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09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1A: Literature (Modern) (8) (Křížkovského 10, 3.39)
Petr Janda (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Irmy Schweiger (University of Stockholm, Sweden)
Frank Kraushaar (University Latvia, Riga, Latvia)
Acknowledging the history of the ‘Other’? Waisheng Narratives of Separation and Exile (Panel "Culture and Memory")

ABSTRACT. Rather unnoticed by world history, Taiwan has undergone a successful democratic transition, triggered by the lifting of martial law in 1987. The end of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949) caused the “great exodus”, where Chinese nationalists took refuge in Taiwan and disrupted the island’s decolonization process after Japan was defended in 1945. This complex post-colonial multi-ethnic social conglomeration of indigenous “Taiwanese” islanders and Han immigrant mainlanders has put national identity discourse on the agenda ever since the late 1980s. The 1990s, however, saw the emergence of previously suppressed social memories of local Taiwanese as driving force of building a Taiwan-centric identity based on the recognition of victimhood under Chiang Kai-sheks authoritarian regime. This paper looks into examples of “separation and exile narratives” that subvert this indigenization process. Written by second-generation “waishengren” these narratives are dealing with the trauma of their parent generation’s displacement. In how far do these narratives register a sense of crises, unsettling the earlier genre of nostalgic and self-affirmative heimatliteratur? To what extent do these stories construct a collective memory of the “Great Divide” striving to integrate the trauma of separation and displacement into the new Taiwan-centric cultural hegemony? Employing the concept of “cosmopolitan memory” (Levy & Sznaider, Beck), it will be asked whether these memories reframe collective identity from a cosmopolitan perspective by promoting mutual understanding and acknowledgment of the history of the ‘Other’ in order to render reconciliation and coming to terms with a conflictual and violent past possible.

Robert Tsaturyan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Chanting With the Dead: A Poetics of Cultural Trauma and Collective Memory in the Work of Yang Jian

ABSTRACT. Due to the traumatic nature of Chinese history in the 20th century, the representation of cultural trauma has been a prevailing feature of contemporary Chinese poetry from the 1980s onward. Few poets, nonetheless, have attempted to explore, interrogate, enact, reconstruct, and represent a series of devastating events—the consequences of which are either irreversible or impact generations—that occurred during and before the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), with such intensity as Yang Jian 楊鍵 (1967– ). This study explores the evolution of Yang’s poetry from his early lyrical meditations on the fragility and transitory nature of human and animal life in his first poetry collection Mu wan 暮晚 (Dusk) (2003), to the more explicit “poetry of suffering” in the epic Kumiao 哭廟 (Wailing Temple) (2014). I define his poetics as “ascetic aesthetics”: both in terms of content and the economy of language. What is the role of poetry in working through traumatic memories of historical events, most of which preceded the episodic memory—the individual experience—of the poet? What is the relationship between poetry writing and historiography, its implication for remembrance and forgetting? This paper studies the “wailing aesthetics,” in one critic’s words, and the peculiar phenomenon of writing history through poetry, about the unsettling experiences and unresolved predicaments of a collectivity sharing cultural and historical identity.

Lionel Sven Fothergill (Asien-Orient-Institut, Universität Zürich, Switzerland)
Memory Shift: The Cao Cao Revision in Three Kingdoms (2010)

ABSTRACT. Present leadership modes are informed not only by contemporary power and ideology but also by models of legitimate leaders preserved in cultural memory. Via creative recollection, cultural memory is constantly re/produced, gradually reshaping it to the current structure of feeling. Often, this reproduction leaves texts acting as stores – be it plays, novels, or television series – that provide insight into cultural shifts underway. This talk interrogates recent changes in leadership models by contrasting key episodes for Liu Bei 劉備 and Cao Cao 曹操 from the 14th century novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義) with its recent TV adaptations, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義, 1994) and Three Kingdoms (三國, 2010). In the novel, orthodoxy is determined by moral standing (Liu’s benevolence and virtue vs. Cao’s callousness) and expressed in Heavenly intervention. The earlier adaptation keeps close to the novel but removes the efficaciousness of virtue. The removal corresponds with anti-superstition efforts within religious policy. The later adaptation shifts support from Liu to Cao by satirizing Liu’s virtue and contrasting it with Cao’s efficient scheming. Cao’s ruthlessness and ambition are turned into a virtue and the source for admiration. This shift hints at tensions between the Party’s claims to moral leadership and the desire for a strong helmsman in the cultural environment leading to Xi Jinping’s ascension to power and growing support for more authoritarianism.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1B: Language and Linguistics (3) (Křížkovského 10, 1.49)
Ondřej Kučera (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Yuqing Liu (University of British Columbia, Canada)
(ONLINE) Pidgin Poetics: Pidgin English in the Nineteenth-Century Chinese Poetry

ABSTRACT. Pidgin English first appeared in China along the Pearl River Delta as a lingua franca composed of a mixture of English, Cantonese, Portuguese, Hindi, and Malay as early as the 18th century. This language spread to the Yangtze River delta in the mid 19th century when an increasing number of Cantonese merchants and workers traveled to Shanghai to seek opportunities after the First Opium War. Focusing on a series of “Pidgin Bamboo Branch Songs,” published in Shen Bao in 1873, this paper explores how Pidgin English was appropriated in Chinese classical poetry and altered the literary soundscape in the late nineteenth century. I argue that these poems embody an uncanny sonic experience of modernity and manifest the permeable boundaries between Chinese and European languages. Through a creative arrangement of divergent literal and phonetic meanings of Sinographs, the poet uses Pidgin English words to produce diverse voices and open up various possibilities for interpretations. These works display a kind of “polyphonic poetics” which allows multiple voices to coexist simultaneously and autonomously. Moreover, in contrast to traditional bamboo branch songs, which often insert transliterated indigenous vocabulary to domesticate strangeness and consolidate the imperial order, these poems appropriate Pidgin English in order to alienate the native, the conventional, and the familiar landscape/soundscape. This pidgin poetry, I contend, points to the paradox of modernity that foreignness lies not in a foreign land, but in one’s own poetic language and everyday life.

Longfei Xing (University of Cologne, Germany)
(ONLINE) 老三篇(Three Constantly Read Essays): Image of Mao’s China in Chinese Language Textbooks for Foreign Students

ABSTRACT. The three constantly read essays (老三篇) are three seminal articles written by Mao Zedong, known as the "Red Book of Red Books" during the Cultural Revolution. They are The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (愚公移山), Serve the People (为人民服务) and In Memory of Norman Bethune (纪念白求恩). This study focuses on these three essays in the Chinese language textbooks for foreign students in the 1970s. What kind of China’s story do they tell? What kind of China's image do they portray? What is the purpose of including them in Chinese language textbooks for foreign students? This study adopts the Critical Discourse Analysis in three dimensions, "language - value - power". From micro-level linguistic analysis to meso-level textual analysis to macro-level analysis of the target of the essays and their impact, it reveals the rationale behind the inclusion of the three essays in Chinese language textbooks for foreign students. Mao recounts three moral examples respectively: a mythical figure, a Communist Party member, and a foreigner. These three essays, seemingly unrelated, are a set of systematic introductions to Mao’s China, answering the questions of "who am I", "for whom", and "rely on whom". It reveals that Chinese language textbooks for foreign students were a vehicle for foreign propaganda and an instrument of the united front in the Mao era.

Gabriele Tola (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
Between Mandarin and cultural interactions: a brief analysis of the manuscript of a Latin-Chinese dictionary

ABSTRACT. This speech analyses from different perspectives a manuscript discovered in the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon: the Dictionarium Latino Nankinense juxta Materiarum ordinem dispositum, composed by the French Jesuit missionary Benjamin Brueyre (also spelled Bruyère, Li Xiufang 李秀芳, 1810–1880). The speech particularly focuses on the role that this discovery can have for the study of Qing dynasty Mandarins, particularly Nanjing guanhua (Nanjing Mandarin) and Beijing guanhua (Beijing Mandarin); at the same time, its implications on the cross-cultural interactions between China and the “West” are also addressed. The speaker first briefly introduces other fundamental texts compiled in Nanjing guanhua by Western missionaries and scholars; then, one of the most accepted grammatical theoretical frameworks for discriminating Beijing guanhua and Nanjing guanhua is presented. In this context, the manuscript is introduced, describing its purpose and some of its linguistic peculiarities, particularly the lexicological, lexicographical, and grammatical features, as well as some examples of cross-cultural translations. By referencing the information presented in the first part of the speech, I conclude that the Dictionarium is a text mixing linguistic features from different varieties of Mandarin: this manuscript is a rare and important record of lexicological, lexicographical, and grammatical features of late Qing dynasty Chinese and deserves research from both historical linguistic and cross-cultural perspectives.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1C: Literature (Modern) (9) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Justyna Jaguścik (University of Bern, Switzerland)
Justyna Jaguścik (University of Bern, Switzerland)
Jessica Imbach (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Joanna Krenz (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland)
Agnieszka Wójcicka (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland)
(HYBRID) Poetry and Technology

ABSTRACT. Organizer: Justyna Jaguścik Chair: Justyna Jaguścik

Poetry occupied a privileged position in China’s cultural production throughout history. Since the beginning of the modern era intellectuals have challenged the local poetic tradition and searched for a lyrical voice that would adequately intonate Chinese modernity. While some modern Chinese-language authors experimented with hybrid poetic forms that were influenced by western modernism and by the May Fourth modernization movement, others revisited and reinvented the classical canon in playful ways. A genuine interest in the aesthetic afterlife of ancient culture is visible in numerous texts by modern and contemporary Chinese poets. This panel follows the entanglements of lyricism and technology in modern Chinese-language poetry through an exploration of science fiction poetry, post-Mao avantgarde poetry, modern poetry translation as well as contemporary computer-generated verse. It studies the ways in which technological acceleration has influenced a poetic practice that remains proud of its longstanding tradition, while also creatively rethinking poetry as technology. It furthermore sheds light on Chinese poets’ answers to the literary challenges of writing creatively about the technological revolution we are living in and explores new media as a way of translating and disseminating poetry.

The lyrical laboratory: a microscopic history of educational verses and speculative poetry in Chinese science fiction

Jessica Imbach

Lyrical discourse and poetry not only dominated traditional Chinese literary culture, but also played a central role in the formation of modern Chinese aesthetics and intellectual thought. This also affected the development of science fiction, even though the genre is more commonly associated with “macroscopic” themes, world-building, and an unsentimental rhetoric. Recent examples of science fiction poetry can be found in several of Liu Cixin’s novels and the genre is the main theme of his short story “Poetry Cloud.” However, the origins of speculative poetry can be traced as far back as the late Qing and science-fictional themes continued to appear in educational verses throughout the Republican and socialist period. An especially interesting example are the “Songs about Almost Nothing” (1938-1939), by the science journalist and editor Gao Xingjian, in which he rendered the periodic table of elements into poetic form by introducing each chemical element through an ancient ci style poem. Recalling the tradition of the “object poem” (yongwu), Gao uses the poetic form as a device to not only illuminate the properties of various chemical elements, but also to find their traces in ancient legends and myths. Using Gao’s “microscopic” method of bringing meaning and (poetic) form to the hidden and ephemeral as my point of departure, this paper gives a short overview of the history of scientific and speculative verse as well as reflects on the contemporary relevance of the lyrical in Chinese science fiction.

