Past Events 2018-19

The Intimate and the Local: The Influence of the Oral Tradition on the Vernacular Songs of Feng Menglong (1574-1646)

2017/18 School of Chinese Research Seminar, The University of Hong Kong

The Intimate and the Local:
The Influence of the Oral Tradition on the Vernacular Songs of Feng Menglong (1574-1646)

Professor Anne E. McLaren
University of Melbourne

Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Time: 4:30pm, Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Abstract: In Chinese literature of the pre-modern era it is the writings in classical Chinese or in the literary vernacular that predominate. Unlike European nations during the Renaissance, China did not undergo a period where regional spoken languages became the cherished language of polished literary production. However, in China’s late imperial era, one does find greater use of regional languages in play scripts, novels, short stories, and collected songs. In his song and story collections, literati Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 (1574-1646) made an outstanding contribution to the popularisation of the language and culture of his home region of Suzhou. His collection of “mountain songs”, Shange,山歌, is particularly famous. However, the derivation of the songs and the extent of Feng’s revision remains a topic of hot contention today. Did the songs derive primarily from the illiterate rural classes or were they mostly the songs of the courtesans who plied their trade across the waterways of Suzhou? Or perhaps they were the common songs of both the urban and rural classes? How should we best interpret the frank language of love and passion found in this song collection? As yet largely unexamined is the extent to which Feng’s Shange collection reflects the oral traditions of shange lyricism and story-telling. This study will draw from both historical sources and the rich trove of shange that have been recorded in the contemporary period to offer fresh insight into how the oral tradition of the late Ming shaped Feng’s remarkable sense of both “the intimate” and “the local” in these songs of passion.

Anne E. McLaren is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. Her research specialty is the intersection of oral, written and printed traditions in late imperial China. Her earlier work, Chinese Popular Culture & Ming Chantefables (Brill, 1998) dealt with an early storytelling genre and its adaptation in Ming novels, especially the Sanguo yanyi(三國演義). She is also the author of a book on the bridal laments (kujia哭嫁) of the coastal Shanghai region (Performing Grief: Bridal Laments in Rural China (University of Hawaii Press, 2008). In 2017 she edited a special issue of Asian Ethnology (76-1) “Intepreting Sinitic Heritage: Ethnography and Identity in China and Southeast Asia”. In recent years she has completed numerous studies on the long shange song-cycles of the lower Yangzi delta, including a co-authored paper with Emily Yu Zhang, “Recreating ‘Traditional’ Folk Epics in Contemporary China: The Politics of Textual Transmission”, in Asian Ethnology (2017, 76-1).

All Welcome


The Digitization of the Archives of the Lyon Sino-French Institute 里昂中法大學 – Opportunities, Risks and Ghosts

2017/2018 School of Chinese Public Lecture Series

The Digitization of the Archives of the Lyon Sino-French Institute 里昂中法大學 – Opportunities, Risks and Ghosts

Gregory B. Lee 利大英

Date: 29 May, 2018 (Tuesday) 4:30-6:00pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower

The Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (Lyon Sino-French Institute, hereafter IFCL), a constituent part of the then University of Lyon, was an institution dedicated to the education and welfare of students from China. Its stated purpose was to mentor Chinese students and ensure their integration into the French higher education system. Subsequent to the unhappy experience of the Chinese Study-Work movement in France, the IFCL project was initiated by important intellectual figures from the Chinese “New Culture Movement” including Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868-1940), Li Shizeng 李石曾 (1881-1973) and Wu Zhihui 吳稚暉 (1865-1953). Founded in 1921, the Institute hosted 473 students during the twenty-five years of its existence. After their studies in France, graduates returned to China to provide the skilled intellectuals China lacked. At least a quarter of them obtained a doctorate. Many of them had outstanding careers as writers, artists, scientists, jurists, university professors or politicians, and made a considerable contribution to the advancement of the Chinese nation-state and its modern intellectual and epistemological landscape. The Institute left an extensive collection of documents, which are now the property of Lyon’s Jean Moulin University (Université Jean Moulin-Lyon 3). The main technical goal of my project will be the organization, classification, digitization, storage, and production of online database of the archives. The resultant digitized research data will constitute the core object of this particular research project, and also provide essential data for further projects. The collection constitutes a unique example of the cultural and scientific dimensions of the heritage of global modernity. Central to the project is the hypothesis that the Institute not only contributed to the development of the Chinese nation-state, but was was indeed also constitutive of the new national consciousness.

