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Conceptions of the World in Twentieth-Century Chinese Historiography

October 26 @ 6:00 pm - October 27 @ 7:00 pm

Conceptions of the World in Twentieth-Century Chinese Historiography 

Time: 26-27 October 2017
Place: Göttingen, Germany

Dr. Xin Fan, State University of New York at Fredonia

Over the course of the twentieth century, the constant writing and rewriting of history reflect aspects of the changing conceptions of the “world” in China.  Through various lenses – including but not limited to nation-states, empires, races, civilizations, cultures, and classes – Chinese historians both creatively imagined global time and space and actively negotiated China’s position in it. This conference will posit new questions about the formation of Chinese worldviews by focusing on historiography as its primary field of inquiry. It will investigate a variety of ways in which Chinese historians constructed and deconstructed temporal and spatial concepts such as “Asian,” “Asiatic,” and “China.” In that manner, the workshop will also establish an exchange between the field of China studies and global and transregional studies. A cohort of leading scholars from China, North America, and Europe have already committed their participation in this event, and Professor Ge Zhaoguang from Fudan University will deliver a key speech during the event.

The conference is jointly hosted by the Göttingen Department of East Asian Studies, the Center for Modern East Asian Studies and the Academic Confucius Institute. Outside sponsors: Volkswagen Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



26 October 2017 KWZ 0.603

18:00 – 20:00 Keynote Speech
Ge, Zhaoguang (Fudan University)
Global Elements in Traditional Chinese Historiography (in Chinese)


27 October 2017
Historische Sternwarte
Geismar Landstr. 11, 37083 Göttingen

9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks
Fan Xin & Dominic Sachsenmaier

9:15 – 11:15 Panel I
Making Sense of China and the World During the Early 20th Century
Chair: Sabine Dabringhaus (Freiburg)

Hon, Tze-ki (The City University of Hong Kong)
Locating China in the World: Newspapers and Textbooks in Late Qing Period

Schneider, Julia (Göttingen University)
Writing a General History of China (Zhongguo tongshi): Thinking about Ethnicity in Early Nationalist Historiography

Stapleton, Kristin (University at Buffalo)
Popular History from the Pope of Thick-Black Studies

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 13:00 Panel 2
Problems of Regionalism, Universalism and Localism
Chair: Xin Fan (SUNY Fredonia; Global Fellow)

Han, Xiaorong (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Southeast Asia in Twentieth Century Chinese Historiography

Schneider, Axel (Göttingen University)
Universal progress and particular history: Chinese engagement with concepts of universal history

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch Break

14:15 – 16:00 Panel 3
Chinese World Historical Outlooks and Marxism
Chair: TBA

Fan, Xin (SUNY Fredonia; Global Fellow)
The Forced Analogy: Marxism, Historiography, and the Chinese Worldview

Liu, Xiaoyuan (University of Virginia)
The Chinese Communist Understanding of the World through Tibet in the 1950s

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 – 18:30 Panel 4
Challenges and Opportunities of Global Historical Scholarship
Chair: Dominic Sachsenmaier (Göttingen)

Chen, Huaiyu (Arizona State University)
The Rise of the “Asian History” in Mainland China in the 1950s: A Global Perspective

Wang, Q. Edward (Rowan University)
World History on A Par with Chinese History? — China’s Search for World Power

De Baets, Antoon (University of Groningen)
The Subversive Power of Historical Analogies: A Global Approach

18:30 – 18:45 Closing Remarks

19:00 Conference Dinner




October 26 @ 6:00 pm
October 27 @ 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Department of East Asian Studies
Academic Confucius Institute
Center for Modern East Asian Studies


Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany
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