Techné/Technology and Poetry in Zhai Yongming’s Most Delicate Words

Justyna Jaguścik

My presentation focuses on entanglements of poetry, creativity and technology in Zhai Yongming’s 2008 collection of poems Zui weiwan de ci (The Most Delicate Words). This volume explores the legacies of traditional poetics at work in the present and pursues a recontextualization of popular themes from classical poetry, such as love, nature, or spirituality. Moreover, the author aims at a reinterpretation of the feminine ci genre, in that she reclaims and reinvents the female voice, for the contemporary hi-tech era. Female creativity is an important trope in Zhai’s oeuvre. The 2008 volume dedicates much space to poetesses from the past. In an essay about Su Hui’s palindrome “Xuanji tu” (Picture of the Turning Sphere), Zhai discusses Su’s work as a marvelous text-object woven in brocade. According to Zhai, the fourth-century cross-genre masterpiece can be easily connected to contemporary artists’ explorations of the limits of the Chinese scripts. For example, to the 2006 image-text “Magic carpet” by Xu Bing that is a palindrome of four religious texts transcribed as a square world calligraphy. According to Zhai, both works, Su’s and Xu’s, undermine the habit of linear readings and bridge the distance between piece of art and handicraft. Zhai’s past work links female creativity to gestation. Her 2008 collection, however, deconstructs traditional gender roles and ventures into the liminal zone between life and death. Accordingly, she creates a decentered lyrical subject that shift between making and unmaking herself with the help of modern reproductive technologies and virtual extensions of the self.

Reprogramming the Canon: Chinese Computer-Generated Poetry as a Medium of Cultural Memory

Joanna Krenz

Contrary to Western literary discourse, which celebrates computer-generated (or AI) poetry as a new posthuman paradigm in cultural production, in China, the mimetic pursuit prevails: imitation of accomplished human authors in order to match the highest level of perfection measured by traditional aesthetic standards, which leads to a peculiar symbiosis between tradition and technology. On the one hand, classical Chinese verse, due to its specific linguistic and formal features, offers a convenient testing ground for engineers working on various problems concerning natural language processing. On the other hand, as they claim, technological innovations help maintain interest in and knowledge of classical verse among modern and future Chinese society and popularize it abroad. I approach the phenomenon of AI poetry as an intervention in the mechanisms of cultural memory understood as a reservoir of material and symbolic resources and rhetorical devices protected by cultural code that enable communication within a community and smooth transmission of concepts and values between different epochs. May cultural code be sufficiently translated into computer code? Can cultural memory function properly without the active effort of memorizing, in individuals absorb texts on multiple levels and actualize them in new contexts? Can it be anything more than a collection of random “exoskeletons”, made from algorithmically generated phrases and images which humans secondarily fill with their ephemeral emotional content? Can it work efficiently without the most basic cultural-critical mechanism, that is forgetting? And if it is possible, what will be social, cultural, political, and other consequences of this transformation?

Translator’s memory vs. computer’s omniscience: Comparative reflection on human and machine-made poetry translation from English to Chinese

Agnieszka Wójcicka

Applying terms coined by Antonina Kłoskowska, one may say that the translator’s memory is being shaped by bivalence (binational identity) or often by polyvalence or even cosmopolitism. Its unique content, structure and dynamic, including multilayered connections between personal biographical experience and knowledge of the external world, as well as psychologically and physiologically conditioned selection mechanisms significantly determine the process and outcome of translator’s activity. The so-described texture of memory and the way it resonates in translation is particularly interesting in the case of translators who have firsthand biographical and cultural experience and knowledge gathered during numerous stays abroad, which, to a greater or lesser extent, feeds into their reception of foreign texts and the way they recreate these texts in their native (target) language, as well as on their feel of their native language as such. Analyzing W.B. Yeats’s poem “When You Are Old” in translation authored by Chinese “traveling poet” Bing Xin, the first part of the paper discusses the effect of translator’s polyvalent memory and identity on the process and outcome of translation. The consequences of specific lexical, syntactic, and stylistic choices for the artistic expression of the text, but also for its existential or philosophical meaning are considered. Subsequently, I look at several examples of machine translations of the poem in question to investigate aesthetic and ontological implications of replacing the work of human memory operating on limited, heterogenous spacetime, with atemporal and a-contextual “absolute” knowledge available to computers in virtual databases, navigated by algorithms.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1D: Politics and International Relations (7) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Richard Turcsanyi (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Dafydd Fell (SOAS University of London, UK)
Yan-Han Wang (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)
Yen-Wen Peng (National Sun Yat Sen University, Taiwan)
Jhucin Jhang (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)
How do movement parties learn lessons of defeat in Taiwan? The case of the Green Party Taiwan

ABSTRACT. Electoral defeat is often viewed as the mother of party change. However, studies show that parties do not necessary learn the right lessons of defeat. The way that parties react to electoral setbacks is often closely tied to the internal power structure and power struggles in the aftermath of the election. In this paper we have chosen to focus on the case of one of the oldest movement parties in Taiwan, the Green Party Taiwan. We examine how the party has dealt with electoral defeat and if it can be said to have learnt the right lessons of defeat.

We address these questions by looking at the party’s response to three national election campaigns in 2012, 2016 and 2020. We plot how the party has changed by examining the nature of the party in the next rounds of elections. This then allows us to make a judgement on whether the party had learnt the right or wrong lessons of defeat. The analysis relies on a series of interviews with Green Party Taiwan figures over the last ten years, party political communication material, as well as participant observation data.

Nélson Trindade (Independent researcher, Portugal)
China-Japan bilateral relations during Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe mandates (2013-2020)

ABSTRACT. In the period between 2013 and 2020, China and Japan knew a turbulent phase of their bilateral relations after the nationalization of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in 2012. Due to this noteworthy event, both countries reached a level of antagonism unseen since the normalization of relations in 1972. In this political context, Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe initiate the diplomatic work of rapprochement within a historical juncture where the People’s Republic of China’s power and influence in the regional, continental and global framework is increasing and Japan is undergoing a complex domestic conversation about the pacifist nature of post-War Japan and the role of the Japanese foreign policy in the neighboring region. Through the analysis of the political dialogues, the economic and commercial ties and cooperation, and the military interactions between the two countries during the seven years where Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe were both heads of their respective national governments, we expect to formulate a detailed assessment of the current China-Japan bilateral relations, how it has evolved in the last decade, how it dealt with the most complicated challenges pertaining to the bilateral domain, and in which aspects it achieved progress or deterioration. As a conclusion, it will be assessed if the China-Japan relations assumed a neo-realist or constructivist dynamics and what tendencies it holds for the near future.

Veronica Strina (University for foreigners of Perugia, Italy)
The impact of the Academic Silk Road on the European Higher Education and China: a transcultural approach

ABSTRACT. Although the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) puts emphasis on infrastructural developments, the educational component emerged as a fundamental aspect of this strategic vision. The five pillars of the project, namely policy coordination; connectivity; unimpeded trade; financial integration; and people-to-people bonds, are in fact grounded on this last dimension of inclusiveness and shared culture. Hence, China’s soft power aspirations are connected to the development of an Academic Silk Road that may contribute to the advancement of the scientific and cultural environment both in China and Europe. Considering the Chinese Initiative as a source of cultural globalization and at the same time as its object, the research employs the concept of transcultalism to investigate how the Chinese cultural projection is reshaping the European higher education sector and is reshaped by the Western response. Confucius Institutes (CIs)- the “centerpiece” of Chinese cultural diplomacy (Hubbert, 2019)- represent the main channel to enhancing the soft infrastructure of the BRI, as mentioned in the ‘2016 Action Plan’. Therefore, the paper explores through the lens of the Institutes the main implications of the inititative on CIs' functions and goals within the universities. The work provides an in-depth analysis of Hanban official documents after the launch of the BRI, the changes in CIs’ teaching materials and HSK exam papers, as well as statistics of the activities and projects on the BRI organized by the Institutes. Finally, focusing on the recent rebranding operation carried out by Hanban to dismantle the "Western misinterpretations on the CIs network", the paper highlights the implication of such "two-way road" also on China. The work argues that the challenges of the BRI are shared by nature and, therefore, we shall ask not only how the initiative is foreshadowing a distinct system of higher education “with Chinese characteristics” (Kirby and van der Wende,2019) but also how the European values and criticisms are impacting the Chinese initiative.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1E: History (Premodern) (5) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Lectorium)
Paul Fahr (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
Paul Fahr (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
Yuri Pines (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Christian Schwermann (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
Clara Luhn (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany)
(HYBRID) Fit to Rule? On Meritocracy in Ancient and Early Medieval China

ABSTRACT. Who should rule, and why? There is probably no complex social entity that manages to escape this question. One of the most obvious and historically time-honored answers is that it should be those who are best suited for the task, i.e., those who excel in talent, competence, and merit. This idea, however, is currently being challenged by a growing number of critics: Maybe societies structured in this way do not promote the most capable, but privilege those who have once succeeded at climbing to the top, as well as their offspring; maybe ‘meritocracy,’ very much in line with how Michael Young (1915–2002) first conceptualized it in 1958, turns into something bad over time. These questions do not only occupy modern Western democracies. Already in Chinese antiquity, authors dealt with them intensively. Founding figures like Liu Bang (d. 195 BCE) and Cao Cao (155–220) apparently promised their supporters something similar to what Young called a “rise of the meritocracy”; still they saw to it that monarchical power firmly remained in their own family. The great clans of medieval China paraded their ‘ranks of merit’ — and ensured that their descendants would inherit their preeminence. In short, “meritocracy” could turn into its perceived degradation just as quickly then as it is suspected to do today. The individual papers of this panel discuss the concept of ‘meritocracy’ in ancient and early medieval China. They examine how the selection of the best is conceptualized in premodern Chinese sources and explore this concept’s limits.

Chair: Paul Fahr

“The Devil is in the Details”: Pitfalls of Meritocracy in Early China

Yuri Pines

The idea of “elevating the worthy and employing the able”—what we nowadays dub “meritocracy”—gained prominence in the would-be Chinese world at the beginning of the Warring States period (453–221 BCE), bringing about a rapid demise of the pedigree-based social order. And yet, whereas almost every thinker agreed that the appointees’ abilities should matter more than birthright, the details of how to define one’s worthiness and who should define it were bitterly contested. Should one prioritize the candidate’s moral worth or administrative capabilities? How to identify the real worthies and weed out those with a fake reputation? What should be the ruler’s role in the process? Can objective criteria of “worthiness” be applied? By surveying these debates, I hope to outline the relevance of early Chinese discussions of “meritocracy” to our own age.

What Kind of Selection? On the Meaning of bo xuan 博選 in Ancient Chinese Texts

Christian Schwermann

How does one find the most competent candidate to fill a leadership position? Along with the idea of recruiting officials based on their skills rather than their descent, various concepts of selection procedures were developed in ancient China, including the notion of bo xuan 博選, which is usually translated as “broad selection.” But what exactly was meant by this? A selection based on a wide pool of candidates? Or a selection that was as diverse as possible? Or something completely different? This paper sets out to reconstruct the precise meaning of a key term in China’s meritocratic tradition from the contexts of its usages in ancient Chinese texts. The sources on bo xuan that will be explored range from philosophical writings such as the eponymous chapter of the Heguanzi 鶡冠子 (Master Pheasant Cap), anecdotes in the Zhanguoce 戰國策 (Strategies of the Warring States), and historical narratives in the Hanshu 漢書 (Documents of the Han) to collections of administrative regulations such as the Hanguan jiuyi 漢官舊儀 (Old Rules of the Han Offices). At the end of the paper – this much can already be revealed here – stands the obvious insight that quality was deemed more important than quantity. 

What Merits, and Whose? The Discourse on Merit in Early Medieval Recommendation Prose

Clara Luhn

The promise of meritocracy is that talent combined with performance determines a person’s rise to the top of society – in lieu of factors like, e.g., pedigree or wealth. One of the many challenges in implementing a meritocratic system, however, lies in finding ways to reliably identify such worthy and able people. In the early medieval period, rulers relied in part on recommendations to fill government posts. Quite a few examples of recommendation letters have survived in the dynastic histories and various anthologies. In this paper, I will focus on recommendation letters from the Southern Dynasties and examine them for their discourse on meritocracy. Not only do the texts concern themselves with the qualities of the person recommended, thereby shedding light on what the authors considered to be of merit. They also provide insight into how the recommenders perceived the relationship between the subject(s) of the letter, the addressee, and the recommender himself. To this end, the letter writers draw on the merits and responsibilities of each participant in this recommendation triangle. Some letters even address the tensions between the system of meritocracy and the practice of recommendation itself. 

