomaterial production.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2C: Literature (Modern) (5) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Auditorium Maximum)
Petr Janda (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Roman Lashin (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) The Bamboo Groves of Academe: Li Er’s Brother Yingwu and the Academic Novel in China

ABSTRACT. When writing about the academic novel or campus novel genre, some scholars of English literature refer to it as small-scale or marginal. Nonetheless, they also admit that fiction about university and scholars has gradually gained significant momentum, struggled out of tight boundaries, and even joined the literary mainstream. These processes are yet to begin in the Chinese literary space. The genre’s history in China is significantly shorter, and the methodology of genre studies is often regarded as superficial and outdated. However, I argue that given recent developments in the field, the fact that the academic novel genre exists and flourishes in China is evident. Its most notable example is Li Er’s (李洱) latest work Brother Yingwu (应物兄), which won a prestigious Mao Dun literary prize while being hailed by some scholars as a modern successor of the 18th-century masterpiece The Unofficial History of Confucians. My approach is twofold: undertake a comparative study of Brother Yingwu and western academic novels while tracing how it draws on the classical Chinese literature works about literati. The novel’s position as a connecting link between tradition and modernity highlights the unique prerequisites of the genre in China. Drawing on the case of Brother Yingwu, I will discuss how the fictional account of academia reflects specific issues in Chinese higher education and intellectual life, followed by an overview of salient features and perspectives of the academic novel in China.

Yang Xiang (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) The Possibility of Drifting: Sinophone Literatures Beyond Diaspora and Against Diaspora

ABSTRACT. Under the Chinese-centered view of literary history, Chinese-language literatures in other parts of the world are regarded as marginal or subordinate. However, Sinophone focuses on the marginal and repressed, proposing a pluralistic theory of multicentrism, to liberate Chinese-language literature from Chinese literature and even Chineseness. Shu-mei Shih set an end point for the diaspora. She believes that overseas Sinophone communities should be integrated into the local, and only by becoming locals can they end their diaspora. In Shu-mei Shih's view, against diaspora is imperative and even gives it too strong moral and political implications. As Ng Kim Chew said, Shu-mei Shih's against diaspora is still rooted in the logic of the nation-state, but she is on the side of the new settlement. Diaspora summons obsessions with the motherland, while against diaspora calls for devotions to the new settlement. Both give Sinophone communities an either-or choice. However, beyond diaspora and against diaspora, another unnoticed path is the "drifting" that will be discussed in this article. The Taiwan-based Malaysian Chinese poet, Maniniwei, used the word "drift" to describe her several setbacks between Taiwan and Malaysia. She bluntly stated that she neither loves Taiwan nor wants to return to her hometown. Cao Shuying moved from Beijing to Hong Kong and now lives in Taipei. Cao loves and devotes herself to each city she once lived in. By reading the writings and life experiences of Maniniwei and Cao Shuying, this article will discuss the possibility of drifting in the field of Sinophone literatures.

Kamila Hladikova (Palacky University Olomouc, KAS, Czechia)
Sinophone Tibetan Literature Today: Tsering Norbu’s Prayers in the Wind

ABSTRACT. The proposed paper examines conflicting historical narratives of modern Tibet represented through specific narrative strategies used by the Sinophone Tibetan writer Tsering Norbu (Ciren Luobu 次仁罗布). In his first full-length novel Prayers in the Wind (Jiyu feng zhong 祭语风中; 2015) depicting the “sensitive” events of Tibetan history in the second half of the twentieth century, including the 1959 Lhasa uprising and the Cultural Revolution, he diverges from the official CCP narrative of modern Tibetan history by presenting a clearly Buddhist perspective of the events narrated in the first person by a former monk who maintained his faith and interpretation of the world throughout his whole life. Despite this potentially subversive religious content, the work was soon translated into English and published in 2019 by the state-run China Translation & Publishing House in Beijing. As the executive director of Tibet Writer’s Association and editor-in-chief of its official literary journal Xizang wenxue, Tsering Norbu sticked strictly to the official master narrative, while adopting creative narrative strategies that enabled him to include “alternative histories”, pointing out the complexities of the historical transformation of Tibetan society under the Chinese rule. Chinese critique appreciates significant “Tibetan flavor” of the work, which makes it a perfect export product helping to construct a rather unproblematic image of Tibet after the Chinese “Liberation”.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2D: Interdisciplinary (3) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Renata Čižmárová (Palacký University, Czechia)
Xiaowan Cang (University of Oxford, UK)
(ONLINE) Beyond Demographic Envisions: How Do China’s Young Urban Educated Women Perceive the Shift from Anti-Natalist to Pro-Natalist Policies?

ABSTRACT. Women’s fertility behaviours and perceptions have long been regulated, monitored and politicised in China. The end of the One-Child Policy and then the Two-Child Policy in 2016 and 2021 respectively marked a shift from anti-natalism to pro-natalism. This article explores how young urban educated women view and interact with the changes in the state’s approaches to governing population; how their complex and contradictory opinions about shifts in policy affect fertility intentions; and how their one-child identity continues to influence their multi-scalar negotiations with families and the state when they come into adulthood. Based on 54 interviews that I conducted in Shandong Province in 2019 and 2021, this article argues that the transition to a post-one-child era reverses the identity and approval that women who grew up under the one-child policy had obtained, invalidating their social-political privileges. They have recognised the sanctity, dignity and freedom of reproductive choices with distrust of ‘policies about lives’. However, they have also internalised the ideal one-child family norm and identified with their singleton advantages. It further explores the different ways in which these women reconstructed their own individual fertility accounts to accept, reject or disregard the state’s changing metanarrative on population, and how their responses reflected the interactions with their one-child-generation identity, their changing reproductive beliefs and the mounting pressures on them.

Mugur Zlotea (University of Bucharest, Romania)
We Don’t Need Another Hero – The Integration of Lei Feng into the Chinese Dream

ABSTRACT. Almost five years ago, in October 2017, Xi Jinping announced in his speech at the 19th Congress that China had entered a new era as a stronger and richer nation, a step closer to achieving “the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation”. Although Chinese Dream belonged to all the people, he added, it was even more a dream of the younger generation, “a dream about history, the present and the future”. The present paper looks at how “the history, the present and the future” are represented in the street propaganda images. More specifically, we analyze the use of Lei Feng’s image in current street propaganda posers, in order to understand the incorporation of the traditional culture into the revolutionary narrative and identify which elements in Lei Feng’s story make it possible for him to remain a valid model for the contemporary youth rather than an outdated hero, which are the values the Party intends to transmit through these images, how is the Chinese tradition modified and incorporated into the message and what kind of future the posters project so that they emphasize the idea that the Chinese dream means using the glorious past by the present generation to achieve a brilliant future.

Federica Cicci (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy)
In the name of the Chinese Red Cross: Women’s activism, gender roles and humanitarian relief efforts during wartime (1937-1945)

ABSTRACT. The role of Chinese women in humanitarian war efforts is an issue that still remains to be fully investigated. Have women, with their humanitarian relief efforts, managed to change the already consolidated ideology and gender norms? The paper not only aims to integrate women as the main agents within the history of the Chinese Red Cross, but also to comprehend their aid to victims during the War of Resistance and the Second World War. By analysing the power relations and humanitarian actions in the Red Cross, I debate whether an implicit colonialist, paternalistic dimension was also perceived through the female question. One woman played a special role in the growth of military nursing assistance for Chinese troops in war; Zhou Meiyu. Her work in nursing administration and education in the Army shows the attempt to establish authentic military nursing care, and demonstrates the significance of achieving freedom by participating with concrete actions in the cause of the Chinese Resistance. Specifically, the Medical Rescue Corps of the Chinese Red Cross had a major task in supporting the training of military medical personnel and Zhou was particularly effective in establishing a valid medical expert in the new education programs. This remarkable case is an example of how Zhou’s work served as a window on which gender shaped the meanings of freedom, war and nation building in modern China, while offering the opportunity to re-discuss the social values and traditional roles of women.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2E: Philosophy and History of Thought (5) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Markus Samuel Haselbeck (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Marco Pouget (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and LMU Munich, Germany)
Raffaela Rettinger (Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg (JMU Wuerzburg), Germany)
Markus Samuel Haselbeck (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Making the Daxue’s bright virtue shine forth: Unraveling the Daxue’s versatility through the eyes of its interpreters

ABSTRACT. Chair: Markus Samuel Haselbeck

While dynasties, the cultural landscape, major religions, and leading worldviews went through major changes over time, the Five Classics and Four Books (sishu wujing 四書五經) have always acted as an anchor for the knowledge produced within the landscape of Chinese intelligentsia. Hence, the Daxue 大學, once used as the ultimate foundation for self-cultivation, enshrined in the Four Books by Zhu Xi 朱熹, demonized during the early Communist Era for its perceived backwardness, and understood as the centerpiece of Mind Confucianism (xinxing ruxue 心性儒學) by their adversaries, the contemporary Political Confucianists (zhengzhi ruxue 政治儒學), had—and still has—a similarly dazzling life throughout Chinese history. Taking the Daxue as a case study, the panelists seek, with their common focal point, to look at the tradition through the eyes of various personae throughout history, each time taking on a new perspective that offers a different outlook on the world. From early imperial commentaries to historical novels dating to the Ming and early Modern reformist literature, the vastly alternating points of view will further delineate diversity in textual interpretation and exegesis and highlight the text’s versatility, which allowed the Daxue to stay relevant for over two millennia of Chinese history.

Between Classics, Reform, and Self-salvation—A close reading of Kang Youwei’s Preface to the Annotated Daxue

Markus Samuel Haselbeck

Exegesis and writing commentaries to the Four Books (sishu 四書) has a long tradition since their emergence during the Warring States period. Many Confucian scholars captured in written word what, in their opinion, is the four texts’ true meaning. The late Qing-scholar Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858-1927) is no exception to this rule. Between 1901-02, he likewise wrote commentaries on the Four Books. However, what makes his case exceptional is that besides the three published commentaries on the Lunyu 論語, Mengzi 孟子, and Zhongyong 中庸, his annotations on the fourth classic, the Daxue 大學, while having existed at some point, were never published. Although Kang’s biography mentions a Daxue zhu 大學注, written in 1902 during his stay in Darjeeling, no version of this work exists today. All that is left is its preface, in its published form from Kang’s magazine Buren 不忍 in 1913 and as an earlier hand-written draft dating to 1902. Weaving a thread from Zhuangzi 莊子 to the Reforms of 1898, the author gives us a glimpse of his Daxue interpretation by evaluating the text amid his own political theory. This presentation will offer a close reading of the preface, which allows for a deeper understanding of why Kang juxtaposes these specific elements to form the preface, what each part of the text intended, and why Kang ultimately decided to publish the preface without the main text itself.