Gregory B. Lee 利大英 is an academic, author, and broadcaster. He is Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 and Director of the French research institute, IETT or Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies, .

Lee previously taught at the universities of London (SOAS), Cambridge, Chicago, Hong Kong, and City University Hong Kong. His publications include Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist (1989), and China’s Lost Decade (2009, 2012). His forthcoming book is entitled China Imagined: From Western Fantasy to Spectacular Power (2018)

All are welcome


Monkey and the Novelization of Xiyouji

2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar

Monkey and the Novelization of Xiyouji

蔡燕賓 Cai Yanbin

May 25, 2018 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: English


Is zhanghui xiaoshuo really novel? When modern scholars keep returning to the question, their efforts of justification points to other possibilities in the cross-cultural reading of zhanghui xiaoshuo, especially before the xiaoshuo/novel alignment established. As the most successful English translation of Xiyouji, Arthur Waley’s MonkeyA Chinese Folk Novel provides an intriguing example of how one of the best pre-modern Chinese xiaoshuo is novelized. This talk reviews the intertwining process between the cross-cultural xiaoshuo/novel alignment and the birth of the Chinese national literary ecology. In the early years of the twentieth century, Hu Shi called for vernacular Chinese to be recognized as the national literary language, bestowing per-modern vernacular xiaoshuo a canonical status unprecedented. This position is consolidated with the national history on Chinese xiaoshuo written by Lu Xun, their combined efforts forming a link between the Chinese literary term with its counterpart in the English language and culture. The final alignment was completed in translation. Fine specimens in the xiaoshuo genre were translated into English, among which Waley’s rewriting on Xiyouji becomes an unparalleled success. I will focus on how Waley’s strategies transform the hundred-chaptered xiaoshuo in the target language, especially with deliberate abridgment and careful selection of texts for translation. With his effort, not only is Xiyouji novelized in Monkey, this reincarnation of the Chinese xiaoshuo also obtains an independent literary life as a distinguished English novel.


Winds, Dreams, Theater: A Genealogy of Emotion-Realms through the Lens of The Peony Pavilion

Research Seminar Hosted by the School of Chinese & Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Winds, Dreams, Theater: A Genealogy of Emotion-Realms through the Lens of The Peony Pavilion

Dr Ling Hon Lam
The University of California, Berkeley

Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Time: 4:30pm, Monday, 21 May, 2018

Abstract: Emotion takes place. Rather than an inner state of mind in response to the outside world, emotion per se is spatial, at turns embedding us from without, transporting us somewhere else, or putting us ahead of ourselves. I give a revisionist history of emotions in Chinese literature and culture centered on the idea of emotion as space, which the Chinese call “emotion-realm” (qingjing). If The Peony Pavilion (Mudan ting, 1598) is the romantic play par excellence in early modern China, it is not because, as many assume, it celebrates emotion as the innermost essence of an liberated individual. Rather, it is because the play eloquently encapsulates the three major historical regimes of the spatiality of emotion—namely, winds, dreamscapes, and theatricality. As a capsule of these various regimes, The Peony Pavilion has deployed them in an anachronistic juxtaposition, obliterating their timeline and structural differences. My reading of the play is therefore an archaeological one, sorting out the layers of sedimentation, through which we can glimpse into the subtle transformation of Chinese theater and subject formation—of which the transfiguration of the dream and the rise of the media environment are telling symptoms—as an aspect of the genealogy of emotion-realms.

Ling Hon Lam is assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Berkeley. His research and teaching interests cover premodern drama and fiction, women’s writing, sex and gender, history of sentiments, nineteenth- and twentieth-century media culture, and critical theories. His publications include “The Matriarch’s Private Ears: Performance, Reading, Censorship, and the Fabrication of Interiority in The Story of the Stone” (HJAS 65.2), “Reading off the Screen: Toward Cinematic Il-literacy in Late 1950s Chinese Opera Film” (Opera Quarterly 26.2-3), and “A Case of the Chinese (Dis)order? The Haoqiu zhuanand the Competing Forms of Knowledge in European and Japanese Readings” (Asian Publishing and Society 3). He is the author of The Spatiality of Emotion in Early Modern China: From Dreamscapes to Theatricality (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018).

All Welcome



Under the sponsorship of Tin Ka Ping Foundation, a Tsz Shan Monastery Visit was organized by the School of Chinese for full time undergraduate, postgraduate students and alumni. Details of this event are available in the following call circular.