Emperor Due to One’s Merit: On the Institution of Voluntary Abdication in Early Medieval China

Paul Fahr

In pre-modern China, meritocracy played an important role not only with respect to the officialdom, but also for the monarch. It manifested itself in the idea that he or she should eventually follow the example of several legendary rulers and transfer their throne to the worthiest person available. This was more than a political myth. Han Wendi 漢文帝 (r. 180–157 BCE), for example, is said to have mentioned this option shortly after his enthronement. And after Wang Mang 王莽 (r. 9–23 CE) had become emperor in this way, voluntary abdication became the predominant mode of dynastic change in early medieval China. These dynastic changes were regularly carried out by means of a complicated ritual procedure and were conducted with the help of various types of official documents. Many of these texts have survived as part of large historiographical works, literary anthologies, and the like, and allow us to study the dynastic founders’ respective claim to rule. Based on these sources, the paper discusses to what extent the voluntary abdication of the throne was interpreted as a meritocratic institution in early medieval China and how authors justified the suitability of the respective pretender.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1F: Literature (Premodern) (6) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Nicholas Loubere (Lund University, Sweden)
Rubén Jesús Almendros Peñaranda (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, France)
Constructing a New Sexuality: An Analysis of Shenlou zhi 蜃樓志 in the Face of Jin Ping Mei’s 金瓶梅 Erotic Model

ABSTRACT. The publication of Jin Ping Mei 金瓶梅 (c. 1610) created a new model of erotic novel characterized by its excessive and unreal nature – as opposed to the bedchamber manuals – which became common from the end of the Ming Dynasty onwards, as can be seen in Rouputuan 肉蒲团 (1657) and Lüye Xianzong 綠野仙踪 (1762).

Nevertheless, as Keith McMahon (1995) argues, a new archetype of erotic fiction depicting idealized polygamous households appears at the mid-Qing Dynasty, even if still influenced by the narrative model of Jin Ping Mei. This is the case with caizi jiaren 才子佳人 novels, Yesou puyan 野叟曝言 (c. 1750) or Shenlou zhi 蜃樓志 (1804).

This paper will focus on the construction of this new model of sexuality in Shenlou zhi, which narrates the sexual affaires of a lascivious but benevolent hero, Su Jishi 蘇吉士, in a particular context: the splendour of the Canton system, already showing signs of corruption, between 1799 and 1802.

I will compare Shenlou zhi with Jin Ping Mei, considered as its main source, in order to underline the similarities and the differences in their sexual portrait. I will concentrate on the construction of the main characters (Su Jishi, Suxin 素馨 and the fake Tibetan monk Mola 摩剌, in comparison with Ximen Qing, Li Ping’er 李瓶兒 and Pujing 普靜, respectively), the representation of sexual violence and the care of the self.

Massimiliano Canale (University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy)
Liu Yong’s and Ouyang Xiu’s Erotic Song Lyrics: Similar Styles, Different Receptions?

ABSTRACT. This paper aims to compare the erotic ci 詞 song lyrics attributed to Liu Yong 柳永 (987?-1053?) and Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (1007-1072) and speculate on the reasons behind the different ways they were received by contemporary and later sources. I will focus on some important similarities existing between the two authors’ erotic production, which both explored the vulgar (su 俗) style of the song lyric, traditionally despised by many elite critics. Through an analysis of the reception of the two collections up to the Qing (1644-1911), I will attempt to understand whether, and to what extent, critics used asymmetric standards in judging comparable songs, based on the different reputations that the two authors enjoyed in elite culture. I will suggest that the critics’ attempts at dissociating Ouyang Xiu from the erotic songs attributed to him by some sources, regardless of the truth about the actual authorship, may be part of a pattern of judging a lyricist’s work more on the basis of his/her importance in the elite tradition rather than by purely literary criteria.

Radek Pělucha (Prague Linguistic Circle, Czechia)
The Applicability of Narratology to the Classic Chinese Novels or How much Analepsis is there in Shuihu zhuan?

ABSTRACT. The aim of this presentation lies in the endeavour to answer two questions: 1) How can a discipline of literary analysis that was formed in the West in the latter half of the 20th century cast new light upon a literary genre that came to a halt with the very advent of the 20th century? 2) If we understand the concept of analepsis in line with Genette’s structural narratology as a flashback or retrospective, what results may be obtained when reading the text of 水滸傳 through this ‘magnifying glass’?

The answer to both the questions above is to be looked for in the tension on the axis between the abstract and the concrete. The concept of analepsis is itself an abstraction functional within the context of structural narratology and formulated to enable better reference to extant texts. This degree of abstraction is seen as productive in the contrastive reading of traditional Chinese novel and its Western counterpart: analepsis shows itself to be one of the crucial formal features found in the Western novelistic narratives, whereas it is all but unknown in the traditional genre of 章回小說 (chain novel). This will be further elaborated with reference to different factors influencing the rise of the traditional Chinese novel, particularly the role played by the historical narrative in the process

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1G: Interdisciplinary (4) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Giorgio Strafella (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Daria Berg (University of St.Gallen, Switzerland)
Federica Mirra (University of St.Gallen, Switzerland)
(ONLINE) Multimedia Narratives of the Belt and Road Initiative in Western China

ABSTRACT. Since Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, China has stipulated economic agreements with over a hundred countries and developed trade links across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. As China’s influence spreads worldwide, both scholarly debates and the international media have increasingly examined the rapidly changing power relations. While recent scholarship discusses the BRI in the fields of economics, geography and international relations, few studies have yet investigated perceptions of the BRI within China in the visual arts. This study analyses works by contemporary artists Zhao Zhao and Zhuang Hui to shed new light on underrepresented visual narratives of the BRI in Xinjiang and Gansu provinces respectively. Due to their strategic positions, those regions are undergoing extensive urban transformations at the expense of their socio-cultural heritage. While Zhao mocks the technological and infrastructural development in the desert, Zhuang retraces the mountains of his childhood through drawings. Rather than viewing China as a threatening ‘Other’, this study responds to the urgent need for a deeper understanding of China’s indigenous percpetions and socio-cultural dimensions under Xi Jinping. This analysis of multimedia art works problematises the changes imposed by the BRI, providing alternative visualisations. Finally, by approaching the BRI from the perspectives of culture and the visual arts, this study breaks new ground for an emerging scholarly debate, proposing a new interdisciplinary framework to grasp the local impact of the BRI and its global implications.

Renata Čižmárová (Palacký University, Czechia)
The role of Czech media in shaping public opinion - Agenda setting in an era blanketed under the Black Clouds of Covid-19

ABSTRACT. My proposed paper examines the relationship between the public's perception of China and any role of Czech media in influencing and possibly inflaming this opinion. Framing media topics enables journalists to influence peoples' opinions and narrow down the scope of information available to readers. These frames also guide readers’ / viewers’ evaluation of the issues and determine how they should be perceived. In political news, frames have the ability to focus attention to certain aspects of reality while obscuring others and play an essential role in the exertion of political power - thus, frames (framing) can be viewed as an imprint of such power (Entman 1993). Following up upon a European wide research survey conducted by the Sinophone Borderlands project in autumn 2020, my proposed paper will examine the public's opinion of China under the black clouds of Covid-19 across thirteen European countries. The research will be based upon the survey results of 1506 respondents from the Czech Republic who held the most negative view of China within Europe, with only North Korea and Russia invoking a worst public perception. Czech citizens mostly associated China with authoritarian communist rule, poor quality goods and over population. Czechia was also the only European country that did not focus upon Covid-19 as the number one topic. This paper aims to offer a deeper understanding of the information channels available to the Czech public and intends to further examine local media and its role in shaping public opinion.

Natalia Riva (Catholic University of Milan, Italy)
China’s foreign affairs in the China Daily’s editorial cartoons

ABSTRACT. In the communication of Chinese political discourse outside of China, editorial or political cartoons (社论漫画-政治漫画) are considered innovative and creative tools to achieve a better publicity effect (Wei, Zhang 2021). This paper examines a selection of editorial cartoons published throughout 2021 by the China Daily (https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/cartoon-index). In addition to the online portal, the corpus has also been collected through the newspaper’s Facebook posts (https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/chinadailycartoon). The choice of this English-language newspaper is based on its central position in the infrastructure built by the People’s Republic of China to communicate its messages globally (Hartig 2018). The study aims to explore the potential of the China Daily’s editorial cartoons on foreign affairs in representing the status of great power sought after by the PRC and the projection of this image globally. To do so, the paper first proposes a thematic classification of current international issues targeted by the cartoons (Afghanistan, USA, human rights, Covid-19, etc.). Secondly, drawing on the methodological tools of visual analysis (Kress, van Leeuwen 2021) and multimodal critical discourse analysis (Machin 2013), the study looks at whether and to what extent these cartoons act as vehicles of persuasion (Musolff 2017; Marín-Arrese 2020). In particular, the analysis focuses on the use of visual and visual-verbal metaphors in the depiction of social actors and events. Finally, the paper reflects on the potential role of editorial cartoons in creating narratives (Musolff 2006) and counter-narratives conveying China’s positions in relation to the identified issues.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1H: Interdisciplinary (5) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Tereza Slaměníková (Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia)
Chunxiao Liu (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
(ONLINE) Wáng Wéi, the Lyricist: On the Prosodic Features and Musical Adaptations of Wáng Wéi’s Poetry

ABSTRACT. As one of the most celebrated Táng 唐 dynasty (618–907) poets, Wáng Wéi 王維 (701?–761) is particularly known for his artistic versatility—he is also a famed painter and a distinguished musician. While ample studies have been devoted to the relationship between Wáng Wéi’s paintings and his poems, the impact of his musical talents on his poetic composition still awaits sustained attention.

This study focuses on the “musicality” of Wáng Wéi’s poems. It first narrows down the target corpus to such poems, or more precisely, lyrics that were allegedly adapted to music during the Táng. Secondly, it quests for the approaches to this special corpus, given the scarcity of evidence for the music the poems in question were sung to, and our limited knowledge about the correlation between lyrical syllables and musical notes. Then, the study bifurcates to the examination of isometric (qíyán 齊言) and heterometric (záyán 雜言) poems, tracing evidence of their musical performance, and analyzing their prosodic features indicative of musical accompaniment.

The aim of the study is to approach Wáng Wéi as a “poeta musicus”, i.e. a lyricist. Via his sung poems, it will show his mastery in arranging prosodic elements, which not only enhance the semantic patterning but also facilitate the adaptation of a poem to music.

Liangliang Chen (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) Craftsmanship and the Making of Urban Spectacles in High Qing Yangzhou: A Case Study of Li Dou (1749-1817)

ABSTRACT. The prosperity of economic and cultural consumption in eighteenth-century Yangzhou nurtured groups of people who made a livelihood through their specialties and techniques. This paper examines how the traditional Chinese literati attempted to reposition themselves in urban culture and how they revisited the Confucian discourse on craftsmanship. I argue that Li Dou李斗 (1749-1817) can serve as an important case study through which we can investigate the profession, social status, aesthetic taste, and knowledge culture of the literati in High Qing Yangzhou. By a close reading of Li Dou’s well-known city guidebook Yangzhou huafang lu 揚州畫舫錄 and personal collection of poems, as well as his two unnoticed playscripts, this paper discusses how Li Dou, as an urban Flâneur, appreciated and genealogized a variety of crafts which were closely related to the making of urban spectacles; and how he, as a professional playwright, contributed to urban splendor by designing playscripts that were characterized by performability, techniques and appreciatability. He went as far as to stage the notorious pornography The Plum in the Golden Vase and highly appraise those performers excelling in salacious acting, seemed to suggest that there is something amoral conceded to art. This paper argues that Li Dou’s discourse and practice on performative art, along with his rich knowledge on architectural technology and many other crafts which were often regarded as trivial or even inferior, are strong evidence of the development of the idea of “craftsmanship” in High Qing Yangzhou.

Jasmin Wai Tan Law (KU Leuven, Belgium)
The Significance of Writing Duan Inkstone in Early Qing Guangdong

ABSTRACT. The “material turn” in late Ming China illustrates the obsession (pi 癖) with superfluous things (zhangwu 長物) of the literati, which reflects in a broader sense the aesthetics and consumer culture of the period. However when it comes to the dynastic change from Ming to Qing, the appreciation of objects was not only about the tastes and lifestyles of the literati or the discourse of connoisseurship. The objects lay at the heart of constructions of local culture and regional identity against the authority and encroachments of the Qing court.