One Bandit to Reform Them All? – A Reading of the Shuihu zhuan based on the Daxue

Raffaela Rettinger

Literature has always been subject to interpretation, a trait that it shares with philosophy. Therefore, this paper aims at showing how a specific interpretation of one can influence the other by focusing on the two readings of “being close to the people” (qin min 親民) and “renewing the people” (xin min 新民) in the Daxue 大學 in context with the mock-state of the Liangshan 梁山 bandits in the Ming dynasty 明 (1368 – 1644) novel Shuihu zhuan 水滸傳. Here, the Liangshan is portrayed as an alternative state to the ruling Song 宋 (960 – 1279). However, this mock-state is given up by the bandit leader Song Jiang 宋江 in favor of rejoining the emperor. If we look at this act of returning to the state from the perspective of “renewing the people”, the Liangshan can be viewed as a rehabilitation-center used by Song Jiang, who is portrayed as a loyal servant to the emperor, to reform the other bandits into obedient subjects of the state. When they gather at Liangshan, the Song empire is in a state of crisis and needs good and loyal subjects. This was also true for the historical Song, where amnesty was given to bandits frequently to strengthen the army. Therefore, the Liangshan might not only be a parallel state that failed to rise to power but could also be a tool of a loyal servant to provide much needed military support.

Learning for Rulership and Knowing where to Stand. Eastern Han Commentator Zheng Xuan’s Reading of the Daxue

Marco Pouget

Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (127-200 CE) wrote the most influential early commentary on the Liji 禮記 including the Daxue 大學 chapter. Although his discussions are not as extensive as those of some later exegetes, closer scrutiny of his commentary to the Daxue reveals some nuanced points of interpretation that this presentation will explore. At its centre stands the question: In Zheng’s mind, how does the Daxue envision learning (xue 學), and how can the knowledge it outlines be defined? It has been stated that Zheng had learning in the state academies (taixue 太學 or daxue 大學) in mind when commenting on the Daxue chapter. I will discuss this notion by comparison to other Liji chapters mentioning the daxue academies, concluding that, rather than drawing an explicit connection between the chapter’s ideas of learning and these academies, the Daxue elaborates on a potential junzi’s 君子 self-cultivation. Unlike later commentators, Zheng thus considers the learning proposed in the Daxue as representing a relatively advanced stage in an individual’s education — and as geared towards governance. He highlights that the knowledge a future ruler needs to acquire concerns his appropriate self-positioning and demeanour in each situation. Additionally, a certain “breadth of learning” (boxue 博學) is required to be worthy of rulership.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2F: Politics and International Relations (4) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Richard Turcsanyi (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Ruolan Gan (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
China's approach to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

ABSTRACT. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is generally understood as a multi-layered and highly contested international norm relevant to humanitarian intervention. As an emerging non-Western power, China is often seen as a veto-er and a non-conformist, yet it may more consistently engage in R2P actions and respond more to the R2P norm than other norm takers. However, the problem with extant literature is portraying China’s approach in an over-generalised way, which presupposes it is static and in an ahistorical veto fashion, does not change according to the context or evolve. Neither it does not take account into the process of how China calls for attention to its normative preferences and persuades other states.

To challenge over-simplified portrayals of China’s approach, this current research seeks to take a more complex, dynamic and relational perspective, in keeping with recent developments in norm theory which call for the embrace of a non-linear process and a potential circulation of international norms. Critically examining the Chinese source, this research will take a broader and comparative approach, containing China’s vote in favour of the R2P resolution than previous studies. It will also look at the process of China’s justification for its normative argument and see how China attempts to legitimise through its use of languages.

Chandam Thareima (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
China's Changing Behaviour in the United Nations Security Council vis-a-vis its Rise, 2007-2017

ABSTRACT. In the wake of its rising power, China’s foreign policy behaviour has been widely and increasingly being described as “assertive”. Such assertiveness seems to also have been reflected in its behaviour in the UNSC. From casting its first two vetoes on behalf of other countries in 1972, the PRC began to use them on behalf of its own interests in 1997 and 1999 i.e. with respect to Taiwan, which it regards as its core national interest. Subsequently, China started vetoing on other resolutions that had no correlation with Taiwan. From 2007-2017, China cast eight vetoes, as opposed to just four pre-2007, on resolutions against countries in which China had economic interests which have become subsumed under its expanding definition of what its core national interests entailed. Increasingly, China has enforced those vetoes based on the principles it upholds in international relations and also in opposition to Western norms. In the context of this changing behaviour in the Council, this paper seeks to study China’s stance on various resolutions to examine the nature of its interests, how it seeks to protect those interests, the principles and norms it upholds, and its proposed methods of resolving crises on different issues and areas as discussed in the Council. Understanding China’s position on these issue areas will help in framing the contours of China as a rising power, and explore its potential impact on the dominant issues in international relations.

Adrian Brona (Jagiellonian University, Poland)
Mobility of Provincial-Level Cadres of Chinese Communist Party

ABSTRACT. Provincial-level authorities play an essential role in governing the vastness of China. To better understand Chinese politics, it is crucial to grasp ongoing processes below the level of central institutions. It is especially relevant during Xi Jinping’s overhaul of the Chinese political system. This paper aims to show recruitment patterns into 31 provincial-level committees (in provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through a large-scale quantitative survey of biographical data collected from public records of the CCP and state media. It will include members of the provincial-level committees elected during a series of provincial party congresses held between October of 2016 and June of 2017 (n=3093) and those elected in autumn 2021/spring 2022. The paper will answer questions regarding the mobility of party’s cadres, especially: percentage of committee members born in a given province; frequency of spending all political career in a given province and transferring between provinces; potential overrepresentation and underrepresentation of people originating in some provinces among all committees; and patterns of migration of cadres between provinces. The paper will compare analyzed data on three levels: 1) broad overview of all committees, 2) changes within subsequent committees (e.g., Guangdong 2017 vs. Guangdong 2022), and 3) Provincial Standing Committees, the most influential inner circle of about ten cadres within every provincial committee.

11:00-12:30 Session SD3-2G: Literature (Premodern) (3) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Lectorium)
Frank Kraushaar (University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)
Frank Kraushaar (University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)
Marie Bizais-Lillig (Universite de Strasbourg, France)
Yulia Dreyzis (Moscow University, Russia)
(HYBRID) Memory and Form in Lyrical Writing, Translation

ABSTRACT. Participants: Marie Bizais-Lillig, Strasbourg; Yulia Dreyzis, Moscow; Frank Kraushaar, Riga.

Chinese literary culture traditionally relies on concepts of reinvigoration of memory to reassure cultural consciousness. Allusive techniques and paradoxical figures of citation, discussed in Wen xin diao long bring up questions on how the obvious tension between a generic form of poetic language and subjective awareness of former words and deeds was traditionally practiced in creative ways. According to the revolutionary narrative of the 20s century the relevant lyrical style, now labelled “old-style” (jiu ti) as opposed to “modern style” (xin ti), seemed irrelevant in an age of cultural modernity. Yet, as this age liked to perform radical in theory, it’s reality has always been much more ambiguous. At a moment when the modern aspects of these traditional forms seemed forgotten or at least marginalized in China, modernism discovered classical Chinese lyricism as objective of “translation as art form” (W. Benjamin). In Russia, Vasily Alekseev, emphasized adequacy of form to indicate alterity of the Chinese source language as a matter of truthfulness of the target language. On the side of the reader, thus, remembrance of intercultural alterity becomes a creative moment in expanding a modern awareness of the cultural world. In China, Nie Gannu, during decades spent in prison as victim of Maoist repression, avails himself of the “archaic” form reinvigorating traditional allusive techniques and citations to express subjective consciousness as an outcast of modern society.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3A: Arts and Art History (5) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Giorgio Strafella (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Federica Mirra (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)
(ONLINE) A visual encounter: architectural copycats, gated communities, and themed towns in China

ABSTRACT. Since 1978, the central government has fostered an unprecedented urban and economic growth and erected distinctive skylines and spectacular waterfronts to display the national power and success. Alongside the centrally sanctioned urban planning, miniature Eiffel Tower, extravagant residential units and themed towns have been authorised by local authorities to legitimise their political mandate and satisfy the taste of the Chinese middle class with memorable projects. Unexpected and surreal, yet immersive and fluid, they are constitutive parts of the carefully designed Chinese cities. Whereas the three phenomena have been widely explored in urban, social, architecture, and cultural studies (Bosker 2013; Giroir 2006; Wu 2005; Xue and Zhou 2007; Zhang 2010), this paper proposes an alternative framework, visual arts. Specifically, it plans to analyse copycats, gated communities, and themed towns through their representations in the photographic works by contemporary artists, Xiang Liqing, Zhang Peili, and Yang Yuanyuan. Through visual analysis, literature review and interviews with the artists, this paper allows to explore the city as an everchanging platform that moulds and continuously adjusts to an increasingly diverse society and its multiple urban visions. Considering Xi Jinping’s increasingly authoritarian regime and the dominant practice of building spectacular cities, the representations of the three above mentioned phenomena becomes extremely relevant to understand how the city is envisioned at the local level and could be reproduced in the future. Last, this interdisciplinary methodological approach is more likely to create urban visions that are less bound to dominant power-relations and driven by imagination.