日期:2018年6月16日 或 7月7日
時地:10:00am-3:30pm 大埔慈山寺
費用:$50 (包括茶禪/午膳/茶點/來回大埔旅遊車費用)
查詢:中文學院廖舜禧老師(港大百週年校園B702室 電話:39175204 電郵

卜彌格與歐洲專業漢學的興起- -兼論卜彌格與雷慕莎的學術連接

香港大學傑出中國訪問學者計劃 HKU Distinguished Chinese Scholars Scheme
香港大學中文學院公開講座 School of Chinese Public Lecture


Michel Boym and the Rise of Professional Sinology in Europe, and the Academic Heritage from Michel Boym to Abel-Rémusat

張西平 教授

2018年5月2日下午4: 30 – 6: 30


講座摘要:西方漢學的發展經歷了三個階段,即遊記漢學、傳教士漢學和專業漢學,而傳教士漢學是令人矚目的關鍵階段。本講座闡釋明清之際波蘭來華傳教士卜彌格(Michel Boym, 1612-1659)的漢學成就,以及他對推動歐洲早期漢學的建立所作的學術貢獻。通過梳理和分析傳教士漢學與專業漢學的學術聯結,集中呈現中國文化早期在歐洲傳播的歷史畫面。




2017/2018 School of Chinese Public Lecture Series

The Introduction and Spread of European Meteorological
Instruments and Its Technological Principles in Qing China

施威博士Dr. Shi Wei

April 26 (Thursday), 2018, 4:30-6pm, Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower

Language: Putonghua


In the system of meteorological technology, the meteorological instrument is undoubtedly one of the most important forms of technology. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the rise of the “revolution of instrument making” for meteorological observations in Europe promoted the modernization of the meteorological industry and gradually formed and expanded a technological gap between China and the West. After the Opium War, with the establishment of meteorological observatories by foreigners in China and the improvement of meteorological observation and forecasting, the introduction of European meteorological instruments was characterized by scale, systematization and precision, and their technological craftsmanship and principles were also widely disseminated. Based on the above background, this talk will focus on the stages, features and effects etc. of the introduction of European meteorological instruments and their technological craftsmanship.


Dr. Shi is Associate Professor of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and Visiting Assistant Professor of the School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong. He is also Executive Director of High Level Experts Liaison Office and Guest Researcher at the Research Institute of Climate and Environmental Governance of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and serves at the boards of the Society of China Industrial Archaeology and Industrial Heritage Protection, the Professional Committee for Education of History of Science under the Chinese Society for the History of Science and Technology, and the Society of Jiangsu Agriculture History. He teaches and studies mainly meteorological history, the transmission and education of science, and science and culture. He has published over 50 journal articles and three books, and hosted six provincial and above research projects sponsored by National Social Science Fund etc.


Censorship, Morality, and Cultural Policy under Xi Jinping

2017/2018 School of Chinese Public Lecture Series

Censorship, Morality, and Cultural Policy under Xi Jinping

Michel Hockx (University of Notre Dame)

May 10 (Thursday); 11am–12:15pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower
Language: English

In October 2014, Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a widely publicized meeting with representatives of literary and artistic circles. A year later the full text of his speech at the meeting was published and became the foundation of PRC cultural policy. Western observers were quick to point out analogies between Xi’s meeting and the Yan’an forum of 1942, when Mao Zedong laid down the rules of art for the socialist period. Others opined that Xi’s speech had heralded a return to the policies of the Cultural Revolution. Yet a closer analysis of Xi’s text shows that he used his speech to reiterate and solidify a moralistic view of literature and art that has been the consensus in government circles since the start of the reform period in 1978. According to this consensus, cultural work is significant because it spreads the positive values of “truth, goodness, and beauty”—a triad well-known from the history of European philosophy and often used to build moralistic value systems. Xi Jinping and his speech writers awkwardly combine this traditional European view of the nature of art with a call for greater adherence to native Chinese traditions, and for patriotism.

This talk will trace the history of the triad “truth, goodness, and beauty” in modern Chinese cultural discourse and look in detail at its application in the formulation of cultural policy since 2014. It also looks at the effect of the discourse on cultural production and the shifting levels of tolerance for deviation from prescribed moral standards.

Michel Hockx is Professor of Chinese literature and director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on modern Chinese literary communities, their practices and their values, their printed and digital publications, and their relationship to the state. His monograph Internet Literature in China (Columbia UP, 2015) was listed by Choice magazine as one of the “Top 25 Outstanding Academic Titles of 2015.”