Early Qing literati like loyalist-poet Qu Dajun (1630-1696), a native of Guangdong, not only acted as a collector of inkstones, but also wrote various genres of literary works, namely poetry, prose, inscription, and prologue on Duan inkstone (Duanyan 端硯), a local speciality of Duanzhou in Guangdong. In his writings, the craftsmanship of the inkstone is recorded in every aspect including the attribute, texture, colour, voice, and pattern. He even conducted a thorough investigation on the exploitation, production, and circulation of Duanyan. Qu’s comprehensive research on Duanyan demonstrates his endeavour to preserve the local culture of Guangdong, which has been understudied in the context of art appreciation and the discourse on things (wanwu 玩物) in the past scholarship. This paper seeks to represent the cultural symbol of Duanyan in early Qing collective writings and how it served as a treasure and circulated among the elite literati in Guangdong.

09:00-10:30 Session SD4-1I: Sinophone World (1) (Křížkovského 10, 1.42)
Ute Wallenböck (Masaryk University Brno, Czechia)
Agnes Schick-Chen (University of Vienna, Austria)
Astrid Lipinsky (University of Vienna, Austria)
Julia Marinaccio (University of Bergen & European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Norway)
Jens Damm (Independent scholar, Germany)
Institutional Reforms as identity work in 21st century Taiwan

ABSTRACT. Chair: Ute Wallenböck

In the end of the 20th century, recognition as a showcase of democratization and the resulting status as a young democracy were core elements of a new identity that Taiwan developed after the end of martial law. Institutions considered to be the cornerstones of a functioning democratic system therefore can be seen as essential parts of this process of identity formation, and initiatives to establish and/or further develop them as essential contributions to identity work. The panel discusses reforms to the electoral system, equality rights, and the judiciary, as well as their relevance for an ongoing process of functional and ideational consolidation. Furthermore, the importance of the reforms for Taiwan’s international standing and global influences are addressed. In this sense, the paper on absentee voting discusses the dominant political discourses in Taiwan and highlights Taiwan’s relations with mainland China as critical to this controversy. Together with the paper on Taiwan’s gender equality policy and its impact on international visibility and connectedness, they exemplify that reforms in the respective fields can further strengthen the functions and ideas of political participation and representation locally and could even be advertised internationally. Finally, the paper on judicial reform shows the interrelatedness between institutional reform and changes in the (self-)perception of institutional actors as representatives of rule of law and justice. Allowing for a greater identification of the respective constituencies with the principles underlying the above reforms, the latter can be expected to be perceived as constitutive elements of Taiwan identity to an even greater extent.

Taiwan’s Controversy on Absentee Voting in the Context of Trans-Strait Relations: A Case Study of the 2012 Presidential Election

Julia Marinaccio, Jens Damm

This paper departs from the assumption that enduring debates about introducing an absentee voting system in Taiwan, despite being a minor political issue in Taiwan’s domestic politics, have been significantly shaped by ‘the China factor,’ the primary political cleavage in Taiwanese society. Deploying Fairclough’s (2013) framework of CDA, we systematically analysed the debates on absentee voting between 2008 and 2012. In more detail, by drawing on government papers, public hearings, and media reports, this paper presents the findings of a discourse analysis on the political debates about absentee voting before and after the presidential elections in 2012.We identify the areas of disagreement, explore the role of Taiwan’s relationship with China in the deliberations on absentee voting, and get a more nuanced understanding of how political cleavages concretely manifested in the debates. We find that competing interpretations of its purpose very much characterized the discourse on absentee voting. Taiwan’s relationship with China and its main political cleavage manifested, more than in any other topic, in the historical question about the political participation of ROC citizens residing abroad.

The Role of Taiwan’s Gender Equality Policy in the International Establishment of Its National Identity

Astrid Lipinsky

In the process of Taiwan’s political democratization, women and various women’s movements have been crucial. Their importance is demonstrated in many ways that make todays Taiwan Asia’s most equal nation and society. Taiwan is a rare example of an Asian nation with a female president, and the only example for the female head of state not being the widow, wife, or daughter of a powerful man. From 2020, Taiwan’s national parliament has 41,6% female members, more than double the number of female parliamentarians in Japan and South Korea. In 2019, Taiwan introduced same-sex marriage by law as the only nation in Asia following the ruling of Taiwan’s highest court. The betterment of said law is an ongoing process and is about to include foreign persons originating from places that do not recognize same sex unions. More recently, national gender equality policies and practices have enabled Taiwan’s much desired international participation. Examples are Taiwan’s annual participation in the NGO-forum of UN-CSW, or the Taiwan-Europe gender equality training model. Taiwan includes herself in the global UN measures, e.g. Taiwan ranked sixth globally and first in Asia in the 2019 UN Gender Inequality Index. However, Taiwan lacks international diplomatic status. This paper shows how Taiwan uses its progressive gender equality policies to gain international contacts and to achieve visibility. Although gender policy has been successful, the author wonders how much global acknowledgement can be attained by using the ‘gender issue’.

Reforming Taiwan’s judiciary: institutional change and identity

Agnes Schick-Chen

Despite the acknowledgement of rule of law as a prerequisite of democratization, international research on Taiwan’s democratic transition has not paid enough attention to its legal foundations beyond constitutional developments and reforms. In the context of a vibrant civil society, its increasing rights awareness and claim to justice, however, the role of Taiwan’s judicial system as designated institutional safeguard of civil and human rights has become a concern of political authorities, committed academic elites and a disenchanted public. The paper shows that judicial reforms were initiated by both DPP and KMT presidencies not least with the aim to transform the image of the judiciary into one of institutionalized justice. It points out that the difficulties in pursuing this goal are partly rooted in a feeling of mistrust dating back to the martial law period when the judiciary formed part of the mechanisms of political persecution and oppression. It further argues that the reluctance to address and redress this problematic aspect of Taiwan’s judicial history has frustrated efforts to narrow the distance between society and judiciary and hampered a renewal of institutional identity. The author concludes that self-/identification of institutional actors with an idea of justice answering to the expectations of democratic society and compatible with a broad definition of rule of law will make the latter an even more distinguished part of Taiwan identity.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2A: Sinophone World (2) (Křížkovského 10, 3.39)
Eugenia Tizzano (Roma Tre University, Italy)
Chiara Cigarini (Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy)
Martina Renata Prosperi (Roma Tre university, Italy)
Eugenia Tizzano (Roma Tre University, Italy)
Re-thinking Humanity’s Relationship with Nature: “Supernatural Ecology” in Sinophone Literature

ABSTRACT. The contemporary Sinophone literary production seems increasingly attentive in recounting the effects produced on nature by man and his activity, which are remodeling the world in general, and the territories in which this literature has been developing in particular. This panel endeavours to investigate a peculiar narrative response adopted – more or less consciously – by some authors in order to stimulate a reflection on the relationship between man and the environment in which he lives, or on the impact that nature has on the writer, and on his literary activity. This strategy, addressed here as “supernatural ecology”, is aimed at representing possible alternatives to the developmental views of the present. Such a reading involves the recovery of supernatural images taken from the classical phantasmagoric paradigm, with the attempt to restore that harmony between man and nature typical of ancient Chinese thought, in which the supernatural was nothing but an expression of the natural world. Through some case studies taken from mainstream authors such as Shen Keyi and Mo Yan, and from science fiction writers such as Chen Qiufan, we shall attempt to approach the way in which literature contributes to human and environmental problems of our times, suggesting that the premise for a sustainable future starts from an environmentally driven approach anchored to these authors’ own roots. The supernatural, expressed in the form of ghosts and other extraordinary creatures from the past, in these works seems to be uniquely capable of making us re-think this technology-driven present.

Mothers of the Earth: Magical and Redeeming Women in Sheng Keyi's novel Jinhui (2018)

Due to her obsession with metaphors, journalist Yao Minzhu is locked up in a detoxification center for rhetoric disorders. The center hosts intellectuals and artists, and the metaphors are eradicated both by pharmacological means, and by administering speeches from political leaders, which patients should listen to and memorize. Minzhu, refusing treatment, goes through a surgical operation and ends up having her mind irreversibly clouded. In this state of numbness, she imagines visiting a place called Fuyinzhen, where, thanks to the ocular solution given to her by a witch, she is able to see not only the present but also the past of the places and of the creatures she encounters. In this dreamy journey, in which the reader might discover an allegory of the Cultural Revolution, the paradigm of the imaginary, which will ultimately offer the only possible way of understanding and salvation, will reveal itself under the aegis of female figures, suggesting an ancestral and supernatural connection between woman and environment, between feminine and soil, between the unimaginable of suffering and the incoercible anchoring to life that having a womb entails, pushing the female subject, if necessary, to (im)possible but salvific imaginations. Treasuring a selection of archetypes of the anthropologic imaginary identified by Gilbert Durand, this contribution analyzes the way in which, in Sheng Keyi's Jinhui, the "magical" woman, or the one capable of (re)imagining, is not only a source of human life but a guarantor of environmental salvation.

“Haunted Landscapes” in Chinese Science Fiction: an analysis of The Waste Tide (2013)

After having spent many years in the United States, the young Chen Kaizong, originating from one of the largest e-waste recycling centers in the world, returns to his native Chinese homeland, the highly polluted “Silicon Isle”, a fictional village located in the real town of Guiyu. This contaminated place, ravaged by expended electric waste, seems to languish in a pre-modern dimension in part due to the magical aura of ghosts and superstitions that loom over this desolate dump now devastated by human action. Recently associated with his interest in an optimistic future in which AI plays a central role, Chen Qiufan has left his mark on the contemporary science fiction panorama also for his literary denunciation of the damages caused by man to environment, a reflection which in some cases has been conveyed through unconventional narrative strategies. I believe the deterioration of the ecosystem described in one of his main works, The Waste Tide, and the criticism it contains, involves a recovery of supernatural elements belonging to a pre-modern dimension aimed, I think, at highlighting a relationship between man and nature that has now been lost. We shall try to verify whether this combination of environmental damage and supernatural phenomena, these “haunted landscapes,” can be understood as an alternative way to denounce the damages caused by man to the environment, a narrative strategy adopted to stimulate a reflection on other possible directions.

“Deep time” and “Multiple Universes” in the Works of Mo Yan: an Ecological and Cultural Analysis of Mo Yan’s Rural Landscapes

The expression “deep time”, borrowed from geology where it indicates the time - long enough to escape our limited human perception - of the natural transformations that take place in the cosmos, is used by Benedetti (2021) to show how the birth of the modern Western novel is based on a first act of fiction that excluded “inconceivably large forces”, and telescoped “the changes into the duration of a limited time-horizon” (Ghosh, 2016). Benedetti points to the traditional Western epic or the sixteenth-century Chinese epic Journey to the West, as narrative forms in which authors move freely in much wider spatial and temporal horizons, and, in contemporary novels by authors such as Powers or Achebe, she identifies a saving power that comes from their ability to reinsert the human in a wider background, causing a shock capable of producing a change in perception and action. This paper reflects on the contribution of contemporary works written in Chinese in that metamorphosis that would see literature, according to Benedetti, not only as a mere mirror reflecting changes but as a means capable of producing such changes. Reflecting first of all on the peculiarities of Chinese literary and cultural tradition, in which the modern Western novel has been imported but where it hybridized with a traditional conception that has never separated the natural from the “supernatural”, this paper proposes Mo Yan as one of the authors capable of reintegrating the dimension of “deep time” that has been lost in most modern novels. His works, often defined rural and mythological frescoes and compared to the traditional epic, provide the Western reader with a vision of the world with “multiple universes”, i.e. admitting other worlds beyond the visible.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2B: Language and Linguistics (4) (Křížkovského 10, 1.49)
Joanna Ut-Seong Sio (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Christian Pak (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) I, You, He: The Lyrics of Liu Yong (987 AD-1053) and the Division of Late Middle Chinese

ABSTRACT. Northern Song 北宋 (960-1127) is one of the most controversial dynasties that historical linguists often debate: should it be identified as Middle Chinese (Zhonggu Hanyu 中古漢語) or Early Mandarin (Jingu Hanyu 近古漢語)? The past literature often adopts rime rhyme dictionaries (such as Guangyun 廣韻), rhyme tables (yuntu 韻圖), and history books (such as Mengliang Lu 夢粱錄) as primary sources and support their argument in phonological, grammatical, and/or lexical perspectives. Only very few scholarly works consider literature as one medium to examine the aforementioned question. In the meantime, this dynamic Dynasty symbolizes the development of Chinese lyrics (Ci 詞) given its innovation on Ci’s presentation formats, contents, and language. As one of the innovators, one of the key features was that Liu Yong broadly utilized the vernacular Chinese language (baihua 白話) in his poetic compositions to express his heartfelt feelings. While many of the past scholarship, e.g. Winnie Leung 梁麗芳, has discussed Liu’s contribution to Ci’s development, have we ever incorporated Liu Yong’s works into this question? How does Liu’s lyrics reflect the use of language in Northern Song? This proposal will take the first, second, and third-person pronouns (Rencheng Daici 人稱代詞) in Liu’s poetic works as a case study and analyze these samples quantitatively in order to rethink the division of late Middle Chinese.