Suhyoung Sung (The Association of Eastern-Asia Buddhist Culture, South Korea)
(ONLINE) A study of the guardian holding two ghost arrows from the first story of the Qingzhou White Pagoda

ABSTRACT. Qing-zhou White Pagoda was called the Shakyamuni Śarīra Pagoda, where the Empress Dowager Jang-sheng, the mother of Emperor Xing Zong, initiated this project. Built when the Buddhist culture of the Liao Dynasty reached its peak, various large relief statues were placed on the body of pagoda, which fits the reputation of the Liao imperial family. Among these works, the 56 Guardians found on the body of pagoda constitute very important relief statues with a large total number and extending across a large surface area. Qing-zhou White Pagoda is the only example of a site with such a large number of large Guardian statues placed on the pagoda and only one of them holds two ghost arrows. I argue that the large number of Guardian statues and the appearance of a Guardian statue with two ghost arrows are characteristics that reflect the originality and specificity of the Liao Dynasty’s Buddhist culture. Thus, I analyze the specific reasons behind the arrangement of the 56 Guardian statues and the characteristics and meaning of the Guardian holding two ghost arrows.

Helena Motoh (Science and Research Centre Koper, Slovenia)
“Stray objects”- Reconstructing the networks of knowledge about China through the life of a collection

ABSTRACT. Paper presents a novel way of approaching the topic of how the knowledge about China, its history, culture, and art, was disseminated in Europe. It does that through an analysis of the life of a private collection of Chinese objects, collected by an Austro-Hungarian navy officer Ivan Skušek Jr. in Beijing in the beginning of the 20th Century. Before eventually being bequested to the museum, the large collection was “on display” in successive private apartments of Skušek and his Japanese wife Tsuneko Kondo Kawase for 43 years. Collection thus became a well-known curiosity in the small town of Ljubljana and a welcome place for the visitors to see, experience and learn about Chinese culture, art and thought. For many key local artists, architects, writers, and others it became the main source of knowledge about China and inspiration to use elements of Chinese art, aesthetics, and culture in their work. Today the individual objects that were given to these family friends and acquaintances as presents are found in private collections all over Slovenia. The paper explores the possibilities of reconstructing the knowledge networks by these “stray objects” from the Skušek collection by analysing several such examples. Starting with an identification of the individual objects, it then proceeds to reconstruct the connections of these individuals with the Skušek couple and reflects on the potential impact of this connection. Finally, it considers possible applications and the inherent limitations of this method and how this method could be upgraded with new information technologies.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3B: Religion (4) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Renata Čižmárová (Palacký University, Czechia)
Anna Sokolova (Ghent University, Belgium)
The Regional Spread of the Dharmaguptakavinaya Tradition in Tang China

ABSTRACT. By the establishment of the Tang dynasty in 618, Shisong lü 十誦律 (Daśādhyāya-vinaya) vinaya tradition had been widely spread on the territories of the former Chen and Sui dynasties. By the mid-seventh century, Sifen lü 四分律 (Dharmaguptaka-vinaya) gradually prevailed as an official vinaya throughout the Tang monastic network on the territorial center of the Tang Empire, mainly due to the efforts of Daoxuan 道宣 (596–667), a chief advocate of Sifen lü at Tang imperial court. This paper traces the regional spread of the Sifen lü tradition from the north to the south by disciples of Daoxuan and by generations of their followers. This paper explores three phases of the tradition’s dissemination: 1) During the early eighth century, masters Hongjing 弘景 (634-712), Wen’gang 文綱 (636–727), and Daoan 道岸 (654-717) played central role in the establishment of vinaya centres that specialised in Sifen lü on the territories of present-day provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Hubei; 2) In the mid-eighth century, local vinaya adepts facilitated the spread of the tradition to the regions of Jiangxi and Hunan; 3) Finally, the tradition disseminated across the Jiangnan region from the late eighth into the ninth century. In the wake of the An Lushan rebellion of 755 that caused devastation of Central Plains and a demographic shift from the north to the south, southern China witnessed mass conferral of ordinations, and the formation of local vinaya lineages and factions, all in the Sifen lü tradition.

Jan Vihan (Oriental Institute, Czechia)
Field, land, dominion, or holy ground? On the connotations of 'buddhakshetra' in the Vimalakirti and Lotus Sutras and their Chinese commentaries

ABSTRACT. Rather than working towards personal salvation, many Mahayana sutras exhort the adept to purify a buddhakshetra 佛國土. Western buddhologists are inconsistent in translating this key Mahayana neologism. Scholars working with Tibetan and Sanskrit sources render the term as Buddha field, while those basing themselves on Chinese opt for the interpretation of Buddha land. This makes it seem as if the Chinese translators twisted the original meaning and Western interpreters followed in their steps. In fact, Sanskrit kshetra carries a range of connotations, and early Chinese translators likely chose the most plausible one at the time utilizing the metaphor of a ruler and the extent of his dominion. On the other hand, while the rendering of kshetra as field may not capture the originally intended meaning, in its abstract sense paralel to such modern usage as force field may get at the gist of the problematical term. This is not just an issue of terminology, in my paper I discuss the contexts in which two sutras extremely influential in East Asia, the Lotus and the Vimalakirti, depict the relative stability of a given buddha land, focusing on the difference between our intersubjective world of appearances and the far more objective pure lands.

Junfu Wong (Cambridge, UK)
Layers of Production and Figuration: Creating Religious Stone Stelae by Lay Patrons during the Fifth and Sixth Centuries of Medieval China

ABSTRACT. During the late fifth and sixth centuries, lay people gathered to form a type of community that features the establishment of stone stelae for religious purposes. Preparing stone stelae thus became a crucial practice for these lay communities but it also proved to be of great complexity. Some stele epigraphies captured fascinating details explaining the procedures of stele establishment, from quarrying a good stone from places of religious significance to finding skilful craftsmen to carve out the stelae. Nevertheless, the epigraphical sources usually stop at this point, leaving the process of stele carving unmentioned. Considering that, this paper turns to the physical evidence that these stelae provide to further remark upon the possible carving sequence. It pays extra attention to the unfinished stone stelae that previous scholars rarely discuss. Following these premises, this paper first explains the procedures entailed for preparing the stone by reading epigraphical texts, then proceeds to scrutinize the techniques and procedures connected to the craftsmanship of stone stelae through examining the physical evidence. Rather than simply laying out the process, this paper also argues that these steps, though as practical as they seemed, can be taken religiously as part of a larger circuit of ritual practices among lay believers.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3C: Literature (Modern) (6) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Auditorium Maximum)
Dr. Ruttapond Swanpitak (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
Dr. Jiyu Zhang (Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, China)
Dr. Ruttapond Swanpitak (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
Dr. Meng Li (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Dr. Yixin Liu (Beijing Normal University, China)
(HYBRID) Contextualizing Trauma in Chinese Literature and Film: Women in War, Reform, and Pandemic

ABSTRACT. This panel examines multiple scenarios of trauma in modern Chinese literature and film from a gender perspective. With a primary focus on social reality, in particular trying circumstances such as war, reform, and pandemic, this panel intends to rethink women’s situation and representation in different texts across media from diverse theoretical perspectives. With a comparison between Song of Youth (1959) and Lust, Caution (2007), Jiyu Zhang draws attention to Chinese women's wartime experiences, and situates distinctive approaches to gender identity in Chinese-language cinema. Ruttapond Swanpitak investigates how Sheng Keyi’s novel Northern Girls (2004) challenges traditional and capitalist patriarchal cultures and contributes to the better understandings of rural migrant women’s dystopic social existence and social inequality in the economic reform era of the 1990s. Interpreting three fictions of Ren Xiaowen, Meng Li proposes that the subjectivity of gutter women in post-Mao China, the era of historical and cultural transition is set off by the notion of abject, which appears in the form of uncomfortable experiences caused by social instability, material deprivation, and trauma. Through the analysis of the science fiction novel Corolla Virus (2012), Yixin Liu explores how the woman writer Bi Shumin takes usage of the discourse presentation patterns of free direct discourse and free indirect discourse to present gendered narratives, achieving a breakthrough shaped by feminine discourse in pandemics literature.

Love or Hate: Negotiating Women and War in Chinese-Language Films

Jiyu Zhang

Focusing on Chinese women in wartime China, this paper investigates how female characters—arguably heroic figures—are portrayed against harsh conditions. While assuming a subject position, these protagonists, who have to negotiate between national crisis and personal survival, seem to be demarcated by an opposition between revolutionary passion and individual sentiments. This paper aims to unsettle such a binary logic that separates the political from the personal in representations of Chinese women. In this regard, two Chinese-language films, Song of Youth (1959) and Lust, Caution (2007), appear to establish a stark contrast due to their different attitudes toward women’s stories. Though both films portray the female protagonist as courageous, independent, and patriotic, Song of Youth stresses the spiritual pursuit during the character’s progression, which submits personal emotions to collective commitment. On the contrary, Lust, Caution is rife with explicit sex and graphic violence, foregrounding the character’s bodily experience. In comparing these two film’s approaches to female characters, this paper argues that the political and the personal are not necessarily at odds with each other, nor is the distinction between the body and mind rigidly defined in the narratives of Chinese women. Rather, such dichotomous relations can be interwoven and reciprocal in one’s subject formation, as corroborated and embodied by the female characters.

Strategies of Survival and Subversion: Poverty, Inequality and Rural Migrant Women’s Experiences of Urban Life in Sheng Keyi’s Novel Northern Girls

Ruttapond Swanpitak

Sheng Keyi is a prominent post-Mao author who is of rural origin and adopts a subversive discourse which breaks away from entrenched gender conventions, disengaging from male-centred discourse. Her fiction about the lives of rural migrant women reveals social prejudice against mobile women as well as a range of inequalities, between urban elites and rural migrants, men and women, and the wealthy and the poor. Through a textual analysis of Sheng Keyi’s novel Northern Girls (2004), this paper investigates rural migrant women’s experiences, including sexual frustrations, exploitation, destitution and modes of survival, showing the negative effects of the economic reforms of the capitalist patriarchal culture as well as prejudice based on gender, class and the rural-urban divide. It discusses how the protagonist attempts to resist male dominated practices and searches for sexual freedom and equality, and how the author critiques traditional and capitalist patriarchal cultures, inequality, the new market economy and global capitalism. While other Chinese writers such as Wang Anyi and Tie Ning portray peasants as sympathetic subjects and maintain self-other distinctions, Sheng Keyi presents as a peasant and uses her migrant experience to fuel her narrative of rural migrant women. The paper argues that her work contributes to the better understandings of these women’s dystopic social existence in the 1990s, together with defying popular stereotypes of rural migrant women––pure hard-working factory workers or prostitutes. This study will offer literary insights into Sheng Keyi’s treatment of sexuality and subjectivity, Chinese migrant literature, feminist writing, and modern Chinese culture.