On the Aesthetics of the Ugly in Su Tong’s Novel on Female

2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Students Seminar

On the Aesthetics of the Ugly in Su Tong’s Novel on Female

辜雨瑤 KU Yu Yiu

April 27, 2018 (Friday), 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: Putonghua


Chinese literati have included “the ugly” in their writing since the ancient times, but it has often served as an accompany of “beauty”—the Ugly has not evolved into an independent aesthetic category all along until the 1980s: the comparatively freer literary environment in China then gave rise to the literary trend of the aesthetics of the Ugly, making ugliness a popular theme in literary texts. The blood and gore and morbidity of the plots and the peculiar language have formed a hideous literary landscape and burst upon the literary circles. Su Tung (1963- ), a writer who emerged in the 1980s, also incorporates worldly ugliness in his works, consciously depicting shoddy environment, degenerate and ruthless society, as well as distorted and denatured humanity. Just as beauty can have millions of manifestations in literature, the representation of the Ugly differs among writers. There are some writers who go after every minute detail of ugliness, whereas more subtlety can be found in Su Tong’s pursuit of the aesthetics of ugliness. He does not play with exaggerations or obsess over lurid details to nauseate people; his light touch for the Ugly sends a shudder down people’s spine all the same. His renowned “Hongfen xilie” (“Red Faces”/”Blushes” series) novels, including Wives and Concubines (Qiqie chengqun)Blushes (Hongfen)Women’s Life (Funü shenghuo), and Another Kind of Women’s Life (Lingyizhong funü shenghuo), could be said to be Su Tong’s signature works that explore the theme of ugliness. The female protagonists in Su Tung’ novels represent the struggle of women in the era where ideas new and old, traditional and modern collide; his characterisation also reveals the ugliness of the female. Albeit himself being a male writer, Su Tong managed to turn away from the literary tradition’s patriarchal poeticizing of females. His adoption of a neutral point of view in writing the female is exemplary. This presentation will first clarify what “the aesthetics of ugliness” means and then focus on how Su Tong constructs his own aesthetics of ugliness in his series of novels depicting female.


Shanghai as “the Rubbish Heap of All Asia”: New Sensationalist Writing, Colonial Metropolis, and Environmental Apocalypse

2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Students Seminar

Shanghai as “the Rubbish Heap of All Asia”: New Sensationalist Writing, Colonial Metropolis, and Environmental Apocalypse

張墨兮 Zhang Moxi

April 20, 2018 (Friday), 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: English


After his one-month stay in Shanghai in 1928, Yokomitsu Riichi went back to Tokyo and published a series of his New Sensationalist literary theories on language and style in writing. He then wrote Shanghai as his first novel and last practice of New Sensationalist writing. This presentation reads Shanghai in the context of Yokomitsu’s literary theories, focusing on the relationship between writing and space. In Shanghai, the relationship is enabled through the novel’s various characters traveling in the colonial metropolis. Distinct from the conventional paradigms of travel writing, Shanghai reveals a subjectivity that does not take the position either of the “imperial eyes” or of an exiled other. Rather, the subjectivity is interactive with the space presented as a spectacle of urban environment. By bringing environment as a dimension into space, this presentation attends to tropes of non-human agencies both in the text (e.g., waste) and beyond the text (e.g., earthquake) with concerns of ecocriticism. I argue that one can trace inShanghai the colonial legacy of postcolonial ecoviolence, where Yokomitsu both shows its relation to modernity and offers his critique of modernity.


One Tree Three Lives

One Tree Three Lives

Date 日期: 20 Apr 2018

Time 時間: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
7:00pm-8:40pm (Screening, Mandarin/Cantonese)
8:40pm-9:30pm (Dialogue in Mandarin)

Venue 地點:
Rayson Huang Theatre, HKU

Speaker(s) 講師:
Ms.Angie Chen, Director
Mr. Liu Waitong, poet, writer and photographer

Moderator 主持:
Dr Lin Pei-yin,Associate Professor, HKU

For HKU students and staff

For alumni and public

Summary 內容:



One Tree Three Lives is an intimate film on the novelist Hualing Nieh Engle, who has been a major influence on generations of writers in the Chinese Diaspora, and beyond.
The film reveals a woman of unusual charisma, integrity and determination, and a person in continual exile. Interviews with 26 writers such as Mo Yin and Pai Hsien-yung present a lively variety of views and anecdotes.

