The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events
Friday, 17 December 2021, 16:00
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Lecture series »Sinophone Classicism«
Marius Meinhof (Bielefeld University)»Piety without Obedience? Popular Discourse on Filial Piety as a Resource for Morality in Contemporary China«
About the lecture
This presentation will introduce findings from an ongoing research project on discourses on filial piety (xiao 孝) and traditional morality in contemporary China. In the context of an aging society and discourses on moral decay in the reform era and informed by a new wave of nostalgia for traditional culture, the concept of filial piety has gained new popularity in Chinese discourse today. Concerns with filial piety as a resource for morality are visible in state discourse and social engineering projects, but they go far beyond the realm of the state: within families as well as between peers of same age, intergenerational relations are understood and contested by invoking various definitions of filial piety. Interpretations range from demands for unconditional piety towards parents, over ideas of »piety without obedience« (xiao er bu shun 孝而不顺), to a rejection of »stupid piety« (yuxiao 愚孝), or even a flat-out rejection of filial piety as feudal and backward. Within this wide field of interpretations, intergenerational roles, mutual obligations, as well as boundaries between conjugal couples and their parents are constantly negotiated and re-interpreted. At the same time, filial piety is often extended to wider social circles through claims such as that even outside of the family, a truly filial person would not bring shame to one’s parents.
About the speaker
About the lecture series
Marius Meinhof received his PhD degree in 2017 at Bielefeld University. From 2013 to 2016 he held a doctoral research Position at Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology. In 2016, he joined the faculty of sociology at Bielefeld University as a research associate. He is currently the project leader in the DFG-funded project »Zivilisierte Familien. Diskurse der ›kindlichen Treue‹ in China im Zeitalter des ›chinesischen Traums‹«. His fields of research are China, Post-colonialism in China and Consumption, placing an accent on Governmentality in consumption.
In recent years, literary and cultural works that evoke the cultural memories of classical Chinese traditions are gaining popularity in the global Sinitic-languages space and cyberspace. From literary to visual culture, from pop music to fashion, from state policies to daily rituals, these classicist articulations present Chineseness as complicated, multifaceted, multilingual, and cross-cultural. They raise important questions on the relevance of Chinese traditions today to China, to global Chinese communities, and to a future of »world literature«—as Goethe envisioned it nearly two centuries ago. In this multiannual lecture series, prominent scholars, writers, and artists will present fascinating case studies from their research or draw upon their aesthetic practices to elaborate on their understanding on these important questions. Such investigations demonstrate the abundant aesthetic and intellectual resources that the vast repertoire of Chinese cultural memories may provide to engage in a dialogue on the present and future of a global culture.
Concept of the lecture series: Zhiyi Yang, Professor of Sinology, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and Goethe Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften
Calligraphy: Shi-Siang Teo »Lyrical Abstract: Ruan Ji series no. 10« (2017)
Registration and participation
Participation on spot
The number of participants is limited and only possible after prior registration.
Registration deadline: Monday, 13 December, 2021
Confirmation of Participation: You will receive a confirmation of participation note by email after the registration deadline. Please bring a printed copy of the confirmation to the event, as well as a proof of vaccination or recovery. Please bring a mask. We will also send written cancellations.
Participation via Zoom
Please register in advance at:
We will send you the Zoom link a couple of days before the event.