Gutter Women, Abject and Trauma: A Study of Ren Xiaowen’s Fictional Works themed with Contemporary Shanghai

Meng Li

The fictional works of Shanghai-based writer Ren Xiaowen are themed with stories concerning material deprivation, oppression, fruitless pursuit of career success or romantic relationship, and despair. The paper studies the gutter women featured in Ren’s six fictional works: Women in Shanghai (2008), The Good Woman Song Meiyong (2017), and The Life of Miss Zhu San (2020). These women are rendered “the marginalized” or “the underprivileged” due to their political, social and economic status. Suffering from these unfavourable conditions or downfalls, these female characters are excluded in the discourse of “the winner,” which is signified with political, social and economic success in the market-oriented post-Mao China. The paper argues that the subjectivity of these gutter women in the era of historical and cultural transition is set off by the writing of abject. In Ren’s fictions, the abject appears in the form of uncomfortable experiences caused by social instability, poverty, natural disasters, material deprivation, and trauma. Ren’s fictions also feature loser subculture and winner hegemony which are situated in the cityscape of Shanghai—a city that puts on display the dilemma of post-socialist China. The paper also probes into the tension of loser subculture and winner hegemony which exacerbates the abject and traumatic experience of the gutter women.

Women in Pandemics: Gendered Narratives in Bi Shumin’s Corolla Virus

Yixin Liu

The science fiction novel Corolla Virus 花冠病毒was written by Chinese writer and registered psychological counsellor Bi Shumin 毕淑敏 (1952- ) in 2011, who had been to the frontline of the battle against SARS in China for collecting resources and gaining inspiration for her creative writing. When COVID-19 breaks out, this novel receives great concerns and acquires the unprecedented fame due to its prophecy-esque discussion about the relation between human and virus in pandemics. It tells the story of a virus that hits a big city in China, threatening numerous lives. The protagonist is a woman writer Luo Weizhi who is accidentally involved in the anti-pandemics battle and struggles with a series of dangers. In most cases, Corolla Virus is regarded as a psychological work that explores life, humanity and redemption. This paper opens up a new research perspective of how Bi Shumin takes usage of the discourse presentation patterns of free direct discourse and free indirect discourse to achieve gendered narratives, constructing the female identity, establishing female authority, and emphasizing the mediation of female experience in pandemics. Furthermore, this narrative practice carries the obvious advantage of discourse authority and made a powerful declaration of the individual position of discourse presentation; at the same time, the female author managed to achieve a breakthrough shaped by feminine discourse in pandemics literature.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3D: Sociology and Anthropology (6) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Andreas Fulda (University of Nottingham, UK)
Horst Fabian (Civil Society Ambassador Europe - China, Independent researcher, Germany)
Sascha Klotzbücher (University of Göttingen, Germany)
Alicia Hennig (International Institute Zittau/TU Dresden, Germany)
Andreas Fulda (University of Nottingham, UK)
Olga Lomová (Charles University, Czechia)
Dilemmas of academic freedom in China Studies and beyond: Censorship, self-censorship, voice and exit

ABSTRACT. Organiser: Sascha Klotzbücher Chair: Andreas Fulda

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) the Chinese party-state has never granted academia any meaningful autonomy. The lack of academic freedom in China also has repercussions for western scholarship on and in China. This challenge is most visible in the field of China studies. During the reform period (1978-2012) western China scholars could argue that there remained sufficient political space to conduct research on contemporary China. But even during this time many compromises had to be made which were seldom communicated openly in the academic or public discourse on China. Such compromises have ranged from the depoliticization of research puzzles, the adjustment of research approaches to accommodate Chinese partner organisations, to a selective presentation of research findings in public talks and publications. Politically circumscribed China scholarship thus lacks transparency about the conditions of research. And with the beginning of the Xi era (2012-) pragmatism on its own can no longer paper over the growing disparity between research ambition and political realities on the ground. If censorship and self-censorship leads to the omission of important contextual information, the methodology in this discipline has to develop tools of "re-integration" and to make explicit what was left implicit.

Self-censorship and the United Front: A procedural approach

Sascha Klotzbücher

The United Front as a modus operandi is a success model. From its foundation, the CCP was always a minority of their own population. They have to gain the support of many non-communists to achieve their goals. Downplaying other issues as “minor contradictions” and postponing their solution, it implies unifying with powerful forces and devising first a program that the vast majority could support. Cloaking the real objectives behind a rhetoric of compatible goals, they try to get recognition and create vested interests with allies from other parties or groups, as the GMD in the 1930-40s or with the National Bourgeoisie in the 1950s. My paper contributes to the recent discussion on Confucius Institutes in Europe and the United Front in a procedural approach. If the real interests and the internal organizational structure of the United Front and their overseas connections are hard to detect, this paper identifies distinct characteristics of this “United Front policy cycle”. I will analyze the "united front policy cycle" for four Confucius Institutes in the German-speaking countries from 2007 to 2021. This cycle begins with a cooperative manner and remarkable financial and organizational contributions, followed by expansion and intensive self-restriction and self-censorship on the German side, it concludes in an overthrow or exclusion of the former allies. 2 These inherent cyclical dynamics makes clear: Incidents or violations in the final stages are perceived as surprising and sudden to the cooperation partners. As necessary, often brutal steps, they are an indicator of a tactical reorientation of the CCP.

Plea for a paradigm shift in Germany's contemporary China studies

Horst Fabian (first author and presenting the paper) and Andreas Fulda (co-author)

Former US diplomat Mark V. Reedy has described the dilemma in China-related knowledge production as follows: "Self-censorship has been a factor amongst the China analytical community for decades: knowledgeable individuals have long understood the professional consequences of coming out as overly critical of the CCP (...) Ironically, those with the most knowledge have typically faced the highest incentive to temper their views given the importance of China access and ties for professional success." The research puzzle at the heart of this article thus is as follows: How do leading German China scholars understand and explain the reform period (1978-2012)? How do they interpret the return to strongman politics under the Xi regime (2012-)? To what extent have they adjusted their analytical lenses? Are there problematic premises which explain the limits of their approaches to the study of contemporary China? In the conceptual part of this article the authors discuss incremental versus revolutionary changes to science paradigms, highlight problematic traditions in contemporary Chinese Studies and make the case for a rediscovery of Eastern European studies of Communism, in particular the scholarship of Janos Kornai. In the empirical part the authors conduct a comprehensive academic discourse critique of ten leading German China scholars. They find that in order to remain relevant the interdisciplinary field of German Sinology needs to overcome rule-stabilizing, culturally relativistic and culturally essentialist as well as anti-praxeological traditions.

Being a foreign researcher in China: A first-hand account on self-censorship and other issues

Alicia Hennig

Problems of self-censorship and restrictions on academic freedom are not only affecting the academic discipline of China Studies, which could be easily dismissed as being mainly a problem of a relatively small group of researchers globally. Quite the contrary, these issues are more far-reaching than often assumed, as every researcher working on China-related topics no matter from what discipline and every researcher being permanently employed at a Chinese university is facing the same problems and restrictions. 3 Alicia Hennig will contribute insights particularly to the latter. She has been permanently employed at two Chinese universities (Assistant Professor of Business Ethics at Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen; Associate Professor of Business Ethics at Southeast University, Nanjing) from 2015 to 2020. She will deliver a first-hand account on what it means to work for Chinese universities, especially in the Xi Era, that is characterized by ever more restrictions on freedom of expression and an ongoing crackdown on Western values. She will illuminate the working and contract conditions as such, gender and other discrimination issues in Chinese academia, ideological constraints related to her work and other restrictive measures she faced while still being in China.

Choice of perspective as part of self-censorship?

Olga Lomová

Doing research in China, and collaborating with Chinese partners demands avoiding „sensitive issues“ and respecting „red-lines“ set up by Chinese officials and formulated in the ideology. Especially in the Xi Jinping era, growing limitations, particularly in social sciences and modern history, are increasingly felt and they threaten to impact research undertaken. The rationale behind the willingness to make concessions may differ, from a wish to keep access to China open, to worry not to endanger Chinese colleagues and friends, to outright opportunism. However very rarely scholars in the West openly acknowledge, at least not in published form, compromises they made in their research. Part of this maneuvering in order to avoid adversity of PRC authorities is acceptance in various degrees of the idea of Chinese exceptionalism; if China is different by definition, certain practices otherwise hard to reconcile oneself with, become more palatable. Such an approach directs the perspective of a researcher and makes him/her blind to obvious parallels between China today and other totalitarian regimes of the recent past. This paper will compare Xi Jinping’s “important speech” from the 2016 CASS Conference on Philosophy and Social Sciences with similar Stalin era discourse. It will further explore how Xi Jinping’s speech and its impact was discussed (or avoided) in relevant Western research, and how its originally straightforward political message was neglected. The discussion will include issues of language used and specific vocabulary from CCP ideology in a comparative perspective.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3E: Philosophy and History of Thought (6A-double panel) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Lisa Indraccolo (Tallinn University, Estonia)
Lisa Indraccolo (Tallinn University, Estonia)
Dirk Meyer (University of Oxford, UK)
Joachim Gentz (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Ai Yuan (Tsinghua University, China)
Paul Goldin (University of Pennsylvania, United States)
Avital Rom (University of Cambridge, UK)
Thomas Crone (IKGF, Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)
Rafael Suter (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Christoph Anderl (Ghent University, Belgium)
(HYBRID) Exploring the Sound of Silence – The unspoken, omitted, and hidden in Early and Medieval China

ABSTRACT. Organiser and Chair: Lisa Indraccolo Discussant: Dirk Meyer

Silence – as the opposite complementary rather than the absence of sound – is a powerful expressive means. Contrary to the lack of sound, silence (or soundless sound) does have a voice. It is deliberately used to achieve specific communication goals in different areas of human activity and interaction (Bruneau 1973; Jensen1973), from the performance of music, to religious meditative practice and rituals, political and diplomatic activity, the record of history and the establishment of collective memory, and the pursuit of intellectual exchanges at all levels (Greene 1940; Glenn 2004). Silence is manifested as rest, hiatus, suspension, ellipsis, lacuna or omission, to create suspense or emphasis by a tacit communication established with the audience of a text, meant in its broader semiotic meaning. While the tropological study of the different uses of silence in several other traditions is well-established (Gonda 1960; Jaworski 1997), comparatively less attention has been paid to the systematic analysis of silence as a rhetorical tool in premodern China (Francis 2002; Pohl 2015). The present panel aims at exploring the aesthetics and the rhetoric of silence in Early and Medieval Chinese literature. Through the analysis of pertinent cases studies drawn from a wide selection of Classical Chinese texts, the panel addresses the different uses and modalities of silence as well as its interplay with sound in Early and Medieval religious, ritualistic, political, and philosophical discourse. It is hoped that the panel will provide a contribution to a better understanding of silence and its conceptualizations in premodern Chinese intellectual culture.