Hualing Nieh Engle calls herself a tree, with roots in China, the trunk in Taiwan, and the many leaves in Iowa, USA. Born and raised in wartime China, she left Wuhan in 1949 for peace in Taipei, and then left for love in 1964 to the United States. She is the author of 24 books of fiction and non-fiction, which have been translated into various languages. Perhaps more importantly, she initiated the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa with her poet-husband Paul Engle – a world-renowned platform for writers since 1967, for which they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

Bio of Speakers座談嘉賓:

Angie Chen has been making films since 1979. She was born in Shanghai, brought up in Hong Kong and Taiwan, received her MFA from UCLA, and lived in America for over more than a decade. Her first documentary, Der Besuch (The Visit, 1981), was about her father, and was filmed in Germany before her return to Hong Kong. After graduating, she returned to Hong Kong in the 1980s and directed several feature films followed, namely Maybe It’s Love (1984), My Name Ain’t Suzie (1985), and Chaos By Design (1988), before she became disillusioned with the possibilities of creating original and interesting work within the territory’s commercial industry. She turned to making commercials and publicity shorts before re-emerging as a documentary filmmaker nearly two decades after the release of her last commercial feature, with the intimate portrait This Darling Life (2008), the acclaimed biographical work on the novelist Hualing Nieh Engle, One Tree Three Lives (2012) and the latest lively documentary about the artist Yank Wong, I’ve Got the Blues (2017). This Darling Life nominated Best Documentary in the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards; One Tree Three Lives world premiered in the 2012 Hong Kong International Film Festival, and Asia-premiere in the 2012 Taipei Film Festival; and I’ve Got the Blues has won Best Feature Documentary (FFD) in 2017.


Liu Waitong is a poet, writer and photographer. He was born in Guangdong in 1975 and moved to Hong Kong in 1997. He has been awarded several literary prizes in Hong Kong and Taiwan, including the China Times Literary Award, the United Daily News Award, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Award for Best Artist (Literature).

林姵吟博士,現當代文學副教授,2012年開始在中文學院執教,此前曾在英國劍橋大學,倫敦大學,和新加坡國立大學任教,也曾任哈佛大學燕京學社訪問學者(2015-2016)及倫敦大學亞非學院博士後研究員。著有多篇關於現當代中文文學(尤其是台灣文學)的中、英文論文,也翻譯過數篇短篇小說,近期代表作為Colonial Taiwan: Negotiating Identities and Modernity through Literature (Brill, 2017)。

Dr Lin Pei-yin joined the School of Chinese, HKU in 2012. Prior to HKU, she was Lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies, Cambridge, an assistant professor in the department of Chinese Studies of the National University of Singapore, and a part-time teacher and post-doctorate research fellow in modern Chinese literature at SOAS, University of London. She was a Harvard Yenching Visiting Scholar in 2015-2016. She has published widely on modern Chinese literature, with a focus on Taiwan. Her latest publication is Colonial Taiwan: Negotiating Identities and Modernity through Literature (Brill, 2017).




Submission to Eruditus


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  • 內容︰來稿須為中國語言、文學、文化研究範疇之中文學術論文。如學科論文習作取得優異成績,歡迎修訂後投稿。
  • 字數︰5,000至7,000,包括注釋及標點符號。
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Identities and Passions
A Roundtable Discussion on Recent Research in Chinese Gender and Sexuality

Identities and Passions
A Roundtable Discussion on Recent Research
in Chinese Gender and Sexuality

Time: 9:15am -12:30pm, March 29, 2018
Venue: 436 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

In recent years an increasing number of disciplines have been engaged in  the study of Chinese gender and sexuality, producing fresh materials and  innovative insights. While we are gaining a better understanding of the  processes by which Chinese men and women were shaped as gendered  and sexual beings, we are also uncovering new issues and questions that  seem China-specific, and some that need interdisciplinary efforts to  unravel and solve. In this international symposium, we have invited some  of the most active scholars working in the humanities and social sciences  to reflect on current directions and challenges in the study of Chinese  gender and sexuality.