Samira Müller (University of Zürich, Switzerland)
Living among ‘the others’ - a linguistic philological inquiry into the material culture of Xuanquan

ABSTRACT. This paper aims to shed new light on the material culture of the Xuanquan commandery and its neighborhood as reflected in Han dynastic manuscripts, focusing on objects and practices which show non-Chinese influence. The manuscripts will be examined from a philological and linguistic perspective while also considering relevant archaeological data. As Charles Sanft has shown, contact with foreign people was a common occurrence in the region of the Hexi corridor. Not only were there guests from faraway kingdoms and pastoral clans, but also people described as hu 胡 living among the Chinese, as well as doctors and veterinarians of unknown origin who offered their services in exchange for a good meal. Even though the relocated Chinese may have tried to maintain their traditional lifestyle, the constant entanglement with the local culture(s) as well as environmental factors significantly influenced their daily activities in Xuanquan. A granary official who acquired camel jerky, a mysterious ointment called shi’an gaoyao 貰胺膏藥, the abundance of felt products and the occurrence of peculiar objects such as socks made of dog leather are but a few examples reflecting the increasing proximity between Chinese settlers and ‘the others’.

Chiara Bertulessi (University of Milan, Italy)
Like "Spring Breeze and Rain": An Analysis of the CCTV Documentary Jiaoyu qiangguo 教育强国

ABSTRACT. The political leadership of the PRC has traditionally attributed great importance to education and educational policies, which have been repeatedly adapted to serve not only changing social and economic needs, but also political ones. This is no less true for contemporary China, where Xi Jinping defined the project to build a “powerful country of education” (jiaoyu qiangguo 教育强国) as essential in pursuing the objective of the Great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation (Xi 2017). The present paper analyses the 2019 four-episode documentary produced by the CCTV and the Ministry of Education of the PRC, titled “教育强国” (Powerful country of education), available on the CCTV website (CCTV/Jiaoyubu 2019). The paper starts from the assumption that this documentary constitutes a manifestation of China’s official political discourse on education. As such, it contributes to building the dominant narrative on the topic. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis and on Social Actors Representation Theory (Reisigl/Wodak 2009; Van Leeuwen 1995; KhosraviNik 2010), the objective of the paper is to examine how this product contributes to the narrative about the transformation of China into a “powerful country of education” and, specifically, about the State’s and Party’s efforts and achievements in this project. The analysis mainly focuses on the verbal mode (e.g., the narrating voices) of the documentary. However, given the characteristics of the genre, a multimodal perspective (Machin/Van Leeuwen 2016) is also adopted, examining how the different modes (verbal, visual, audio) interact to construe this dominant narrative.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2C: Literature (Modern) (10) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Kamila Hladikova (Palacky University Olomouc, KAS, Czechia)
Shiru Chen (Associate Professor, Department of Chinese, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan)
(ONLINE) Paris in the 1920s by Chinese Travelers: An Analysis of the Travelogues of Xu Zhimo, Lu Bicheng, and Lin Xiantang

ABSTRACT. Since the 17th century, when the priest Giulio Aleni introduced “ Chih-fang Wai-chi” to China, Paris has always been a “romantic” and “civilized” city in the Chinese imagination. In the 1920s, the number of Chinese travelers and students to Europe increased, and their images of Paris changed in complex ways. This paper will focus on three representative travelers, the poet Xu Zhimo, who visited Europe in 1920-1922 and 1925, praised Paris as more beautiful than “paradise” in his travelogues, and described the hardships of the underprivileged. Lu Bicheng, a single woman, traveled to France in 1924 and 1928.The Paris she wrote about was not romantic, but even miserable. In 1927, Lin Xiantang, a native of Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule, embarked on a trip around the world. In his travelogue, he not only repeated the beautiful features of Paris but also focused on the French Revolution and wrote about Paris of darkness from a political perspective. The three travelers traveled to Paris in a similar era, but because of their different backgrounds, they constructed multiple images of Paris in their travelogues. These exotic images present the travelers’ gaze on the other and express their cultural perceptions of themselves. This paper explores how the image of Paris changes in the intertextual context of cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity from three perspectives: gender, politics, and literature, and analyzes how Chinese travelers re-tell themselves in writing about the other.

Sujie Jin (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
(ONLINE) Alternative History Enacted in Chinese Online Fiction: Fantasying New Identities

ABSTRACT. In mainland China, the Patriotic Education Campaign was launched in the early 1990s. It highlights the Century of Humiliation and the significant role of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in terms of liberating the Chinese nation and people, whereas it deemphasizes the contributions of Guomindang troops in the War of Resistance against Japan. As national humiliation discourse spreads beyond official control by mass media through the Internet and social media, alternative narratives like online allohistorical fiction (also known as alternate history) emerge in response to official historical narratives that fail to ring true. This paper aims at exploring how online allohistorical fiction reflects and affects the ethos of culture situated in the sociological context of changing social-cultural environments. I apply discourse analysis to examine the context, the processes of text production and interpretation, and the text. Herein, not buying into the official rhetoric, Jinyan (《谨言》) is presented as a case study to show how Chinese netizens fictionalize a federal government established by warlords during the Republic of China so that China, in the parallel world, is able to avoid massive casualties, war damage, and land loss caused by the World War I and China’s War of Resistance against Japan. This paper illustrates how fantasized national and cultural identities are negotiated in allohistorical fiction where nationalism is not imposed by state propaganda or elites so much as it resonates with young people’s feelings as it is circulated in the digital sphere.

Simona Gallo (University of Milan (Associate professor), Italy)
“Poetry as self-narrative: reading Yang Lian’s lyrical memoir”

ABSTRACT. As a semiotic practice that ignores cultural and linguistic borders, thus transcending time and space (White 1981, 1), narrative is indeed “a category of human behaviour” (Fuldernik, 26), which also inhabits poetry. Notwithstanding, it seems that contemporary narrative theory is almost “silent” about its poetic extensions (McHale 2009, 11), and when it comes to lyrical poetry it becomes reticent, also given the paucity of a fully structured corpus. With the lyrical collection Narrative Poem/敘事詩 (2011), translated by Brian Holton, Yang Lian 楊煉 contributes to the critical discourse, also reaffirming his creativity and authority in the global Sinosphere. Narrative Poem/敘事詩 is presented as a book-length autobiographical poem, through which the poet frames recollections and depicts his own imagery. By means of this experimental work, Yang Liang also sets a few challenges: he questions the linguistic and semiotic boundaries of poetry; he re-discussed the traditional theoretic framework of the narrative poem as a genre, in China as well as in the West; he demystifies the concept of the memoir as a prose narrative; finally, he blends fictional-factual-lyrical narratives together. By observing the distinctive features of Narrative Poem/敘事詩, in terms of lyrical and narrative elements, the paper will discuss the poet’s approach to narrative poetry, which differs from the Chinese traditional one (Levy 1988). Moreover, it aims at describing Yang Lian’s lyrical language as a “Ricoeurian” poetics of the self, where the ego is creatively reshaped in its new identity (Bond 2019).

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2D: Politics and International Relations (8) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
František Kratochvíl (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Angela Tritto (HKUST, Hong Kong)
Hongsen Wu (HKUST, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) Help with strings attached? Examining the distribution of China’s medical assistance under the Covid-19 pandemic

ABSTRACT. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed developed and developing economies to a shortage of medical supplies and to severe economic, institutional, and social challenges. During this time, the Chinese government has stepped up its efforts to aid countries in need. This paper examines the distribution of Chinese medical assistance, defined as donations of medical goods and vaccines as well as purchases of vaccines, to understand what its main determinants are. Our results show that political alignment, measured by the voting distance between China and aid recipient countries, or by the support of said countries to defend China on recent joint statements on human rights issues such as Xinjiang, or Hong Kong, is significantly related to the receipt of COVID19-related medical assistance. Countries that supported China in either of these two joint statements received over than 200% than those holding a contrary opinion. Medical equipment donations went to countries that joined the BRI and had lower Covid19 infection rates, while countries that recognized Taiwan received significantly less Chinese medical assistance. Overall, results do not support the view that China provided aid to resource rich countries, except to vaccine donations to top oil import sources.

Qing Chen (The University of Warwick, China)
The Conflicts on the Periphery: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism and Foreign Mercantile Communities in China in the 1910s

ABSTRACT. There was a tide of establishing national chambers of commerce across the treaty ports in China during the First World War. Having gone through the nineteenth century when the internationalist free trade installed by the treaties in China, the emerging British Chambers of Commerce across the treaty ports during the war implied the determination of British expatriate mercantile communities in defence of national interests. In late Qing and early Republican era, the self-organisation of foreign expatriates and their changing forms indicated the shifting power relations in the society of nations as well as the delicate relationship between diplomatic body and the merchant community. The paper takes the development of the foreign mercantile organisation as an example, to name specifically, the British Chamber of Commerce of Shanghai. It indicates the complicacy of inter-state relations that would be projected on the interaction patterns of local foreign establishment and vice versa. It tries to reveal the British expatriates’ reflections on the long-existing gap between the British establishment and Chinese market. It argues that such foreign Chambers of Commerce in China formed during the Great War were not only a body of articulating national interests in China, but also was a self-adjustment of foreign merchants with reflections on the internationalist trade, treaty system and informal control in last century. It further, became an informal force of Britain’s Empire in China thereafter to serve Britain to redeploy its overseas instruments and recapture the vicissitudes of the Chinese market.

Anabela Santiago (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
Health diplomacy as a tool of soft power in contemporary Chinese history

ABSTRACT. People’s Republic of China is nowadays the second largest economy in the world, having achieved a considerable mark in its own history and global history: it has lifted out of poverty its whole population. This achievement has implications in a variety of sectors; health sector is one of them. As the country grows in influence as a global economic and political actor, its position towards global health governance also does. The challenges of its inner health system are at stake with a highly demanding population as far as healthcare is concerned. This paper communication intends to analyse the evolution of Chinese health reforms in recent history (from 2003 until current days) and its level of commitment with international health standards. It will be focusing on strategic policies and initiatives – namely the “Healthy China 2030” plan and the “Health Silk Road” – as potential tools of soft power for health diplomacy approach, in order to achieve a leading position in terms of health global governance. It is intended to observe the levels of compliance of Chinese health public policies and the way these policies are communicated to the population through a content qualitative analysis of health related promotional materials such as posters, leaflets and videos.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2F: Literature (Premodern) (7) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Vit Ulman (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Xingwen Zhao (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China)
(ONLINE) The Landscape Writing in Li He’s Poems

ABSTRACT. One of the stereotypes about Li He 李賀 (790-816) is a scene in which the poet is grieving over his doom and disease in poetry while chanting The Songs of Chu in a plaintive voice. The inspiration for Li He’s poems from The Songs of Chu is widely recognized. As for the landscape writing, the affinities between the two are obvious. But on the other hand, Li He has written the landscapes symbolized by those in The Songs of Chu in an innovative way. Given the deep influence of literary tradition, his novel poetic writing of these landscapes may denote that Mid-Tang poets like him were conscious to challenge the conventional implications of some imageries and invent new products with these long-existing materials from nature. Their ambition to rewrite landscape is the epitome of their ultimate goal to reinterpret the world.

Li-Wen Wang (University of Bonn, Ph.D. Student, Germany)
(ONLINE, PRE-RECORDED) Deviations, Encounters, and Adventures: Seafaring Tales in the Song Period

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on the spatial representation of seafaring tales in the Song dynasty to explore the sea and ocean海洋as a heterotopia of cross-cultural encounters and extraterritorial imagination. Numerous research has been conducted on the literary reconstruction of cities and landscapes in the last twenty years. However, much less attention has been paid to nautical narratives, an indispensable corpus for investigating the maritime culture and the shifting worldviews of premodern China. It is worth noting that a certain number of stories in the Song period not only transform the traditional novel motifs but also blend with the updated sailing knowledge during the era renowned for the prosperous overseas commerce. By taking Yijianzhi夷堅志 as the main primary sources, this paper aims to clarify three aspects of this issue: Firstly, these seafaring tales commonly follow the sequential pattern: (1) commercial or fugitive voyages (2) shipwrecks caused by natural disasters (3) encounters after deviations (4) returns, which are mixed with ancient legends and the historical Indian Ocean route with port cities and islands as networking nodes. Second, the varying worldviews including realms of immortals or ghosts, scattered barbarian kingdoms, and desolate islands, reflect upon hybrid knowledge sources and more realistic descriptions of livelihood. Finally, the concerns of cultural identity and the accordingly human-environment relationships are presented through communication, trades, and interracial marriages. Through the above discussion, it hopes to elucidate that the seafaring tales have developed a specific spatiality that emphasizes travel experiences and strategies for survival.

Georgijs Dunajevs (University of Würzburg / National Library of Latvia, Latvia)
Ghosts, Social Hauntings, and Anxieties in the Chinese Classical Short Narrative of the Supernatural (zhiguai)

ABSTRACT. There are two things to point out from the outset in discussing ghosts. The very presence of a ghost in a narrative signifies a haunting episode, as ghosts only appear when there is an unresolved connection transcending the realms of living and dead. Furthermore, ghosts are also imaginary, conjured up entities that abide by their conjurer’s creative intent. In between the Chinese popular belief in and the veneration of ghosts and spirits, and the rich literary lore accumulated over centuries, ghosts in the Chinese tradition engage in “social haunting” owing to their omnipresence in social, cultural, and intellectual discourses.

In this paper, I attempt to reinterpret the notion of “social haunting”, applied to the corpus of zhiguai (“tales of the strange”) from the Early Medieval and Tang dynasty China, to analyse how the introduction of the ghost in the narrative addresses then-contemporary social issues and espouses personal anxieties that are representative to the class of educated literary elites who participated in the very production and consumption of the intellectual culture that originated these tales. The examples discussed are primarily taken from the narratives collected in the Song dynasty leishu Taiping guangji. Operating within the boundaries of the ghost lore itself and drawing inspiration from Western cultural theory (Derrida, Freud, Cixous), I discuss what had preoccupied the mind of the learned Chinese individual during the period in question.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2G: History (Premodern) (6) (Univerzitní 3, Konvikt Chapel)
Tereza Slaměníková (Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia)
Agostino Sepe (Università per Stranieri di Siena (University for Foreigners of Siena), Italy)
Accepting reality: the re-opening of Manchuria to Chinese immigrants in Yongzheng era

ABSTRACT. For most of Manchu domination over China, the rulers’ attitude toward Han civilians’ migrations to the motherland was a negative one. In Kangxi times, immigration was tolerated but strictly controlled, and most of the resources were assigned to the local Eight Banners: it was on the bannermen that the court planned to base the region’s development. In the 5th year of Qianlong (1740), an imperial order officially prohibited Chinese civilians to settle in Manchuria - the well known fengjin zhengce 封禁政策. The only exceptions to this trend were two brief periods, the first between Shunzhi and the early years of Kangxi, and the second roughly corresponding to Yongzheng’s reign. During the former (1653-1668), immigration was encouraged, settlers were free to reclaim uncultivated lands, and a civil administration system was established. This phase has been widely discussed in the academic community for over a century, whereas not enough has been done on the latter-mentioned period, during which six new cities were founded to welcome the immigrants, and the land policies, which previously strongly favored Banners’ members, changed significantly in an effort to meet the needs of the civil population. Based both on institutional and private sources, this paper will outline in detail the features of this peculiar stage, analyse the differences and, more importantly, the similarities with the precedent moment of opening of the province, in order to show how important the change of direction was - despite the fact that it did not last long.

Piotr Gibas (College of Charleston, United States)
To Eat or Not to Eat? The Curious Affair of Western Missionaries with Chinese Food

ABSTRACT. James Legge (1815-1897)—Protestant missionary and prominent Sinologist—lived in Hong Kong for over thirty years and famously never touched Chinese food. Why not, we may ask, and even more curiously, what did he eat instead? In this study, I propose to reconstruct the everyday diet of Western missionaries in imperial China and to uncover the cultural, theological, political, and racial reasons that lay behind it. To address this question, I consider two groups of missionaries who were active in China at different times: the Portuguese Jesuits (Catholics) based in Macau between the 16th and 17th centuries, who were the first Western Christian missionaries in China, followed by the second group—the British and American Protestants in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There was a stark contrast between these two groups and their foodways. While Jesuits did have some religious concerns when approaching Chinese cuisine, they, for the most part, embraced it. The Protestants, on the other hand, who arrived much later and during the peak of Western domination in China, acted from the position of power and rejected local food on cultural and ideological grounds as inferior, unhygienic, and potentially poisonous.

Tero Tähtinen (Tampere University, Finland)
Space and Place in Tao Yuanming's Tianyuan Poetry

ABSTRACT. In the literary history, Tao Yuanming’s poetry has often been interpreted biographically or even as some kind of ethico-political statement. This type of approach, however, tends to overlook the deeper structural and textual aspects of his poetics. In my presentation, I concentrate on Tao’s tianyuan (“fields and gardens”) poetry and analyse the means by which he creates place-awareness in his verses. For a theoretical frame of reference, I utilize the ideas of “place” and “space” as they are put forth in Yi-Fu Tuan’s landmark Space and Place (1977). In short, space is the open-ended and unstructured experimental potential and place is an “enclosed and humanized” space. In his farming poems, Tao repeatedly organizes his home range through the tension of place and space. For instance in the fifth poem of his famed “Drinking Wine” poem cycle, he generates a feeling of spaciousness by mentioning “southern mountains” and “flying birds” and at the same time creates a deep-rooted sense of place by picking up chrysanthemums by a fence in his private garden. Interestingly, the fence (籬 li) is mentioned in the middle of the poem as if it is meant to divide the experienced space into two halves. The demarcation between the wild and the domestic nature is constantly negotiated in Tao’s farming poems in which space and place appear as interconnected and mutually defining underpinnings. With these kind of analyses I wish to demonstrate that Tao Yuanming was one of the preeminent place-makers in the history of Chinese poetry.

11:00-12:30 Session SD4-2H: Sociology and Anthropology (8) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Sofia Bollo (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Sofia Bollo (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Patrick Wertmann (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Shaobing Li (Inner Mongolia Museum, China)
Cangbai Wang (University of Westminster, UK)
Laura Pozzi (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Iside Carbone (Royal Anthropological Institute, UK)
(HYBRID) Museums in China, China in Museums

ABSTRACT. Chair: Sofia Bollo

The museum field in China is rapidly growing, in the number as well as types of museums, and in the quality of professionalization of the sector. In the meantime, China's global expansion has opened spaces for the discussion of the representations of China beyond its territorial border. This panel wants to contribute to the knowledge of museology development in China. It also proposes reflections on the socially constructed processes of Chinese heritage-making inside and outside China. A range of different contributors from different disciplinary backgrounds will present their current work on museums in China and China in museums covering various museum types and topics: from archaeological sites museums in Inner Mongolia, to “Overseas Chinese Museums” in the PRC, or museums with Chinese collections in Florence Italy, to the topic of memory of colonialism in Asia in museums, the perceptions, representations of Chinese objects outside of China, as well as recent implications and developments of museums in China during the pandemic.

Chinese museums in times of the Corona crisis – Museums from Inner Mongolia as a case study

Patrick Wertmann

The outbreak of the COVID-19-epidemic had a heavy impact on the museum industry around the globe. While the actual museum doors were closed, museum staff instantly had to think of new digital formats to present their collections and related contents to the public. For many institutions, this meant a huge challenge, but at the same time an opportunity to reinvent themselves. In China, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) announced that nearly 2,000 virtual exhibitions were launched during the first year of the pandemic, attracting more than 5 billion views. A new digital platform for virtual exhibitions from museums across the country was launched by the SACH in collaboration with Xinhua Agency. With this paper, we will first look at the impact the COVID-19-crisis had on the Chinese museum landscape in general, and then present case studies from Inner Mongolia to show how local museums dealt with this challenge. In the end, we will evaluate the recent developments and attempt to give an outlook into potential future trends.

The boom in ‘Overseas Chinese museums’ in Post-Mao China

Cangbai Wang

This paper offers an outline of the recent upsurge in museums on Chinese diasporas in the People’s Republic of China. Drawing on fieldwork in more than ten museums and employing a ‘macro-museum’ approach to heritage, it investigates the complex ways in which Chinese diasporas are represented in the museum space of post-Mao China. Through unpacking the notion of huaqiao wenwu (华侨文物), a term recently emerged in China referring to cultural relics of the Chinese diasporas, it discusses the ambivalent nature of diasporic heritage and the complexity in the process of making and representing heritage related to transnational emigration and return in the Chinese homeland. This study helps expand the scope of research of museums in China, and draw attention to the connections between heritage, mobility and meaning in a transnational context.

China, the Maritime Silk Road, and the Memory of Colonialism in the Asia region

Laura Pozzi

This paper analyzes how the city museums of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Galle Fort deal with the memory and legacy of colonialism in the framework of the expanding economic and political power of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Asia. In the PRC, the historical memory of the country’s colonial past has been shaped by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In contrast to the transnational nature of the Communist ideology, the CCP’s interpretation of history is strongly nationalist. China’s political expansion in the ex-British colony of Hong Kong and its economic ties to other Asian countries such as Sri Lanka open space for a discussion about its power to influence these countries’ understanding of their own history. How is the expansion of China, defined by many as a neo-colonial power, changing the way other countries in Asia understand the colonial past? Is China able to export its own vision of colonialism and post-colonial order outside its own borders? This paper answers these questions through an analysis of the permanent exhibitions of three city museums: The Shanghai History Museum; the Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Galle Fort Museum in Sri Lanka, part of the “One Belt, One Road” project.