“The Master’s Many Sounds of Silence”

Joachim Gentz

We all know that on many occasions Confucius remained silent or remained silent on particular matters. This paper is a preliminary attempt to discuss the many forms of silence that have been ascribed to the Master up to the early Han. What kinds of silences (why is there no plural form of this word?) have been ascribed to Confucius? What expressions are used to refer to them (不語, 無言, 勿言, 不言, 不答, 隱, 諱, 闕文, 不書, 不記, 不志)? What are their respective functions? Are the many claims of the Master’s different kinds of silences compatible? Are they compatible with anecdotes and works related to him? How should we figure Confucius, the master of words, as a master of silences?

“Receptions of Confucius’ Silence”


Instead of treating Confucius’ silence as an aspect of a larger problem of discussion, this paper centres on receptions and interpretations of Confucius’s silence itself, not only in the Analects, but also the Xunzi, Kongzi jiayu, Zuo zhuan, the Yanzi Chunqiu, Wuyue Chunqiu, Shiji, the Zhuangzi, and Lüshi Chunqiu. It explains how and why the silence of Confucius speaks volumes. It claims that the silence of Confucius is not due to a lack of words, nor does it reflect compromise or tolerance. Instead, silence is used when words should not be uttered. I try to answer why a figure such as Confucius is frequently associated with silence, all the while his teachings are said to be recorded, composed, and transmitted by his students. I show that Confucius’s silence was widely commented upon by early interpreters, covering topics such as intentional and performative silence, the silencing of disciples, his responses to the silence of others, and the narrative motivation of Confucius’s silence. The silence of Confucius is presented in contexts ranging from moral cultivation, political life, pedagogical settings, and many other examples of inter-personal communication. Taking serious Confucius’ silence reveals a number of questions. What are the functions of Confucius’ silence? How the receptions of his silence varied and why? What are the changing attitudes towards his silence? By examining the rhetorical features of Confucius’ silence, this paper analyses a range of humoristic, moralistic, protective, disdainful, grateful, and educational functions of silence. Indeed, Confucius’ silence spoke louder than words.

“When Silence Speaks Volumes – Reticence and hiatus as wordless speech in the Mencius”

Lisa Indraccolo

The Mèngzǐ 孟子 is famous for the vibrant exchanges that Mencius engages in at court with local rulers, in the attempt to persuade them to assume an ethical behaviour suited to their socio-political role, and to embrace a path of moral leadership that could potentially turn them into a “true king.” A primary role in these cases of persuasion (shuì 說) is played by the masterful use the text makes of silence as a structural and instrumental rhetorical strategy (Bruneau 1973; Tannen & Saville 1985). In these dialogues, silences are employed and distributed strategically: a) as a form of reticence, when the ruler suddenly goes silent to shrewdly disguise his true colors, his innermost desires or darkest thoughts, or b) as result of Mencius’ technique of reductio ad absurdum (Yan & Xiong 2019), when the ruler or an opponent are unable to reply effectively and counter the persuader's line of reasoning, and hence are reduced to silence – in both cases, their silence is instrumental to the development of the argument supported by the persuader, who then takes the lead in the discussion (Robinson 2016); finally, c) as a meaningful “hiatus,” an almost maieutic way to trigger the desired morally appropriate behavioral response in the ruler, when the persuader himself deliberately chooses to keep silent, thereby conveying his wordless disapproval (Lyon 2004). The present paper attempts to disentangle the different modalities of silence employed in selected pertinent case studies drawn from the cluster of persuasions preserved in the Mèngzǐ.

“Silence as Royal Prerogative in Han Feizi” 韓非子

Paul R. Goldin

Whereas much of classical Chinese thought addresses the question of saying the right thing at the right time, Han Feizi 韓非子 argues that a wise ruler should make as little sound as possible, ideally no sound at all. (An illuminating contrast is the discourse of music in Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋, from the same time and place.) This is not because Han Feizi rejects the widespread conviction that people have a spontaneous urge to express themselves, resulting in speech, poetry, and song. Han Feizi implicitly accepts this theory; the problem is that the ruler should not express himself, lest everyone recognize his preferences and weaknesses. But the ruler makes up for his mediocrity with “claws and fangs” 爪牙, which are his power to reward and punish—and with this awesome power comes the prerogative of silence. Not only is he advised not to speak; he is the only person in the realm who can afford not to speak, because he is the only one who does not need an income. Thus the opportunistic ministers all around him must “spontaneously produce a ‘title’” 自為名, that is, a proposed enterprise, with subsequent rewards or punishments according to their “performance” 形. Eventually, they have to eat. The ruler—if he wishes to remain a ruler—must have the discipline to keep silent until his underlings can no longer afford to wait.

“Music and the Soundless in Early China – Resolving a Philosophical Dissonance”

Avital Rom

This talk will discuss the seeming philosophical dissonance between notions of soundlessness and notions of music in early Chinese texts. Textual sources from the Warring States and Han periods tend to promote music as an indispensable socio-political tool on the one hand, while on the other hand (sometimes in the same breath) idealising and idolising the soundless and the sagely ability to ‘listen to the soundless’ (ting yu wu sheng 聽於無聲). Scholars debating this tendency to concurrently promote both ideals have tended to resolve the conflict by referring to the allegedly contrasting ideas of soundlessness and musical sound as representing two bookends of the same natural process, that of the generation of sound (Cai 1995; Brindley 2012). While this premise cannot be challenged, there still remains the question of why authors of texts across an array of genres and eras felt comfortable promoting both ends at once. I would suggest that what enabled the philosophical coexistence of these seemingly conflicting ideas were their different conceptual roles: while the concept of soundlessness (often associated with the Dao) served as a pure imaginary (and unattainable) ideal, the notion of music served as the optimal and practical solution to the turbulences of everyday life. Ultimately, I argue, this duality of notions represents the need that arose during the late Warring States to address and reconcile philosophical ideals with practical policies and lived realities.

“Speaking in Silence – Approaches to Inner Speech in Early Chinese Literature”

Thomas Crone

Third-person descriptions of inner speech and other representations of thought are a rare and contextually restricted phenomenon in early Chinese literature. Seen from a comparative perspective, this “silence about speaking in silence” is intriguing and calls for an explanation. Its possible causes are manifold and could thus provide insights of value to scholars of various fields, e.g. narratology, philosophy of the mind, anthropology, etc. While the conception of the “mind” (xin 心) and the distinction between “inner” (nei 内, zhong 中) and “outer” spheres in early Chinese thought has received much attention, few have attempted to exploit for these purposes the reluctance of ancient writers to describe in detail the inner lives of their texts’ protagonists. In a tentative and explorative attempt to probe the scope and perceived nature of inner speech in early Chinese literature, I will discuss examples taken from texts of the Warring States period to the Eastern Han Dynasty, while intending to demonstrate that not only the presence but also the absence and avoidance of representations of thought can be of significance for our understanding of the conceptual framework in which the relevant texts were embedded.

“Meaning and Silence in Early and Medieval Chinese Texts”

Rafael Suter

Famously, the Xici explains that the Sage established the ‘symbols’ (xiang) of the Zhouyi to give an exhaustive account of his intentions. The implications of this passage have clearly shifted at latest with Wang Bi. In his Zhouyi lüeli he appears to use this term in the much broader sense of ‘images’ in general, identifying these as indispensable mediators between ‘words’ and ‘meaning’. While in subsequent medieval discussions, the elusive notion of ‘image’ does not seem to have received much attention, the crucial claim of the Xici that ‘words do not exhaust intentions’ (yán bù jìn yì 言不盡意) has given rise to a discussion on the relationship between words and thoughts in general, with the partisans of an essential split between the two representing the dominant position. Consequently, silence has often been considered as superior to verbal articulation. The idea, already prepared in Wang Bi’s influential commentary to the Laozi, that fundamental reality is essentially unnamable, here seems to culminate into the idea of a general inferiority of words as against silent insight. Not least, this skepticism about the value of linguistic expression has paved the ground for the ready adoption of Buddhism in general and madhyamaka in particular. In this larger context, the present paper intends to reconstruct possible motives undergirding this preference for silence apparently connecting preimperial writings like the Laozi and the Zhuangzi to medieval writings, both “autochthonous” and Buddhist alike.

“Silence as Action in the Literary Devices of Medieval Chán Buddhist Literature”

Christoph Anderl

In the literary structure of Medieval Buddhist texts, notably those of the Chán Buddhist schools, the expression of silence plays an important role. Silence has been an important literary device already found in early Chinese literature (Qi Yuan 2021); however, the high frequency and multi-modality of silence in Chán texts is significant (Anderl 2011). Chán texts frequently focus on encounter situations (typically between a master and a disciple, or between two teachers), in which silence plays an important role in the dramaturgy of the literary structure, both in terms of non-verbal communication, or in the interplay between verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as constituting an important pedagogical device in the instruction of the not-yet enlightened disciple. In this paper, I will try to give a short account of the various situations in which silence becomes significant (as constructed in Chán texts recording Chán dialogues), what implications this might have, what type of meaning is created and by what means it is encoded in the literary structure (typically, in 4-character phrases such as 杜口無詞, 默然無對, 鉗口結舌, etc.). As will be shown, parallel to the notion of speech acts (Searle 1969) as postulated in theories on Discourse Analysis, the refusal to communicate or respond can as well serve as an important action which can define certain types of communication, relations and power structures. In this respect, silence is often an important indicator that a communicative process is imbalanced.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3F: Politics and international Relations (5) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Kristina Kironska (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Filipa Teodoro (IPRI-NOVA, Portugal)
COVID-19 and Chinese national identity: a review of Xi Jinping’s speeches at home and abroad.

