Conference: “The French School of Sociology and Traditional China: For the Centenary of Marcel Granet’s Festivals and Songs in Ancient China”

The conference “The French School of Sociology and Traditional China: For the Centenary of Marcel Granet’s Festivals and Songs in Ancient China”, organized by the Xu-Ricci Centre for Dialogue (Fudan University, Department of Philosophy) and the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), will be held in Fudan University, Shanghai, 2401, West Guanghua Tower, on May, 16th and 17th. The working languages will be Chinese, French and English.

The presentation and the program of the conference (in Chinese) is available on the following website.  

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A Brief Introduction to the Qingshui River Manuscripts

by QU Jian (PhD Candidate, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg / Visiting Researcher, Max -Planck Institute for European Legal History)

The Qingshui River Manuscripts (清水江文书) refer to a large number of Ming-Qing (1368–1911) written contracts as well as various other kinds of documents that were found in the Qingshui River Basin of southwest China. Over the last decade, these manuscripts have been enjoying increasing popularity among scholars. This short paper intends to offer some basic information for understanding the Qingshui River Manuscripts in their entirety.

Full text of the research note on

New Publication: “Ars, Cognitio et Scientia. L’évolution des savoirs et des techniques en Europe et en China aux époques moderne et contemporaine” (Sinologie française n° 18)

Luca GABBIANI 陆康, ZHANG Baichun 张柏春 (eds.): Jiuxue xinzhi: Zhong Ou zhishi yu jishu yanbian 旧学新知——中欧知识与技术演变 (Ars, Cognitio et Scientia. L’évolution des savoirs et des techniques en Europe et en China aux époques moderne et contemporaine). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju 中华书局, École française d’Extrême-Orient, 2018 (Sinologie Française n° 18 / 法国汉学第十八辑). ISBN 978-7-101-13632-6

New publication “The Temple and its Actors: Religious Institutions and Urban Communities in China from the Ming and Qing Dynasties to the Republican Era”

Lü Min (Marianne Bujard), Lu Kang (Luca Gabbiani) (eds.), Xianghuo xinyuan: Ming Qing zhi Minguo shiqi Zhongguo chengshi de simiao yu shimin 香火新緣:明清至民國時期中國城市的寺廟與市民 (The Temple and its Actors: Religious Institutions and Urban Communities in China from the Ming and Qing Dynasties to the Republican Era), Beijing, Zhongxin chuban jituan, 2018 ISBN: 9787508673257.

This book is the outcome of an international conference which took place in 2009 at Beijing Normal University (Beijing shifan daxue). It is dedicated to the memory of Li Shiyu (1922-2010), a great specialist of the study of religion in China, and begins with the In Memoriam written for him by his longstanding friend, Susan Naquin. The volume includes seventeen articles by Chinese, Taiwanese and French specialists, devoted to various aspects of religious life in urban environments from the Ming dynasty to the Republican era, including some insights on the contemporary period. Among the topics examined by the authors of the volume one can find, for example, the role and activities of members of the imperial bureaucracy in religious institutions, the legal status of temples and of their real estate properties, the nexus of power which prevailed in different places of worship, or the complex relation in urban settings between divine and human justice. The second part of the volume is composed by a series of case studies, which seek to shed light on the history of individual religious institutions and on the links they established with urban residents in general, and more specifically with the inhabitants of the neighbourhoods in which they were located. Mainly devoted to northern China and Beijing, this book provides a first longue durée overview of the role and position of temples in the history of China’s urban environment.

Detailed presentation in Chinese


Interview with the Philosopher Chen Shaoming

Chen Shaoming 陈少明 is one of the most influential contemporary philosophers in China. He was born in Guangdong in 1958. After training in history (1978–1983) in Guangzhou, he then studied philosophy at Sun Yat-sen University 中山大学 (1983–1986) where he stayed on as a teacher. Since his appointment as professor in 1997, he has been a guest professor at several universities: Harvard University (1998–2000; 2008), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2002), and Taiwan National University (2009). In 2015, he was honoured with the Yangtze Scholar award (长江学者), one of the highest accolades in Chinese academia. His research focuses on the Zhuangzi and the Analects as well as on Late Qing dynasty scholarship. In his works, he tries to extract conceptual tools from classical texts to answer contemporary philosophical questions. He is the author of several books including ‘Discussion on Making All Things Equal’ and Its Influence (2004) and Chinese Philosophy: Reflections on the Methodology of Chinese Philosophical Research (2015). For a more detailed bibliography of Chen Shaoming’s works, some of which have already been translated into English, see below.