Found in Florence. ‘Demure’ Chinese Collections in Museums outside China under the Spotlight

Iside Carbone

The aim of this presentation is to show how collections of Chinese artefacts found in less obvious museum settings outside China can nevertheless convey significant elements of their original Chinese identity. More poignantly, they highlight Chinese cultural features and their specific processes of perception, representation and interaction while travelling in space and time as well as across cultures. Chinese artefacts have indeed been circulating beyond Asia for many centuries, fascinating people from distant cultures. These objects have spurred interest and admiration towards the technical and artistic achievements of their producers. In the past, as nowadays, they have been crucial means of cultural contact and transmission. Concurrently, they have inspired many ideas around the identity of Chinese culture. Important collections have been gathered outside China and are on display in dedicated museums or in dedicated sections within fitting museums such as those presenting world cultures. Several other collections are hosted in museums with different thematic focuses. These somewhat hidden collections can be difficult to identify and trace but should not be considered as less relevant. The case study presented here is a selection of Chinese collections found in museums in Florence, Italy. This world-renowned city is a popular destination each year for millions of tourists intending to explore in particular Italian Renaissance art and culture. Yet, behind the doors of institutions such as the Uffizi Galleries, Villa La Pietra and the Museum of Natural History, Anthropology and Ethnology, Chinese artefacts can be found among a typological variety of other collections.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3B: Language and Linguistics (5) (Křížkovského 10, 1.49)
Luis Morgado da Costa (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Tereza Slaměníková (Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia)
When the Past Meets the Present: Dog Naming Practices in Beijing, P. R. China

ABSTRACT. China is experiencing a boom in pet ownership since the beginning of the new millennium. The significant number of dog walkers strolling along the streets and in public parks is an obvious sign that dogs are often sought-after companion animals. One of the first steps associated with having a dog is selecting a suitable name. This paper examines how the growing phenomenon of dog breeding is reflected in the Chinese onomastic system. First, it provides the general linguistic characteristics of the dog names, i.e., describes the repeatedly occurring word-formation patterns and thematic categories of the lexical items used to create dog names, and addresses the issue of the motives behind the names. Second, it examines whether dog naming practices in China follow the existing conventions described in other languages. The results of the analysis indicate that, unlike the situation observed in Western languages, Chinese dog names seem not only to exhibit signs of anthropomorphization but also to preserve the pre-modern practice of name selection based on the dog’s physical and mental qualities or reflecting the circumstances under which the dog came to the family, and thus represent a unique combination of earlier and modern-day dog naming practices.

Victoria Bogushevskaya (University of Salento, Italy)
To please the palate and provoke the intellect: Precedent references and visual-associative cues encoded in Chinese restaurant dish names

ABSTRACT. In a high-context culture like Chinese, the linguistic code encompasses only part of the message and is incomplete without context (Hall 1976). One of the implicit codes embedded in high-context communication is precedent phenomena, culture-specific lexical units that crystallised from the so-called communal common ground (a term coined by Clark 1996). Highly recognisable in a linguistic society, precedent phenomena often manifest themselves in the forms of quotations or allusions in verbal and nonverbal communication. The focus of this paper is three-fold. Using the example of Chinese restaurant dishes, I will first demonstrate that the most frequent forms – often truncated – of precedent references include precedent statement, precedent name, or precedent situation, and are often embodied in the dishes’ ingredients, creating a figurative or homophonous interplay. The examples show that, in the case of restaurant dishes, communal common ground sources in the Sinophone world comprise literary texts, idioms, xiangsheng, news, films, and songs. Secondly, I will analyse an example of artful visual-associative and prosodic interplay encoded in a seven-syllable dish title, where the rhythmic groups are organised according to the “3+4” scheme. Phrasal prosody in Chinese prosodic morphology favours right-footing, which makes the third and the seventh syllable domain-final. These key syllables were craftily substituted with homophonous morphemes, so the message resulted in conveying a sarcastic meaning. Finally, the observations should also point to more mindful and dynamic-equivalent translations.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3C: Literature (Modern) (11) (Křížkovského 10, 3.05)
Kamila Hladikova (Palacky University Olomouc, KAS, Czechia)
Connie Kwong (Department of Chinese Language and Literature, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) Wars and Ideas: A Transcultural Reading of European War-narratives in Colonial Hong Kong during the Second Sino-Japanese War

ABSTRACT. The outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War caught the immediate attention of a great number of Chinese intellectuals who thus devoted themselves to national salvation. They largely responded to the call of the All-China Resistance Association of Writers and Artists to resist Japanese imperialism and to construct Chinese revolutionary literature and art. The Anti-Japanese war literature has become an important chapter of the Twentieth-century Chinese literature. Previous studies have demonstrated the significance of the Chinese Anti-Japanese war literature, mainly written by left-wing writers, and its contribution to the construction of national identity. However, there is little discussion of the diverse perspectives on war politics and aesthetics introduced to the Chinese literary community.

This paper aims at investigating the “negotiating space” in the literary field of Hong Kong between the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and the Japanese military occupation in 1941. Focusing on renowned literary journals and newspapers' supplements of the time, it will reexamine Chinese intellectuals’ criticism and reinterpretation of the European anti-fascist movement and war-narratives from different political views, including those of humanists and pacifists, socialists, anti-fascists, and communists. It will also investigate how they use the translation of the war literature to fulfil their purposes in the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Hong Kong, a movement that struggled to survive under the pressure of the pro-Japanese “Peace Movement” and of the political censorship imposed by the British colonial government.

Pin Lyu (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
(ONLINE) On Education of Love and Aesthetics: Enlightenment Sentimentality in ‘Little Friend’ (Xiao Peng-you) Magazine in Shanghai (1922-1931)

ABSTRACT. In line with the discovery of ‘Enlightenment sentimentality’ in the research field of the May Fourth studies, this study focuses on the children’s magazine Little Friend (《小朋友》), which was first published by the Zhonghua Book Company in 1922 in Shanghai. This study contends that, in contrast to late Qing Dynasty children's magazines that primarily focused on disseminating information and knowledge, Little Friend demonstrates a style of Enlightenment Sentimentality, which constitutes a counter-discourse of Enlightenment rationality.

This study focuses on the first ten years (1922-1931) of the magazine, and combines methods of close reading and historical contexts investigation. The study points out the development of the modern concepts ‘Love’(愛)and ‘Aesthetics’(美)in the children’s educational magazine in the 20s, and explores both the formation of the concepts and their substance in the context. The study also takes Li Jin-hui(黎錦暉), the famous musician and ‘Little Friend’s first editor-in-chief, who was a practitioner of Cai Yuan-pei’s concept of ‘aesthetic education’, as a case study of Enlightenment sentimentality. By examining his works in children's musicals and songs published on Little Friend from 1922 to 1931, this study attests Li's modern idea of ‘Love’(愛)and ‘Aesthetics’(美), explores his educational practice of blurring the lines between music and language and pinpoints his conceptual shift on Enlightenment sentimentality after late-20s.

Keyword: Enlightenment sentimentality; Children’s magazine; Li Jin-hui; Little Friend

Joscha Chung (Department of Chinese Literature, National Chung-Cheng University, Taiwan)
The Reprinted/Plagiarized Translations of Western Drama and Their Influences in Post-War Taiwan

ABSTRACT. The scholarship of the recent decade has established that a huge amount of the published translation of Western literature in post-war Taiwan was in fact reprints of pre-war editions or even results of plagiarism from the same sources. Under the martial law, these pre-existed translational works were granted permission to publish only if the names of the translators were omitted, should they failed to exile with the KMT and remained in the PRC. This paper will present some preliminary findings regarding the reprinted translations of dramatic texts within this context. The Qiming Bookstore (啟明書局) was the first publisher which systematically made earlier Chinese translations of Western drama available in Taiwan. As far as current research shows, it published more than twenty plays between 1951 and 1961, which, apart from Shakespeare, were mostly written by modern European playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, Gerhardt Hauptmann, Maurice Maeterlinck, Arthur Schnitzler…etc. The original translations of these representative modern plays were first published in Shanghai from early 1920s to 1940s. At least three of them belonged to the series arranged by the Literary Association (文學研究會), which could be considered a fragment of May-Fourth legacy. By assessing their circulation and influence in Taiwan, this study tries to connect some lesser-known dots in literary history which spanned across the war and the strait.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3D: History (Modern) (4) (Křížkovského 10, 2.40)
Ondřej Kučera (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Antonio Barrento (School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon, FLUL, Portugal)
(ONLINE) Striding for the Nation: The Stepping-up of Long-distance Walking Projects during the Nanjing Decade

ABSTRACT. During the Nanjing Decade, a number of long-distance walking projects were put forward by various groups of youngsters. These young people aspired to travel by foot the whole length of China or large swathes of the country and, occasionally, to continue beyond its borders. Such foot tours were significant on a variety of levels, including for what they revealed of a concern with body cultivation that had been growing since the late Qing. These projects were enveloped in a discourse, found both in general periodicals, such as The Young Companion, or in specific travel-related publications, such as The Unison Travel Magazine, that touched on issues such as character building, knowledge of the nation and national affirmation. The fact that this multitude of projects mushroomed in China precisely from 1929 would appear to show something deeper than just an interest in the activity of long distance walking itself, and to be a demonstration of an enthusiasm and a new attitude towards the nation, buoyed by the celebration of national unity on the political level. Long distance walking throughout the nation was a means of physically joining and knowing it, which may have appeared worthier now than in the framework of political fragmentation, and of possibly contributing to it, now that prospects of a brighter future opened up. This paper attempts both to locate these foot tours and the discourse that surrounded them within wider realities that were occurring during the Nanjing Decade and to understand their inspiring relevance after this period.

Yier Xu (Newcastle University, UK)
(ONLINE) A Malaise of Civilisation: Gender and Neurasthenia in China, 1930-1950

ABSTRACT. Psychology gained its popularity in China in the first half of the twentieth century. Among all the mental diseases, neurasthenia received much attention from the medical professionals and the general population. Doctors believed that the sickness was caused by unhealthy life-style and frustrations in daily life. The symptoms were various, ranging from low mood to somatic ones, such as impotence. Neurasthenia was thus open to interpretations. As Wang Wenji suggests, neurasthenia was considered as “a malaise of civilisation” that sapped the country’s physical and economic vitality, as well as harmed one’s own physical and mental constitution. Meanwhile, Wang also finds that psy experts criticised the traditional morality and promoted new methods of self-management. These discussions on mental diseases and neurasthenia allowed the Nationalist government to regulate people’s daily life and cultivate modern citizens as it envisioned, as Emily Baum argues. However, the present studies on neurasthenia rarely distinguish male and female patients. The gender differences in how discourse of neurasthenia shaped one’s identity and regulated one’s behaviours have not been fully examined. My paper will answer this question, based on the conclusions above. I will consider the changes in the understandings of manhood and womanhood in the discussions on neurasthenia from 1930 to 1950, which will reveal how gender norms were challenged or strengthened in the Republican era. I will also take Guangxi, a south province in China, as an example to explain how the gender differences varied in metropolis like Shanghai and places less exposed to foreign influences.

Julia Lange (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, School of History, Germany)
No school, but a garden: Kuang Husheng (1891-1933) and the anarchist education project Lida in late 1920s' Shanghai

ABSTRACT. Until the early 1920s, anarchism was practically the only popular form of socialism in China. Yet by the late 1920s it occupied an uncomfortable position in an age of ever-increasing political extremity. In this challenging time, amidst societal chaos, the anarchist educator Kuang Husheng 匡互生 (1891-1933) realised the education project Lida (立達學園) in Shanghai. Little scholarly attention has been paid to Lida so far, and yet is an intriguing example of how radical change to society was envisioned by 1920s’ intellectuals.

Lida, founded in 1925, was aimed at students from poor families. It was built on the anarchist principle of mutual aid, aimed to improve society, and was not organised along any hierarchies. Students’ activities included fieldwork, as Lida had for example an own chicken farm. Language classes and ethics classes were also offered, as such keeping to the anarchist principle of uniting manual and intellectual labor to create a society of equal standing.

Lida was however constantly caught in uncertainty, suffering from a lack of financing, submitted to an uneasy relationship with the Guomindang and caught in the troubles of the late 1920s. Only Kuang Husheng’s dedication kept Lida running until the early 1930s.

Based on an analysis of the homonymous journal Lida, I will illustrate Lida’s main purposes as well as situate it in the antagonistic context of its time.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3F: Literature (Premodern) (8) (Křížkovského 10, 2.39)
Joanna Ut-Seong Sio (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Dinu Luca (National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan)
(ONLINE) Translation, pattern, sound: Examples from the Huainanzi

ABSTRACT. Several Western versions of the first treatise of the Huainanzi exist. Recent renditions pay much attention to the intricate alternances established between the poetic and prose passages of the text, employing various devices meant to clearly highlight such patterning of the original. To some degree, this extends to rhyme as well, with the quick changes of meter remaining however mostly unmarked. Additional indicators (section numbers) and various parenthetical insertions are often used, providing extra order and a smoother flow. All in all, the end result of such operations is a Huainanzi that appears somewhat tamer than the rather unpredictable, ever-changing original.