Louise Edwards, School of Humanities and Languages, The University of  New South Wales; Kam Louie, Honorary Professor, School of Chinese,  HKU; Chris Berry, Film Studies Department, King’s College, London;  Clara W. Ho, Department of History, HKBU; Gina Marchetti, School of  Humanities, HKU; Wu Cuncun, School of Chinese, HKU; Geng Song,  School of Chinese, HKU; Travis Kong, Department of Sociology, HKU;  Binbin Yang, School of Chinese, HKU; Pei-yin Lin, School of Chinese,  HKU; Haomin Gong, Department of Chinese, Lingnan University; Yun Zhang, Division of Humanities, HKUST; Dong Miao, School of Chinese,  HKU; Yue Gu, School of Chinese, HKU

All Welcome

Sichuan, Tibetan areas, Jiuzhaigou & Huanglong Valley Cultural Exchange Program

Under the sponsorship of the HKU-China 1000 Exchange Scheme and Tinkaping Foundation, an exchange event organized by the School of Chinese for undergraduate and postgraduate students will take place during summer holiday of 2018. Further details are available in the following call for applications.



首輪截止報名日期: 2018年4月14日(星期六)
查詢:中文學院體驗學習及交流計劃總監廖舜禧(百週年校園B702室 電話:39175204電郵

2018 年港大 – 暨大暑期交流項目
HKU – JNU Summer Exchange Programme

2018 HKU – JNU Summer Exchange Programme
2018 年港大 – 暨大暑期交流項目

Lingnan Culture Seminar Series for Bay Area University Students


2018年3月31日報名截止 名額有限,欲報從速!



Ancestral Halls as Institutions in Late Imperial China

2017/2018 School of Chinese Public Lecture Series

Ancestral Halls as Institutions in Late Imperial China

Joseph P. McDermott (Emeritus Reader in Chinese History, U of Cambridge)

March 6, 2018 (Tuesday) 4:30pm-6:00pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower
Language: English

The ancestral hall is commonly thought of as a place where descendants worship their ancestors, and so it has long been considered an integrative and inclusive institution encompassing an entire lineage or branch. This talk questions that understanding, preferring to see that at least in some parts of south China during the Ming and Qing dynasties ancestral halls were erected to redistribute power within the lineage, often in line with wealth and power already acquired outside of the village, and thus were actually very divisive institutions. Two keys to gaining this insight are the financing of the hall’s construction and the hall’s subsequent role as a credit-granting institution in a society with very limited “banking facilities.” To that extent, the growth of the ancestral hall as a key institution of lineage life in south China from the sixteenth century onward is a sign of the commercialization of a descent group institution along lines imagined by neither pre-Ming advocates of this central institution in neo-Confucian reforms nor modern scholars focussed primarily on what such advocates wrote about institutions as opposed to what Chinese actually did with them.

About the Speaker
Joseph P. McDermott has had a career teaching in the US, Japan, and the UK. Having recently retired as Reader in Chinese History at the U. of Cambridge, he presently is Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Honorary Fellow of the Toyo Bunko, Tokyo. Over the past four decades he has written widely on middle and late imperial Chinese history, at times on Chinese art and thought, but mainly about Chinese social and economic history from the Song to the early Qing. His books include A Social History of the Chinese Book (HKUP, 2006) and the two-volume study of Huizhou Prefecture, The Making of a New Rural Order in South China (Cambridge University Press, 2013 and forthcoming in 2019) , and the volumes he has edited include Art and Power in East Asia (ICU, 1990), State and Court Ritual in China(Cambridge University Press, 1999), and, with Peter Burke, The Book Worlds of East Asia and Europe, 1450-1850 (HKUP, 2016). Most recently, he co-authored a lengthy chapter, “Economic Change in Song China, 960-1279,” for The Cambridge History of China.


Thinking About Thinking: Meta-awareness in Translation Studies and Its Cognitive Significance

2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Students Seminar

Thinking About Thinking: Meta-awareness in Translation Studies and Its Cognitive Significance

