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LRCCS Noon Lecture Series | Zoom Webinar: "Constructing a China: Nationalism and Culture in Modern History"

Wen Yu, Postdoctoral Fellow, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
12:00-1:00 PM
Off Campus Location
The Fall 2020 lecture series will be only available on-line as a Zoom webinar.

“What is the ‘Chinese way’? How should China’s traditions speak to its future?” During the past three decades, China’s intellectuals have been increasingly preoccupied with defining the country’s cultural identity in its pursuit of political modernity. While their positions vary, intellectuals share the assumption that there are unique elements to China’s historical and cultural institutions, and that China’s future ought to be based on this legacy. This exceptionalist turn is unfolding at a time when the party-state is in search of a new ideology based on nationalism. Understanding this recent turn and its continued political force requires us to revisit the deeper roots of modern Chinese national thought. Diverging from the dominant view that modern Chinese nationalism is a product of Western-style modernization, this talk explores how the quest for a Chinese cultural identity became central to debates over political and moral values. This century-long pattern can help to shed light on where China’s intellectual and political life is heading.

Wen Yu is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD in History from Harvard University in 2018. Her research focuses on China’s social and political thought, ideological movements, and intellectual culture from the seventeenth century to the present. Her dissertation, "The Search for a Chinese Way in the Modern World: From the Rise of Evidential Learning to the Birth of Chinese Cultural Identity,” explores the roots and development of modern Chinese exceptionalism by tracing how the search for a Chinese cultural identity has become central to the intellectual debates over shared values in modern China. Her dissertation was awarded the 2017 Harold K. Gross Dissertation Prize.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Asia, Chinese Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures

International Institute Programming

The International Institute’s centers sponsor numerous conferences, lectures, exhibits, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to educate the university community and the public about global issues and inspire discussion and dialogue. 

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