Category Archives: Publications

Some Remarks on the 1923 “Controversy Over Science and Metaphysics”

by Joseph Ciaudo (University of Heidelberg)

Controversies are often seen as important events that contribute to the march of intellectual history. Some can even be considered historical landmarks. The controversy over science and metaphysics that took place in China in 1923 is no exception. It had a lasting impact on the Chinese intellectual scene of the twentieth century. But what happens if, instead of thinking of ideas confronting each other in a mental realm, we regard this debate as one of concrete people speaking in conference halls, taking notes, writing, reading, and exchanging opinions? And could our understanding of this debate be altered by the discovery of a document located at the very core of the debate, but which had remained unknown up to now because another version of the same text had been in circulation? Would we regard the controversy over science and metaphysics differently if the inaugural text of the conference was not the one we had been reading so far?

Full text of the research note on perspectivia.net

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 perspectivia.net

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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A Short Note on Working in the Beijing Municipal Archive

by Elisabeth Forster (Research Assistant, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

The Beijing Municipal Archive (Beijing shi dang’an guan 北京市档案馆) stores, as the name suggests, materials pertaining to Beijing as a city. It has materials on both the period before 1949 and after. Arunabh Ghosh has already written a very informative review of this archive  on Dissertation Review, based on his experiences in 2011: http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/643. Therefore I will only give updated information on the aspects that I found changed, when I visited the archive in February and March 2018.

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A Short Guide to Visiting the Capital Library of China

by Z. Lu (Researcher, CSMC, Universität Hamburg)

The Capital Library of China (Shoudu tushuguan 首都图书馆), whose origins trace back to over a century ago, is one of the premier public libraries in China. While serving the general public, it is also home to a very rich collection of premodern books and materials from the Republican era, ranging from fiction and drama of the Ming and Qing to local materials related to Beijing – including a comprehensive collection of gazetteers. Below are a few tips on using two of the main reading rooms: the Historical Texts Reading Room (Lishi wenxian yuelan shi 历史文献阅览室), and the Beijing Local Collection (Beijing difang wenxian yuelan 北京地方文献阅览).

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Traditional Hui Mosques in Northern China

by Candice Del Medico (PhD student at the Université Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne, recipient of a fieldwork grant from the EFEO)

The presence of Muslims in China is a phenomenon which seems unknown to the general public. However, today there are more than twenty million Muslims in Chinese territory. The early implantation of Islam was accompanied by the construction of a new type of architecture that had never been seen in China before: the mosques, or qingzhensi (清真寺) in Chinese.

There are currently more than forty thousand mosques in China and some were erected as early as the 14th century. These oldest mosques are the traditional Hui-style mosques.

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A Reader’s Guide to the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives

by Henrike Rudolph (Research Assistant, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

Shanghai has been an important center of political and cultural life throughout the 20th century and is, therefore, quite naturally a popular destination for researchers working on Republican China and PRC history. However, one can’t help but feel that Shanghai’s popularity among historians also has something to do with the convenience and friendly service culture of the Shanghai Library and the Shanghai Municipal Archives. Not only do they have very impressive collections, the staff at both institutions are also exceptionally helpful (especially in comparison to other local archives or libraries in China) making it just a great place to do research.
This is a short visitor guide for those not yet familiar with these institutions so that you will not waste any time and can get your hands on documents and books as quickly as possible.

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