The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events

Friday, 21 January 2022, 16:00

Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Lecture series »Sinophone Classicism« | hybrid format

Jeroen de Kloet (University of Amsterdam)
»From Platform to Lying Flat: Youth, Technology, Hipsters, and the Question of Chineseness«

Please find the conditions for participation (on site and online) at the bottom of this page.


About the lecture
The past two decades in China are somehow characterized by a simultaneous opening up and closing off of the country. Chinese youth cultures particularly reflect such paradoxical movement. On the one hand, the rise of a hipster culture—the scene of »cultured youth« (wenyi qingnian 文艺青年) dressed in long cotton dresses or trousers with straw hats, writing letters or postcards by hand and preferably with a fountain pen, listening to folk music, and strolling through the country side—resonates with the global proliferation of likeminded cultural scenes. On the other hand, the popularity of the Han-ethnic clothing style (the hanfu 汉服 movement), calligraphy, and traditional Chinese characters among the youth attests to a move towards, say, more »Chineseness.« Meanwhile, all these cultured youth are frantically busy taking pictures and selfies with their mobile phones to subsequently post on social media platforms like Weibo and Tik Tok. In my talk, I will engage with the role of such platforms in the articulation of youth identities in China, and show how both »global« as well as »local« cultural articulations are always highly promiscuous. In the recent »lying flat« (tangping 躺平) movement, I read a possible way out of the demand to be and become both global and Chinese, as imposed today on Chinese youth identities.

About the speaker
Jeroen de Kloet is Professor in Globalisation Studies and Head of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is also part of the State Key Lab of Media Convergence and Communication, Communication University of China in Beijing. Publications include a book with Anthony Fung Youth Cultures in China (Polity 2017), and the edited volumes Boredom, Shanzhai, and Digitization in the Time of Creative China (with Yiu Fai Chow and Lena Scheen, Amsterdam UP 2019) and Trans-Asia as Method: Theory and Practices (with Yiu Fai Chow and Gladys Pak Lei Chong, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019). See also here

About the lecture series
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: Tuesday, 18 January, 2022

Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections
- We follow the »2 G + rule«: You will need to provide a proof of full vaccination or recovery and a negative rapid anitgen test (not older than 24 hours).
- Collection of contact details (via a form, the Luca app or the Coronawarn app)
- Obligation to wear a medical mask.
- The event room is ventilated even in cool weather.

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 and of the negative antigen test. We will also send written cancellations.

Participation via Zoom
For the Zoom registration link, please click here

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