[Report] PKU-UTokyo Spring Institute 2017 (8)

15 June, 2017 NAKAJIMA Takahiro, TAKEDA Masaaki

Report on the final day (22nd March 2017)

Ever since the first day, we have had a very fruitful time discussing this year’s topic which is “Toward A Theory of Civilization” with participants form across three continents. Seminars, public lectures as well as other events were scheduled on a daily basis. Therefore, to save energy for the finale of our gathering, a decision was made as in that the morning of the last day would be spared. As a result, we all rested well and came to the venue refreshed. The place where the final meeting was held is considered to be the most beautiful architecture on the campus. Besides, not only President of PKU Prof.Lin Jianhua honored us by his presence, but also professors from other departments expressed their interests by participating in the round-table discussion.


The meeting started around 14:00 pm. First of all, host Prof. Zhang Xudong introduced the topic of the day which was “Critical Area Studies” (in Chinese 何为批判性的地域研究) and several framing questions such as how to go beyond the Eurocentric or the cold war model etc. What’s more, Prof. Nakajima Takahiro from UT also contributed by raising the awareness of “locality” as a place going beyond the imagination of “Area Studies” which Prof. Zhang Xudong translated into Chinese as “超越地域研究想象力的地域:从坐标到家园”. Apart from this, in his talk, Prof. Nakajima Takahiro called the attention to the definition of “China Studies” by stating that there are actually three kinds of China Studies existing: “1,在中国的哲学; 2,中国化哲学; 3,中国经典的哲学” which could be translated into English as “1, Philosophy in China; 2, Sino-philosophy; 3, Classic Chinese Philosophy ”.


The round-table discussion was held in the following order: professor from history department emphasized on the importance of the concept of “一个中心两个基本点” which could translate into English as one central task of economic development two basic points. Then Professor Wang Bo from the department of Chinese language and literature commented on the key term “modernization” from the viewpoint of modern Chinese literature. He recalled that Chinese literature also felt an urgent need to modernize itself in the 1980s, resulting in phenomenal works such as 《你别无选择》 and 《无主题变奏》(The title of the novels could be literarily translated into You Have No Choice and Variation without a Theme). However, modern Chinese literature soon made a course correction and started pursuing the fundamental Chinese elements in grassroots materials. Then the only female professor who is also the director of Yanching academy related the topic to her personal experience. Her energetic talk had a huge influence on the audience. After that, Prof. Yan Lihua from department of Chinese Philosophy and Prof. Gao Yuandong from department of Chinese History respectively contributed to the discussion by raising the awareness of universality and criticalness.



Last but not least, President Prof. Lin Jianhua of PKU made his appearance in spite of his busy schedule at the middle of the meeting. It was also him who made the closing remarks for the all event. Everyone present was very much inspired by the wonderful discussions held in the afternoon. After the meeting, all participants were invited to dine at the restaurant located on the second floor of the campus cafeteria. It was really a memorable night.

Dan Shao (The University of Tokyo)

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