Li Sen 李森

March 9 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: English

With the advent of Artificial Intelligence comes the question: are we going to be replaced by machines one day and can AI do what we do? As debates rage on over the uniqueness of human expertise, scholars are now looking closely at what makes human knowledge indispensable in light of the rapid growth of AI. In the field of Translation Studies, machine translation has stirred up discussions over the need of human translation in the future. This has incentivized translation scholars to shift focus from traditional textual analysis to psycholinguistic analysis to understand what distinguishes human translation from machine translation on a cognitive level. According to the Encyclopedia of Human Memory, metacognition (hereon referred to as meta-awareness) means the ability to think about thinking and beware of one’s own awareness in humans and still remains a major issue in Artificial Intelligence. As translation is a multistage, cross-linguistic process within “a complex cognitive network of knowledge, abilities and strategies,” it is necessary for translators to regularly assess their own translation strategies and language proficiency to achieve maximum equivalence. Moreover, because domain-specific knowledge is directly correlated with better performance and determines what type of tasks translators can undertake, they are uniquely positioned to constantly update and maintain their sense of expertise. To put it simply, seasoned professionals often think about how to think about translation and know they are experts. This then begs the following questions: how do translators find the best mode of thinking when translating a specific genre and style? Is it a unique human experience? What does a sense of expertise do to their comprehension of the task? Can we apply meta-awareness to machine translation to boost its efficiency? For my project, I am curious to find out if this complex way of thinking can be wielded to establish the unique position of humans as the creator and innovator of language as well as language research, and if this can benefit AI studies in the future. The end goal is to demonstrate how higher-level cognitive processes such as meta-awareness can be applied to translation and how it influences translation activities. In the first part of this research project, I will apply psychoanalysis to the translation of traumatic texts to illustrate how meta-awareness of the psychological rationale behind the specific style in which trauma literature has been written determines whether such a style is translated faithfully. In part two, the application of meta-awareness will be examined under an experimental setting to explain if professional meta-awareness of linguistic and translation ability as induced by a translation task will alter the participants’ comprehension of the same task.

隨著人工智能的到來,人類專業技能的獨特性成為爭論焦點。在翻譯學領域,機器翻譯的出現使人工翻譯的地位岌岌可危。因此,翻譯學者們逐漸把目光從傳統的文本、語言分析轉移至心理語言學分析。從認知的角度來闡釋人工翻譯與機器翻譯之間的差異。根據人類記憶百科的定義,“元思考” 指對思考產生的思考,是一種對思維方式的反思。然而,人工智能在靈活運用元思考的能力上仍存在諸多局限性。由於翻譯是多環節,跨語言的活動,並涉及到一系列複雜的知識結構、能力與技巧。譯者們不得不經常反思自己的翻譯策略,思維模式和語言表達能力,以保證翻譯的 ”信,達,雅,”。不僅如此,因專業知識的多少直接決定翻譯的質量及譯者的工作範圍,譯者們自然會時常更新並保持自己身為某領域、甚至多領域翻譯專家的自我定位。簡單來說,資深的譯者經常反思翻譯時該用什麼技巧、什麼思考方式,並清楚地知道自己具備一定專業能力。這便引發一系列問題:譯者如何在反思翻譯策略時針對不同的風格和體裁來選擇合適的翻譯思維模式?只有人類具備這種反思能力嗎?對於專業能力的自我認知是否會影響譯者對於翻譯文本的理解?我們是否可以將元思考應用到人工智能領域?從如上問題出發,本論文將把元思考的概念作為考證人類知識獨特性的工具,以證實人類在語言發展和語言研究方面的不可替代性,同時解釋元思考在翻譯領域的價值及其對翻譯活動的影響。論文第一部分將從心理分析的角度,以余華的創傷文學為例,分析譯者應如何利用元思考的概念反思自己的翻譯思維模式,在翻譯該體裁時對於其寫作風格及特點背後的心理因素加以分析,以保證該文體譯文的忠實度。第二部分將以實驗的方式,在指定的筆譯及閱讀測試之背景下,闡述譯者作為專家的自我意識如何激發其在翻譯策略及語言能力上的反思和自我評估,以探討這種元思考式的反思、自我評估如何影響譯者對原文的理解。



Under the sponsorship of the Tin Ka Ping Foundation, a workshop on Chinese Chess Culture has been organized by the School of Chinese for full time undergraduate and postgraduate students. Details of this event are available in the following call circular.



講座:2018年4月6日 (週五 6:30-8:30pm)




導師:林嘉欣小姐(港隊代表、三屆香港冠軍、亞洲賽季軍[10及16]、世界賽殿軍[09];第11屆「世界象棋錦標賽」獲國際棋聯頒「象棋大師」稱號,為首位得此名號的香港女棋手) 及林小龍老師(香港學界冠軍)





查詢:中文學院廖舜禧老師(港大百週年校園B702室 電話:39175204電郵

Translation for Theatre Performance: Hong Shen’s The Young Mistress’s Fan in the Republican Era

2017/2018 School of Chinese Research Students Seminar

Translation for Theatre Performance:
Hong Shen’s The Young Mistress’s Fan in the Republican Era

李佳偉Li Jiawei

February 9, 2018 (Friday), 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: Putonghua


The Young Mistress’s Fan was translated from Oscar Wilde’s four-act play Lady Windermere’s Fan by Hong Shen. It premiered in Shanghai Vocational Educational Hall in April 1924 and was restaged in Shanghai Olympic Theatre in the later June. The emergence of The Young Mistress’s Fan was a landmark event as it pioneered the modern drama, the adapted plays as well as the modern performing forms. It also directly led to Hong Shen’s later success as a reputable director, playwright and translator. The main argument of this report is that translator’s power is not hereditary, but gained by recognition from both the practitioners and audiences. This report will investigate the dramaturgical methods Hong Shen adopted in producing The Young Mistress’s Fan. By doing so, I hope to reconstruct how the theatre translators in the 1920s Shanghai empowered themselves.


