Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 6 pm to 7:30 pm, by

Professor Dr. Yixu Lu

(University of Sydney / JSPS Fellow at the University of Tokyo)



Conceptualising China in Modern Europe

University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus
Building 18, 4th floor, Collaboration Room 3


Understanding China is a challenge, not least because we tend to become involved in contradictory past understandings. From the early 18th to the middle 19th century there is a curious oscillation in Western ideas of China from the strongly positive to the equally negative. Thus, for Leibniz, on the threshold of the Enlightenment, China was defined positively as what Europe was not, whereas for Herder and Hegel China is immune to progress. Ferdinand von Richthofen displaces the myth of stagnation and sets the pendulum swinging towards a China full of the promise of an industrialised future. This lecture traces China’s changing image from a model of statecraft to a senile and corrupt culture in the 18th and 19th century and argues that this change is a result of sanctifying the idea of “progress” as the telos of human history in modern Europe.

Professor Dr. Arne Klawitter (Waseda University)
The Aesthetics of Chinoiserie


An event organized under the auspices of the
Center for German and European Studies