This is a translation of an interview with Chen Shaoming, conducted by Chen Bisheng and published in the journal Academic Monthly 学术月刊 (no. 1, 2007, pp. 148–152), under the title “Searching for diversity in Chinese Philosophy” 《探求中国哲学的多样形态》.

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Conference: “Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century)”

The International Conference “Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century)”, organized by the École pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and the Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage, will be held in Beijing, inside the Forbidden City, from October, 25th to 27th, 2018.
The program of the conference and the abstracts are available on the following website:

Chinese-European Lecture Series 2018/19

Chinese Manuscript Cultures in the Age of Print

This year’s lecture series organized by the European Centre for Chinese Studies (Beijing), jointly formed by the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and Germany’s Max Weber Stiftung (MWS), continues the cooperation with the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It is well-known that printing technology was invented in China centuries before its introduction in Europe in the 15th century. In recent decades research on the history of the book in China has become a vibrant field of its own. However, this research has tended to focus largely on the printed book, even though the persisting role of manuscripts in the period after the invention of printing technology is acknowledged. This is probably in part due to the still widely influential deterministic model of a progressive transition of media (orality–manuscript–print). The huge amount of extant manuscripts dating from the period after the invention of printing, however, tells us that this evolutionary model is inadequate. Manuscripts continued to be widely produced and used well into the 20th century.

The emergence of new media, as in the case of the printing technology or the currently emerging digital media, obviously does not entail the complete demise of older media. It seems to rather result in a change of how and in which areas older media continue to be used. Instead of a clear break we must acknowledge a long-lasting simultaneous existence of new and old media. In case of manuscript and print in China we are dealing with a time span of more than 1000 years. There is good reason to even assert that this period is not over yet since manuscripts are still being produced in China today.

Moreover, manuscript and imprint did not merely coexist side by side but also strongly influenced each other. This is evident, for instance, from the characteristics of the in China once dominant woodblock-printing, which shows a much closer relation to manuscript than does moveable-type printing. At a larger scale, we might ask what effects the introduction of printing technology had on the production of manuscripts in terms of format and layout?

While there is a longstanding tradition in studying manuscript cultures prior to the invention of print, for which there exist well established fields (i.e. Dunhuang studies and the study of bamboo, wood and silk manuscripts from early China), the study of manuscript cultures in the age of print is still at an infant stage.

Initial studies have identified aesthetic, economic and religious factors for the persistence of the manuscript in the age of print. However, we are still far from having a complete picture of the lasting Chinese post-print manuscript cultures. What were the specific areas in which manuscripts persisted and was it always for the same reasons? How did the evolving print culture interact with existing manuscript cultures? What can be said about the interdependence of the two? What changes may be observed in the relation between imprint and manuscript during their long coexistence?

The lecture series will bring together contributions dealing with various manuscript cultures (religious, artistic, scholarly, medical, literary, commercial etc.) from different periods of the printing age. Thus, fostering the study of manuscript cultures in the age of print and helping us realize the lasting importance of an ostensibly outdated media. At last, learning about the manuscript’s fate in the age of print may also lend us some hints for understanding the current emergence of digital media and major challenges this poses for traditional print culture.









Call for Applications 2018: Travel Grants for Research in China

Apply now for travel grants to do research in China. The Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad (MWS) – awards travel grants once a year, with the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The grants will be awarded to scholars from sinology or related subjects of any nationality, whose professional qualification phase (PhD and postdoc) is concerned with Chinese history, language or culture in the broadest sense and for whose research a stay in China is indispensable. Every year, two travel grants will be awarded for a period of research of up to three months, for the purposes of fieldwork, archive and/or library research in China, preferably in Beijing. An affiliation to a university or (research) institution in the German-speaking area should be given.

The deadline for applications is 12 October 2018.

Further information: