The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events
Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 18:00
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of Goethe University
Lecture series »Sinophone Classicism« | online
Jun HU (University of California, Berkeley)CANCELLED »If Columns Could Speak: Sinophone Classicism in Modern Chinese Architectural History«
Art: »Stone Seal« by Shi-siang TEO, courtesy of the artist
Unfortunately, Professor Hu will not be able to give his lecture on December 13, 2023. We kindly ask for your understanding.
Registration and participation
Participation via Zoom
For the Zoom registration link, please click
About the lecture
Almost at the outset of his Pictorial History of Chinese Architecture, Liang Sicheng (1901-1972), architect and architectural historian, isolates a column in the drawing of an interior section. With the empty space filled with a glossary of jargon (largely drawn from the eleventh-century Yingzao fashi), he labels it »the Chinese Order.« In the original Chinese, the anglophone »order« is retained, indicative of a neologism that has yet to be domesticated, and a clear nod to a paradigm of historicizing classical architecture in Europe since the early modern period, now brought to bear on an architectural tradition of equal longevity. The notion of a »Chinese Order« will quickly drop out of later writings on Chinese architecture, and yet the thinking that informs it remains de rigueur and an important part of Liang’s legacy. That is: just like its Classical counterpart in Europe, a column and its auxiliary sections is a heuristic tool that allows the historian a key reference point, a measure of »classicism.« This paper seeks to understand the implications of Liang’s efforts to carve out a »Sinophone classicism« for both history writing and design in the first half of the 20th century, with a view to exploring the boundaries of both halves of the notion as they have been traditionally articulated through literary and Eurocentric studies.
About the speaker
Jun HU is Mr. and Mrs. Pai Ruchu Presidential Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Assistant Professor of Chinese Art and Architecture, at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD in art and archaeology from Princeton University in 2014. His research and teaching engage with the history of Chinese architecture and its connections to other scholarly traditions, print culture and painting theory in the early modern period, and interregional interactions between China, Japan, and Korea.
He is currently at work on The Perturbed Circle: Chinese Architecture and Its Periphery, an intellectual history of Chinese architecture that spans the two millennia between the Han and Republican periods.
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