In my contribution, I discuss a number of strategies one may employ so as to reflect in rendition such features of the original Huainanzi treatise. I next illustrate my points by means of a comparative and contrastive discussion of several key passages that problematize this and similar issues (e.g. rendering ambiguity and undecidability, but also pattern and structure). I conclude by advancing a number of considerations on the various scenarios that open in front of the translator when transposing philosophical poetry/poetic philosophy into another language.

Wai-Ho Wong (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)
(ONLINE) Textual Materials as Political Propaganda: A Case Study on Early Southern Song Poem

ABSTRACT. The consensus among the Chinese scholars and Sinologists is that the Song dynasty reached the acme in terms of information circulation due mainly to its material form. Compared with the pre-Tang and Tang dynasty that the material form was only limited to the written version, the invention and utilization of woodblock printing in the Song dynasty enable the literary texts to be widely circulated to the masses and different readers over different regions without any textual variants. To a certain extent, woodblock printing is just one of the mediums for the spread of information, while the epigraph, which is brush-written but not inscribed on the walls, also serves as another critical material form that is also worth highlighting, especially during the early Southern Song. Since the Southern Song court gets continuous defeat under the invasion of Jurchen Jin and the lost northern territory has not been ever restored, the literati who embraced nationalism or suffered by nostalgia composed a certain amount of poetry and lyrics not only in woodblock-printed version but also written on the walls in various types of buildings in the private and public arena. This paper attempts to take the Southern Song literati, including Lu You 陸游(1125–1210)and Xin Qiji辛棄疾(1140–1207), who belong to hawk party as a case study on how their poems in both printed and wall-written version function as propaganda to stir up the individual and collective patriotism in the political setting.

Alison Hardie (University of Leeds, UK)
The Unexpected Buddhist: Ruan Dacheng (1587-1646) in Gentry Society

ABSTRACT. The notorious politician, playwright, and poet Ruan Dacheng (1587-1646) is not the first person who springs to mind when thinking of Buddhist devotees in late-Ming gentry society, as discussed in Timothy Brook’s seminal Praying for Power (1993). However, Ruan came from a family who were patrons of Buddhist monasteries in their home area of Anqing, notably his great-uncle the poet Ruan Zihua. One of Ruan Dacheng’s lost plays, The Lion Advantage (Shizi zhuan), had a Buddhist theme, and two of his surviving plays, The Sakyamuni Pearls (Mouni he) and Double Examination Success (Shuang jinbang), also have prominent Buddhist elements. His poetry – much less well known than the plays – and his almost unknown travel journal show that he spent a lot of time in the company of Buddhist monks, many of whom were evidently close friends, and that he acted as a patron of Buddhist monasteries in precisely the ways analysed by Brook. It is clear from both his poems and his plays that he was particularly dedicated to reading the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Weimojie suoshuo jing), a favourite of lay Buddhists because it holds out the possibility of combining Buddhist devotion with life as an active member of secular society. This paper will discuss the evidence for Ruan’s interest in Buddhism and analyse how he used his patronage of Buddhism as a means to consolidate his position in gentry society, particularly when under political and social pressure from the Eastern Grove (Donglin) and Revival Society (Fushe) factions.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3H: Sociology and Anthropology (9) (Křížkovského 10, 1.48)
Rune Steenberg (Palacky University Olomouc, Czechia)
Mathieu Torck (Ghent University, KU Leuven, Belgium)
From naval training over food supplies to camp latrines: continuity and innovation in Qi Jiguang’s Jixiao xinshu

ABSTRACT. In the wake of his successful campaigns to defend China’s borders against Mongol incursions along the Great Wall and marauding pirates on the southeast coast, the Ming dynasty general Qi Jiguang (1528–1588) established a firm reputation in China and beyond, earning him an influential legacy which has recently received increasing attention in scholarly studies (Andrade 2015; Lim 2017; Papelitzky 2017; et. al). Together with other army leaders, Qi Jiguang was perhaps one of the last major military personalities of his epoch. Qi was not only a leading military figure, he was also a prolific author who channeled his experiences into detailed instructions that eventually came to form the military treatises Jixiao xinshu and Lianbing shiji. The success of Qi Jiguang’s approach came down to creating a well-disciplined fighting force who had a personal link with local conditions. Qi puts emphasis on such issues as the drilling of  the troops, equipment and sufficient salaries. Particular attention also goes to aspects of military organization which are recorded in treatises for the first time, including naval training, food supply as well as what looks like the implementation of sanitary measures in army encampments. The paper will discuss relevant excerpts from Qi Jiguang’s work in an attempt to gauge their unprecedented character as well as the comparative value of these rather rarely addressed aspects when juxtaposed with contemporary seafaring contexts. This forms part of an ongoing research project in which different early modern approaches towards human health and hygiene under stress are studied.

Monika Arnoštová (University Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
The impact of overtime on the leisure time and cultural life of white-collar workers in Beijing

ABSTRACT. The aim of this research is to analyze the social conditions leading to the wide-spread phenomenon of overtime work and examining the impact of working overtime on work-life balance of the Beijing white-collar workers. This paper sees overtime through the lens of Thorstein Venblen’s theory of the leisure time, Robert Stebbins perspective of serious leisure as well as Liang Shumin’s concept of the central role of the family in order to offer a new innovative analysis of the quality of the leisure time spent by Beijing white-collar workers. A research sample of 30 in-depth interviews is thoroughly analyzed in the atlas.ti programme as well as though other analytic tools. This research comes to an innovative finding that working overtime is rather pushing workers towards better time management in order to realize all their work and non-work-related needs such as spending time with family or pursue their leisure time and culture related activities. Detailed analyses of in-depth interviews discovers that the central role of family either encourages or limits overtime behavior. For sometimes working overtime workers, family represents a factor limiting overtime work as theirs both professional and personal time all centers around spending time with family which is the center of their life. Frequently working overtime workers on the other hand are driven towards overtime in order to fulfill their responsibilities and material needs of the whole family.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3I: History (Premodern) (7) (Křížkovského 10, 1.42)
Vit Ulman (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Jakub Hrubý (Orientalni ustav AV CR, Czechia)
Early Medieval Testamentary Edict as a Tool of Political Legitimization

ABSTRACT. Comparing the Early Medieval imperial testamentary edicts (yizhao 遺詔), transmitted through various dynastic histories, it seems clear that by the end of the Han the yizhao became a well-established and thoroughly formalized imperial institution deemed indispensable for the legitimacy of the dynasty and ordering of the imperial succession. These official documents served various aims at the same time, ranging from leaving a political testament, assessing one`s role in the chain of dynastic succession, to practical instructions about the government and, last but not least, the funerary arrangements. On the symbolic level, they also played an important role in establishing the moral credit of the dynasty and securing legitimacy of its succession. On the other hand, the same documents could be manipulated or even forged by the powerful people around the throne who used them to strengthen their own position and assert their claim on the Mandate. Closely reading the available sources, this paper will demonstrate mainly on the case of the Eastern Jin (317-420 AD) the importance of the testamentary edicts as tools of political legitimization in the Early Medieval period.

Alexander Brosch (University of Münster, Germany)
Dealing with Disempowered or Deceased Regent Dowagers during the Later Han-Dynasty

ABSTRACT. When a regency came to an end during the Later Han-Dynasty (25–220 CE), a deficit inherent in female rule at that time became apparent. Not only did none of the regent dowagers manage to pass on formal rule to a relative, but it is also striking that the connection of an emperor to the relatives of his already deceased empress dowager was not valued overall. Indeed, in the aftermath of the regency periods, relatives of all six regent dowagers eventually died by execution or forced suicide. Nevertheless, how the emperor and the staff of officials dealt with an empress dowager who had been removed from her regency position during her lifetime or who had recently passed away varied significantly. There is no doubt that the authority of an empress dowager in the Later Han-Dynasty was heavily reliant on her relationship toward the emperor. After the end of a regency, the extent to which the relationship between emperor and empress dowager should be evaluated as that of a son to his mother was the subject of debate on several occasions, forming the basis of decisions ultimately made by the emperor. Focusing on the discussions recorded in the Hou Han shu 後漢書 and the Hou Han ji 後漢紀, this paper argues that the treatment of a disempowered empress dowager depended largely on the extent to which she was recognized as the emperor's (step)mother.

14:00-15:30 Session SD4-3J: Philosophy and History of Thought (7) (Křížkovského 10, 3.32)
Francis Bond (Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia)
Julien Jean (Université de Paris - CRCAO, France)
Ethnic and territorial boundaries in Wang Fuzhi’s Yellow Book

ABSTRACT. Wang Fuzhi 王夫之 (1619-1692) wrote his Yellow Book (Huangshu 黃書) in 1656 as a reaction to the ongoing Manchu conquest of China which had resulted in the replacement of the former Ming dynasty and the founding of the Qing dynasty. In the Yellow Book, Wang strongly advocates for pushing the Manchus and all other “barbarians” (Yi-Di 夷狄) out of the territory he conceived as being “Chinese” (Hua-Xia 華夏). He presented this reaction as a way to restore the “natural” order. Indeed, Wang understands all the “catastrophes” plaguing China as the result of a disrespect of the natural boundaries and hierarchies. Wang’s key idea was to define the boundaries of the Chinese territory and those of the Chinese people, and to urge the Chinese elite to enforce, from then on, a strict “distinction between the Chinese and the barbarians” (Hua-Yi zhi bian 華夷之辨). How exactly did Wang connect his concept of the distinction between the Chinese and the barbarians to that of the Chinese territory in the Yellow Book and how do these conceptions differ from those found in the rest of his works ? On what historical and theoretical grounds does he justify both territorial and ethnic boundaries ? How are Wang’s conceptions regarding those matters embedded in the intellectual history of his time ? These are the questions this paper intends to answer.

Katerina Gajdosova (Charles University, Czechia)
Some Pitfalls of Comparative Philosophy Illustrated on Ji Kang's Discourse on Music

ABSTRACT. Using the 3rd cent. CE text "Music has in it neither grief nor joy" (聲無哀樂論) by Ji Kang 嵇康 as a case study, the paper demonstrates how a failure to take into account broader ontological implications of a text coming from a different cosmological background can lead to misunderstandings and wrongly posed questions. The Xuan xue 玄學, the speculative strand of early medieval thought, is believed to represent a “metaphysical turn” in Chinese philosophy. Ji Kang's essay is often read as an argument against the ritualist view of music with its ethical connotations and for a more essentialist and objective approach to the phenomenon of music. Yet, such reading involves a series of ontological assumptions not necessarily relevant to Chinese thought, such as a distinction between the ethical and ontological discourses, or the existence of essential characteristics as opposed to situational or accidental. The paper opposes this “metaphysical” reading and offers a different perspective based on process ontology.

Christopher Yang (Brown University, United States)
Daoism as Philosophy, Daoism as Religion

ABSTRACT. Ever since Jesuit missionaries cast Confucius as “sinarum philosophus” and Enlightenment thinkers seized on the notion of a people who had arrived at an ethics without recourse to theism, “religion” and “philosophy” have often operated as conjoined yet opposite terms in the analysis of Chinese texts and traditions. In this paper, I am specifically concerned with the way this distinction has organized the study of Daoist materials. First, I examine the debate between those who hew to a strict distinction between a philosophical and a religious Daoism (e.g., Herrlee Creel and Terry Kleeman) and those who see continuities between the texts and thinkers on either side of this divide and consequently question the utility of the distinction (e.g., Kristofer Schipper and Isabel Robinet). This will involve a taxonomy of the various shapes that “philosophy” and “religion” have assumed in this debate, as well as a discussion of the methodological implications of these too often unstated commitments. Second, to illustrate more concretely the stakes of this debate, I’ll discuss how the common characterization of the Warring States/Han Zhuangzi 莊子as a “philosophical” text has obscured features that are important to our understanding of the milieu(s) in which it was produced, and which we might rightly consider “religious” (though on a conception of religion that does not strictly counterpose it to philosophy.)