ABSTRACT. Using an inductive approach and qualitative content analysis, this paper reviews how Chinese national identity was articulated during the COVID-19 crisis. By looking specifically at a selection of Xi Jinping’s speeches in domestic and international settings during 2020, the analysis focuses on the construction of Chinese national identity by the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The paper hopes to shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on how the Party’s top leadership portrayed China’s national identity to the world and to the Chinese population.

Jelena Gledić (University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology, Serbia)
Threat and Opportunity Vs. Our Brother and The Other: Perceptions of China and the Chinese

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on international perceptions of the Chinese in the context of the competing “threat and opportunity” narratives on China through a case study. Empirical data from public opinion surveys and fieldwork conducted in Serbia, a Central and Eastern European state and significant site of Belt and Road Initiative projects, is analyzed. The aim is to formulate an interpretation of the international perception of the Chinese that builds on Chengxin Pan’s bifocal lens in Western representations of China’s rise. Previous research has established a clear understanding of how European countries perceive their evolving ties with China and the related perceptions of the country. Empirical studies show oscillations between positive and negative discourses, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, which are usually not rooted in historical and socio-political realities. At the same time, while there have been studies of perceptions of members of Chinese diasporic communities, views on the Chinese in general are an underresearched topic. This paper presents a focused analysis of those views in one country with the goal of building an empirical analysis to support a more general theoretical proposition. Namely, while the “bifocal lens” in representations of China shows two fundamental images – threat or opportunity, this research posits that the Chinese are also viewed as one of two extremes – our brother or the other. The given interpretation can provide lessons for understanding bilateral, regional, and international relations with China, as well as the interplay of perceptions of the Chinese state and its citizens.

14:00-15:30 Session SD3-3G: Literature (Premodern) (4) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Lectorium)
Maria Franca Sibau (Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States)
Karin Myhre (University of Georgia, United States)
Yung-Chang Tung (Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
Maria Franca Sibau (Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States)
(HYBRID) Humor at the Margins: Inversion, Reversal, and Transgression in Middle Period and Late Imperial China

ABSTRACT. Organisers: Yung-Chang Tung, Karin Myhre, Maria Franca Sibau

Humor at the Margins: Inversion, Reversal, and Transgression in Middle Period and Late Imperial China

Humorous language, evident throughout pre-modern Chinese writings, often only finds its place at the margins. Liu Xie’s early sixth century chapter on humor and enigma in Wenxin diaolong, in comparing jocular expression to the accounts of historical petty officials, reflects a common tone of equivocation about jocular speech and writing. The collective biography of humorists in Sima Qian’s Shiji demonstrates the marginalization of non-serious language by locating those skilled at comic critique in chapter 126 of a 130 chapter work, before the biographies of soothsayers and userers, but after those of knights-errant and cruel officials. This ambivalent reception is due in part to the multivalence of humor, an element of complexity by which jocular language means to indicate something different than what it seems to say. Persistent misdirection situates jokes and jesting on both sides of a categorical divide, perhaps capable of providing useful admonition or insight, while also threatening to undermine morals and sense. Papers in this panel address examples of the humorous subversion of critical boundaries. Tung’s contribution traces the shifting assessments of witty banter in Tang and Song literary, philosophical, and documentary sources. Myhre explores comic misapprehension and mistaken identity in Yuan sanqu on performance. Sibau’s project examines the unravelling of ethical norms through multiple layers of inversion in a Ming zaju play. Our panel as a whole works to track the subtle, powerful, and sometimes disordering effects of humorous expression.

Comic Misdirections: Revisiting Yuan Songs on Performance (Karin Myhre)

Colloquial works composed through the Jin and Yuan are well known for an expanded range of poetic authorship, linguistic expression, and literary topic.  In part it was the circulation of languages and cultures in multi-ethnic empires that made a place for developing genres to adopt more vernacular phrasings and a broader compass of subjects than might have been acceptable in other times. And while a shift toward candor and more forthright diction could suggest a championing of transparency, instead, and somewhat perversely, a motif repeated through a number of works is not the ease of communication across newly breached boundaries, but rather its difficulty.

The themes of communicative foundering and interpretive failure run through a humorous strand of dramatic song lyrics (sanqu), in which a of mix of topics and jumble of human subjects are deployed to depict gaps in performance as well as apprehension. Two of Du Renjie’s (ca. 1201-1283) song suites give humorous sketches of figures in the demimonde, in one case a hapless bumpkin who mistakenly finds himself in an urban theater, and in another a jilted sing-song girl. But though these comic narrators and their absurd situations might appear to be light entertainment, the theatrical structuring of Du’s portrayals also implicates readers in the represented world. The comic misdirection in these works enacts a shift of genre, from a joke about the limited comprehension of marginal figures, to a to a riddle for readers.

Dissonance, Humorous Inversion, and Classical Exegesis in the Late Ming Zaju play Qidong juedao (Marie Franca Sibau)

In a famous passage in the Mencius, a disciple confronts the Master with a hypothetical scenario: What would the sage Emperor Shun do if his father, the Blind Man, killed a man? Would he turn him to the minister of justice, Gao Yao, for proper punishment, or would he evade the law to protect him? Mencius’ clever response—Shun would let Gao Yao order his father’s arrest, while secretly fleeing with him to the sea edge and deserting the throne—provides the basic plot of a late Ming play, Qidong juedao (A Village Joke), attributed to the blasé literatus Lü Tiancheng (1580–1618). In this paper, I examine how humor and the motif of inversion work at different levels in the text. The play offers a trenchant satire of a host of exemplary figures, from sage kings to recluses, and probes deeply into the practice of filiality, and the question of legitimate succession. Not only are some of the most fundamental Confucian premises, such as the civilizing effect of virtue, ridiculed in the play, but also the very mode of casuistical moral reasoning found in Mencius commentaries is held up as target for satire. The deft juxtaposition and alternation of northern and southern tunes (the former exclusively assigned to the sheng role) highlight the incommensurability between virtuous exemplars and corrupt characters.

Reframing Humor: The Shifting Representation of Banter Culture in Middle Period China (Yung-chang Tung) 

This paper examines the changing reception and representation of the practice of banter (nue) in Middle Period China (618-1276). Following a long tradition of anecdote-collecting in Chinese history, literati from the seventh to thirteenth centuries continued to collect and circulate anecdotes of their banter. While the techniques of banter—including verbal jokes, manipulation of classical knowledge, and clever couplets—remained relatively unchanged, this paper points out that the reception and representation of banter transformed over time. By consulting anecdotes, state policies, encyclopedias, and philosophical texts, this paper argues that while banter was deemed a popular personal trait for literati in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Song (960-1276) literati tended to establish boundaries around the practice of banter. They not only promoted the concept of “elegant banter” (yanue), but also gradually excluded banter from the political sphere. While Tang literati were rarely punished for their banter, in the Song, banter was considered a reason for political attacks. Building on the discoveries in social, cultural, and political history in the Middle Period, this paper on one hand showcases the cultural continuity between the Tang and Song, and on the other hand reveals that long before the popularity of Neo-Confucianism, Song literati had started to reframe, if not restrict, banter in their cultural representations. This finding further indicates a cultural transformation in the Middle Period, which, by settling the boundaries of cultural practices, redefined the literati identity.

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4A: Arts and Art History (6) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Francis Bond (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Nan Hu (Fudan University, China)
(ONLINE) Learning from the Negative: The Reception of Soviet and Eastern European Art Films in Mao’s China

ABSTRACT. This article studies the exhibition and reception of Soviet and Eastern European art films in Mao’s China (1949-1976). Current scholarship on the Chinese reception of films from the Socialist Bloc focuses on revolutionary cinema, especially Soviet films under Stalin, leaving art films and avant-garde cinema untouched, as if they never entered the view of the Chinese. To revise this flattened view of film reception and media ecology, this article draws on a variety of sources including governmental archives, confidential publications, discussion records, newspapers, and memoirs, demonstrating that the Chinese audience’s view was much wider than we usually assume. It was true that foreign art films barely got into Chinese theaters: highlighting cinema as an art of and for the mass, the Chinese generally held a negative attitude towards these films. Nevertheless, through private screenings, criticism sessions, and film festivals, a number of Chinese viewers gained access to Soviet and Eastern European art films, and these films further shaped the ways Chinese filmmakers created their own works. Taking Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962) as an example, this article traces the screening and reception of this film, exploring how the Chinese director Cui Wei (1912-1979) carried out a mission of shooting Little Soldier Zhang Ga (1963) to criticize Tarkovsky’s representation of children, and how ironically Ivan had influenced Zhang Ga in cinematography. With this case study, I seek to propose a new role of “negative model” that Soviet and Eastern European art films played for Chinese cinema.

Arianna Magnani (Università degli Studi di Enna "Kore", Italy)
Rediscovered in Museum Storage: the story of an album attributed to Zeng Yandong (ca. 1750—1830)

ABSTRACT. Inside the storage of the Museo d’arte orientale Edoardo Chiossone, Museum of Oriental Art of Genoa, Italy, an illustrated album has been stored away over the years until its recent rediscovery. Although there currently are no signs of previous collocation or cataloging, it’s deposited in the nineteenth-century Chinese books collection of the Museum. The opera is a manuscript apparently unpublished and signed by the Chinese famous artist Zeng Yandong 曾衍东 (ca. 1750—1830), also known as Qidaoshi 七道士. The paper shows the contents of the album and translates a part of the text, written in xing cao 行草 calligraphic style. It originally consisted of twelve illustrations depicting chou 丑 role characters of Chinese drama, but the work is unfortunately missing some pages. The rediscovered album also offers the opportunity to introduce the history of the “hidden” Chinese books collected in the Museum, mostly belonging to Karl Traugott Kreyer (1839—1914)’s personal library. The case study is contextualized in a city, Genoa, and in a province, Liguria, that were for centuries a crossing point for trade and people moving to and from the East. The continuous new books findings in this area, such as the one illustrated, show how important the study of hidden or forgotten warehouses and libraries is, as well as their mapping and digitization, in order to better understand the interest in Chinese materials abroad.

Jialu Wang (University of Heidelberg, Germany)
Chinese Artistic Diaspora in the Context of Nation Building

ABSTRACT. Artistic diaspora refers to artistic practices outside of one’s homeland. China’s artistic diaspora in the twentieth century has inevitable connections with the unfinished, dynamic process of “modernity” that the nation experienced. On the one hand, this artistic group dissociated themselves from the native land of China and thus have double or multiple cultural and artistic background. On the other hand, their oversea experience did not necessarily segregate them and their work of art from their home culture. Many felt a heightened need to stress an “essential Chinese identity” through their artwork while living abroad. This paper attempts to compare the two waves of Chinese artistic diaspora around the 1930s and 1950s, respectively on the occasion of nation building context following the founding of Republic of China (RoC) and People’s Republic of China (PRC). Artist Liu Haisu (刘海粟) who went to Europe during the 1930s and Luo Gangliu (罗工柳) who studied in Soviet Union in the 1950s will be focused here as examples. Employing a transcultural approach, this paper argues that being “Chinese” is a habitus, a process that is both conscious and unconscious, rather than so called “cultural genes.” It will further illustrate how the most nationalist and traditionalist ideas of Chinese painting are derived from being in contact with the foreign and function as a response to the global challenge.

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4B: Religion (5) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Ondřej Kučera (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Rafael Suter (University of Zürich, Switzerland)
Meaning and Silence in Early and Medieval Chinese Texts

ABSTRACT. Famously, the Xici explains that the Sage established the ‘symbols’ (xiang) of the Zhouyi to give an exhaustive account of his intentions. The implications of this passage have clearly shifted at latest with Wang Bi. In his Zhouyi lüeli he appears to use this term in the much broader sense of ‘images’ in general, identifying these as indispensable mediators between ‘words’ and ‘meaning’. While in subsequent medieval discussions, the elusive notion of ‘image’ does not seem to have received much attention, the crucial claim of the Xici that ‘words do not exhaust intentions’ (yán bù jìn yì 言不盡意) has given rise to a discussion on the relationship between words and thoughts in general, with the partisans of an essential split between the two representing the dominant position. Consequently, silence has often been considered as superior to verbal articulation. The idea, already prepared in Wang Bi’s influential commentary to the Laozi, that fundamental reality is essentially unnamable, here seems to culminate into the idea of a general inferiority of words as against silent insight. Not least, this skepticism about the value of linguistic expression has paved the ground for the ready adoption of Buddhism in general and madhyamaka in particular. In this larger context, the present paper intends to reconstruct possible motives undergirding this preference for silence apparently connecting preimperial writings like the Laozi and the Zhuangzi to medieval writings, both “autochthonous” and Buddhist, alike.

Yuanjie Zhang (École Pratique des Hautes Études, France)
Analysis of group media images through big data: the example of monks in the press of the late Qing and Republican periods

ABSTRACT. In the late Qing and Republican periods, along with the cultural collision between the “old” and the “new” in China, the image of monks often appeared in newspapers and magazines as the main body of news or fiction. It is noteworthy that early newspapers often added imaginary and exaggerated parts to the news related to "monks". These processed news stories became a unique kind of story, combining truth and fiction. In addition to news, there were also comics, poetry, and fiction. They construct a complex "Monk" media image, which is presented in the public's field of vision. In this paper, we examine the media image of monks in the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China, based on newspapers and magazines from this period. The difference from traditional research methods lies in the use of multiple databases and the use of digital humanities tools to process and analyze the materials.

Friederike Assandri (University of Leipzig, Germany)
Mind, Karma, and Retribution in Cheng Xuanying’s reading of the Daode jing: Tang Dynasty Daoist Philosophy and the Reception of Buddhism in China

ABSTRACT. Daoist studies of the past 50 years (or so) have elucidated the development of the Daoist religion and its textual heritage in the early medieval period. The role of Daoism in the development of Chinese philosophy has received less attention. The early medieval period saw much interaction between Daoists and Buddhists: Political competition for adherents and patronage, co-option of religious and soteriological technologies and institutions, and a lively intellectual exchange. The early Tang emperors claimed Laozi as their ancestor, and thus promoted Daoism. The Daode jing, said to have been authored by Laozi, assumed new importance in the early Tang. Cheng Xuanying, a prominent Daoist thinker, was invited to stay in the capital in 631 by emperor Taizong. His commentary to the Daode jing integrates Buddhist concepts, which Daoists had come to accept as part of their regular worldview and religious practice, into his reading of the Daode jing. One such conceptual import is karma, which he understands as action (karman) and the result of action that impacts this and future lives. The presentation will contextualize Cheng Xuanying’s use of the concept of karma in the larger frame of his philosophy, and propose an analysis of how Cheng Xuanying tied the originally Buddhist concept to the text of the Laozi, with special attention to the use and interpretation of metaphors

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4C: Literature (Modern) (7) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Auditorium Maximum)
Petr Janda (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Mario De Grandis (University College Dublin, Ireland)
(ONLINE) Central Peripheries: Publishing Houses of Huizu wenxue

ABSTRACT. Despite the Hui’s geographic dispersion across the entirety of China, the production, promotion, and dissemination of Huizu wenxue (defined as the literary works by Hui people) hinges primarily on two publishers: Ningxia People’s Press and the journal Hui Literature. Since the late 1970s, these two publishers have played a complementary role in establishing a Hui literary network within and beyond China’s borders. Through the compilation of Hui literary histories and collectanea, Ningxia People’s Press has assumed the role of canon-maker. The Hui literary canon—a portion of which translated into Arabic by Ningxia People’s Press—has triggered exchanges between Hui literary professionals and authors in the Middle East. For its part, Hui Literature has organized national meetings that brought together Hui authors from all across China and “Dungan Hui authors” from Central Asia. The analysis of these meetings highlights how established authors have mentored junior ones, both during and beyond meetings, by workshopping manuscripts and providing opportunities for professional development. Although geographically and symbolically displaced from China’s economic and political centers, the literary initiatives carried on by Ningxia People’s Press (Yinchuan, Ningxia) and Hui Literature (Changji, Xinjiang) are central for the existence of Hui literature in China and for its crisscross exchanges with Central Asia and the Middle East. The case of Hui literary publishers challenges the perception of literary centers as solely located in affluent metropolitan areas, thus inviting us to foreground ethnicity as as a lens to investigate transregional and transnational literary networks.

Lingli Ren (School of journalism and communication, Tsinghua University, China)
Chinese Film Comedy in the 1980s: From a Perspective of the Father-Son Relationship

ABSTRACT. This paper examines an understudied yet popular film genre—film comedy—in China in the 1980s, exploring how it acquired a legitimate place in the emerging Chinese film market and embedded in the social and cultural transformation of post-socialist China. I argue that the father-son relationship was featured prominently in comedies of the 1980s and manifested in two categories of narration— “son revises father” and “father transforms son”. Based on the father-son-centered narratives, film comedy developed its own discursive system regarding family and generations, which enabled it to strike balance between toeing the party line, satisfying filmmakers’ artistic pursuit, and offering the audience comic relief. Far beyond the limited title of “light comedy”, film comedy of the 1980s made significant efforts to approach the market and demarcate popular culture in post-socialist China, and laid a foundation for the development of commercial films in the subsequent decades.

Rebecca Ehrenwirth (University of Applied Sciences/SDI Munich, Germany)
“Floating water lotuses:” Young Sinophone Poetry in Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar

ABSTRACT. While the community of Sinophone poets in Thailand and in the Philippines mainly consists of writers who were born in the 1930s and 40s, Sinophone literature in Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar is much younger. As Sino-Thai writer Zeng Xin (*1938) states, until now there is no young generation of Sinophone writers which could continue the tradition of Sinophone literature in Thailand since most of the younger authors were born in China and migrated to Thailand only in the 1990s or later. Zeng Xin calls this generation of writers “floating water lotuses,” because they have neither settled in Thailand nor in China. In Myanmar, however, there is a very small but young and vibrant community of Sinophone poets, who were mostly born in Myanmar in the 1970s and 80s as 2nd or 3rd generation Burmese. In this talk I want to compare a selection of poems by young Sinophone writers from Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar, such as Qian Mo, Wang Yong and Gu Qi, and identify central themes and motives in their writing. How do the writers relate to China, their country of origin or the land of their ancestors, vs. the countries they are living in, their (preliminary) home countries? I will use literary theory by Neumann and Nuenning on narrative self-making, consider the authors’ feelings of cultural belonging and discuss how these feelings are reflected in Sinophone poetry from Southeast Asia by different generations of writers.

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4D: Sociology and Anthropology (7) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Rune Steenberg (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Stefania Renda (Yunnan Minzu University, Italy)
“Local Identities and Tourist Images: a study among the Mosuo people of Southwest China”

ABSTRACT. The circulation of tourist images, narratives, and resources are some of the issues that anthropology of tourism pays attention to. This paper is the result of ethnographic research conducted among the Mosuo ethnic group of southwest China between 2017 and 2020. It examines different types of tourist encounters: a performance in the “Yunnan Minzu Village” theme park, a tourist visit to a Mosuo household, and a dance performance in a local village. From the analysis of these different contexts it emerges that, although local cultures often appear crystallized and immutable in tourist images, local identities are multiple and constantly changing. Furthermore, local communities are made up of people who carry out different actions and relationships with the tourism economic sector. Finally, from distinct types of tourist encounters, a different representation of the Mosuo cultural identity emerges, which is mediated by the subjects who create these representations, for example, the government institutions, the interactions between tourists and locals, and the locals themselves.

Yiming Zhang (Bielefeld University, Germany)
The Idea and Consequence of Incorporating Family ideology into Administrative Procedure: An Ethnographic Study of a Certification Room in Q City, Southwest China

ABSTRACT. With “family-oriented” tradition, happy family is crucial to the harmony and stability of Chinese society. In recent years, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) has intended to make the marriage registry as a propaganda position for family culture, strengthening the position and promoting family harmony by creating certification rooms. Through an ethnographic study of a certification room in N district, Q city, I found that the government requests to incorporate the certification ceremony into administrative procedure, thus strengthening government’s supervision and guidance of new families and enhancing people’s awareness of family, especially the awareness of “filial piety to parents, teaching children”. However, this emphasis on marriage may be highly presupposed and exclusive. Firstly, scene setting of the certification room assumes new couples on awarding stage would be gazed by both their families and the state. This is likely to deprive the discourse of couples from alternative family backgrounds and make them actively weaken the sense of ceremony by selectively completing the prescribed process or not entering the certification room. Moreover, real certification process which differs to the process setting text presents the characteristics of objectification that purposefully provide services to those are more typical and reportable. Finally, when the couple photographed themselves with certification room setting as the background and the ceremony as the material, the government’s expected solemnity of conveying to the newlyweds the concept of harmonious family and the family responsibilities under the law probably would be covered by a kind of self-performance and imagination.

I-Chieh Fang (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan)
Youth, National Development and Governance of 'Dream-building Projects' in contemporary Taiwan

ABSTRACT. After financial crisis, the unemployed and impoverishment of youth in Taiwan became social problems, and the voice of dissatisfaction grew louder. When the issue of youth unemployment is getting worse, the government have launched more and more ‘dream-building Projects’ to solve this problem. When the whole society is ‘finding the way for the youth’, it also publicly encourages young people to pursue their dreams bravely. Building dreams for young people becomes the responsibility of policy makers, because ‘when young people have dreams, the country has a future.’ It can be said that under the ‘Dream-building Project’, the dreams of young people have gradually become a public concern in Taiwanese society.

This paper studies ‘dream-building projects’ through ethnography to see how the youth's personal dreams are publicized and become the focus of national and social development. When dreams mobilize the youth to join the development project, the whole society is redefining, relocating the social position of youth, and even re-creating a new social category of youth with new characteristics. This paper argues that the image of the new youth created through dreams has challenged the power relations between generation, the way parent-child interactions, and family concept in Han Chinese society to a great extent, which is creating tension between national development and family sustainability. By analyzing the various youth discourses, debates and youth reoriented that accompany the 'dream-building projects', this paper demonstrates how a modernized Asian society rethink the meaning of ‘stability’ and ‘uncertainty’ in the face of rapid social change.

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4F: Politics and International Relations (6) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Richard Turcsanyi (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Richard Turcsanyi (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Kristina Kironska (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Tao Wang (University of Manchester, UK)
Sophie Xiangqian Yi (New York University, United States)
The international political views in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore: Evidence from new surveys (Roundtable)

ABSTRACT. The Sinophone Borderlands project of Palacky University Olomouc includes a series of large-scale public opinion surveys studying global views of China and Chinese views of the world (www.sinofon.cz/surveys). In this roundtable, we will present some preliminary findings from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. The data, with representative samples of 5600 respondents, is collected during March-May 2022.

To begin with, we will give an overview of the overall survey project and present the descriptive results of some key issues, such as how respondents perceive key international partners (USA, EU, Russia, China, etc), what foreign policy preferences they hold, and how they score on nationalism, militarism, political ideology, etc. The focus here is on four Chinese-speaking societies, comparing their similarities and differences. In the discussion, we will explore potential mechanisms behind these initial findings and suggest possible avenues of further research.

Beyond the descriptive findings, we will turn to specific research projects and experimental designs embedded in our surveys. These include the influence of state-affiliated media in Mainland China on respondents' political views, Mainland Chinese’ attitudes towards Taiwan (and vice versa), and Taiwanese people's perceptions of the death penalty under various circumstances.

16:00-17:30 Session SD3-4G: Environment (2) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Lectorium)
Joana van de Löcht (University of Münster, Germany)
Joana van de Löcht (University of Münster, Germany)
Ishayahu Landa (University of Bonn, Germany)
Stefka Eriksen (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, Norway)
Erling Hagen Agøy (University of Oslo, Norway)
Beyond the Catastrophe: Eurasian Dimensions of the Little Ice Age

ABSTRACT. The 'Little Ice Age' has been a research subject in historical climate studies since the second half of the 20th century, other historical fields started to deeply engage with it since the turn of the millennium. In recent years, numerous studies identified it as a trigger for political crises and upheavals. Possibly the most prominent publication, Geoffrey Parker's Global Crisis (Parker 2013) moves beyond a regional perspective on climate conditions of the 17th century and shows that crop failures, famine crises, pandemics and warlike conflicts were a global phenomenon. In his case study of 17th century Dutch culture, Degroot (2018) shows, however, that not all societies suffered equally from climatic changes. In the Science article Towards a Rigorous Understanding of Societal Responses to Climate Change (Degroot 2021), he argues for a stronger emphasis on adaptation mechanisms and resilience as cultur-al responses to climate crises. The proposed panel is composed of historians and cultural scholars with a focus on the Chi-nese and European cultural areas. The aim is to discuss, on the one hand, the extent to which temperature falls and associated natural phenomena could destabilize systems, which (re-)action possibilities and narratives the political structures and actors referred to and devel-oped. On the other hand, the panel asks to which extent the Little Ice Age may have served as an amplifying and accelerating factor for cultural and political developments. It thus tries to gain a more differentiated understanding of this phase of history and rethink the idea of its catastrophic nature.

Food Rich Counter Worlds - The Land of Milk and Honey and the Little Ice Age

Joana van de Löcht

Among the most striking consequences of the cold periods of the Little Ice Age are the fam-ines that occurred as a result of crop failures and inflation. While this phenomenon has al-ready been well researched by historians, at least for individual phases of the Little Ice Age (Collet 2019), no reference has yet been made to parallel developments in early modern lit-erature. Particularly with regard to 16th-century German-language literature, it can be ob-served that it is characterised by an abundance of food, be it Hans Sachs's “Schlaraffenland” (“land of milk and honey”), the extensive food catalogues in Johann Fischart's “Geschicht-klitterung” or the constant supply of necessities in utopian narratives. In fictional literature, food abundance seems to be represented even more often than hunger. The aim of the presentation is, on the one hand, to explore the potential of fictional counter-worlds that en-able readers to escape from their present, and at the same time to consider the extent to which environmental influences can be cited as a constituent for the new emergence or re-discovery of literary genres.

Prayers, Preparations and Prognostication: Mental Ways to Cope with the Little Ice Age in 17th Century China

Erling Hagen Agøy

As was many other places in the world, adverse weather conditions and social crisis (includ-ing the collapse of the Ming Dynasty) came together during the coldest decades of the Little Ice Age in the 17th century. Though the crisis claimed millions of lives, many practical means were developed to counter climate-related challenges (such as state-directed aid sys-tems during famines, water control following floods and public burials when epidemics struck). Prominent officials stressed the importance of preparing for disasters before they happened. But practical counter-disaster efforts were only one side of the story. When faced with un-predictable and often potentially lethal weather conditions, people also had to find mental ways to cope with climatic stress. The belief in aid from various powers and divinities is seen reflected in how prayers both led by local officials and initiated by the common people were used to end widely differing calamities (floods and droughts, locusts and tigers). In addition, my paper will argue that weather prognostication practices (often called “farmer’s prognostications 農占 nongzhan”) can be considered as a way for people to handle life in climatically unpredictable times, through making weather conditions seem more predicta-ble. How did these practices develop during the Little Ice Age? Did they enable people to predict calamities in concrete historical cases – and if not, did this shake their belief in them? These means of living with a dangerous and unstable climate will be related to the social resilience of 17th century Chinese society against climatic calamities.

Reading in Times of Crisis: The Role of Literature during the Little Ice Age in Medie-val Norway

Stefka Eriksen

The medieval kingdom of Norway, including Iceland, was one of the contexts that was im-pacted most severely by the Little Ice Age (LIA), due its northern geographic positioning. The LIA, which in the North started in the beginning of the 1300’s led to decreased tempera-tures, failure of crops, decrease of population, increased pack ice, change in international trade, etc. Despite this crisis, the fourteenth and fifteenth century saw a steady and even in-creasing textual and literary production in medieval Norway and Iceland, as testified by the large number of Old Norse manuscripts preserved. In this paper, I will discuss what role textual and literary production may have had as a coping strategy during such a critical peri-od, on individual and social level. I will, first, give a brief account of the type of texts and narratives preserved in Old Norse manuscripts from the period. Thereafter, I will focus on one specific text, namely Egils saga Skallagrimssonar (originally composed in the thirteenth century, but preserved in copies from the following centuries), and I will investigate what the copying of this text during the progression of the LIA can tell us about the ideological, emotional, and spiritual needs and coping strategies of medieval Icelanders during such a major time of crisis.

Weather, Hunger, and the Resilience of an Empire: Some Thoughts on the Last Decades of the Yuan Dynasty

Ishayahu Landa

The last decades of the Chinggisid Yuan dynasty (元朝, 1271-1368) were also the beginning decades of the “Little Ice Age”, whose typical characteristics in East Asia, the absence of summer monsoons, led to extensive droughts, crop failures, hunger and massive epidemics, the origins of which have not been thoroughly clarified. These developments put the imperi-al governance to a stress test, not least due to the rise of the rebellious movements (in par-ticular the “White Lotus Society” 白蓮教). At the same time, the regional and military elites were decentralised across the imperial domains and often fought not only against the dynas-ty but also against each other, especially since the late 1350s. Assessing the reasons behind the collapse of the Yuan, one is tempted to see a direct causal relation between the weather conditions, economic complexities, social unrest, political segmentation and the ideological and organisational difficulties of the empire to stabilise the domains. This paper certainly does not deny the importance of this factor. Yet by stress-ing the policies of the imperial and the regional authorities in managing economic and social instability and the paper sees this factor within a multicausal net. Zooming in on the impact of the weather conditions on the regional scale across the empire, it suggests the need for a more multifaceted approach in order to understand the impact of climatic events in world history.