Reassessing Research on China – An International Workshop

“Sinology – Chinese/China Studies – Guoxue: Their Interrelation, Methodologies, and Impact”

The Monumenta Serica Institute (Sankt Augustin, Germany) and the Monumenta Serica Sinological Research Center (Taipei, Taiwan) will host an international workshop on the state of the fields of Sinology, Chinese/China Studies, and guoxue in Siegburg, Germany, from 21 to 22 October 2019.

In the course of time, the academic approach to China has produced a multitude of disciplines and perspectives. Sinology, starting as a clear-cut philology in early 19th century Europe, was complemented by the cultural sciences based China/Chinese studies (area studies) after the World War II with their focus on interdisciplinarity. Among Sinophone scholars, the re-evaluation of their own cultural heritage since the 19th century has created the modern concept of guoxue 國學 (national studies), as opposed to the Western discipline of Hanxue 漢學. All these shifts in perspectives were and are accompanied by discussions about the self-conception of the study of China as an academic discipline, its merits and limits, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, aims and methodology.

Far from being a detached meta-topic, these discussions on methodology are intended to initiate a dialogue about two major trends that, over the recent decades, pose an ever increasing challenge to scholars analyzing China: The most obvious one is China’s growing importance and influence in the fields of global politics and economy. Another is a heightened awareness for the cultural diversity of and within the Sinophone world. Fifteen participants from the PR China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, and the USA representing the perspectives of Sinology, China/Chinese studies and guoxue will offer unique insights from their specific research angles.

With this workshop, the Monumenta Serica Institute and the Monumenta Serica Sinological Research Center strive to contribute a fresh input to an ongoing debate. By inviting a select number of participants the organizers also aim to create an atmosphere that is conducive to an open-minded and appreciative debate on the status quo and the shape of things to come.