A Talk on Research and Writing Capstone Dissertation

A Talk on Research and Writing Capstone Dissertation

Date: 25/1/2018 (Thursday)
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: Putonghua/ English

Dr. Emma Yu Zhang 張宇博士 (Society of Fellows in the Humanities)

This talk introduces and highlights the important aspects and skills in doing research and writing undergraduate capstone dissertation, such as how to formulate research questions, how to engage with sources, and how to build a sound argument. It aims to offer a better understanding of the process of writing a capstone dissertation.

本次講座旨在介紹本科畢業論文寫作過程中的基本方法,與學生著重探討怎樣提出研究問題,怎樣處理研究資料 ,怎樣形成合理的論點等等,希望能夠讓學生對論文寫作的整個過程有比較清晰的認識。

All are welcome


Powerpoint Download:





All Presentations Will be in Putonghua. All Are Welcome. 普通話進行,歡迎出席聆聽


Memorials of University Students and Channels of Political Communication in 1126

2017‐2018 School of Chinese Seminar 香港大學中文學院演講

Memorials of University Students and
Channels of Political Communication in 1126‬

Dr. Chu Ming Kin

January 19, 2018 (Friday); 4:30-6:00pm
Rm730, Run Run Shaw Tower
Language: English

How did students at the Imperial University (taixue太學) comment on politics in response to political crises incurred by the Jurchen invasion in 1126? Through an analysis of the networks of students who prostrated in front of the imperial palace to express their opinions and a comparison of fourteen memorials submitted by students to the emperor in the first half of 1126, I aim to discuss the extent to which students’ background and social networks relate to their participation in collective actions and diverse political agendas. A close examination of the memorials also reveals that students were highly responsive to the rapidly changing political environment. Such responsiveness, I would argue, owes much to the prevalence of different communication channels that facilitated the circulation of political information among the literati circle.


Dr. Chu Ming Kin is Assistant Professor in the School of Chinese, HKU. Before joining the School in 2017, he had been a Research Assistant Professor in The Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology at Hong Kong Baptist University, a lecturer in the Department of History at Hong Kong Shue Yan University and a postdoctoral research associate at King’s College London and Leiden University. His research interests include political, educational, institutional, social and cultural history in Middle-period China (Five Dynasties, Song and Yuan) and Chinese historiography.



An exchange programme organized by the School of Chinese for undergraduate and postgraduate students will take place during the reading week of March to Silk Road including Dunhuang and Xinjiang. Details of this event are available in the following call circular.


中文學院主辦、敦煌研究所協辦之「大漠孤煙直——絲路•敦煌新疆古道行」旨在善用3月的「閱讀交流周」(Reading & Field-trip week),由中文學院老師帶領同學感受壯闊絲路、親炙浩瀚敦煌。

日期:2018年2月28至3月9日 (農曆年後及Reading Week 10天)
截止報名日期: 2018年1月13日(週六)
查詢:中文學院講師及計劃總監廖舜禧(百週年校園B702室  電話:39175204電郵

[ATTENTION] A new course on “Hong Kong Literature (CHIN2172)”


Hong Kong Literature (CHIN2172)

(1) Two courses code numbers CHIN 2172 and HKGS 2014 are linked to the course of Hong Kong Literature. However, neither double enrollment nor double counting would be considered for this course. Notwithstanding any preceding or subsequent enrollment into CHIN 2172 or HKGS 2014, you will earn only 6 credits by taking this course.

(2) If you are interested in taking this course for fulfilling course requirements for your major or minor in BA-Chinese Language and Literature or BA&BEd (LangEd)-Chin-Chinese Language, Literature and Culture, you may wish to enroll into CHIN 2172, but not HKGS 2014. For any enquiries, please contact the subject teacher Dr. Leung Shuk Man via email at on or before noon, 25 January 2018 (Thursday).

Last updated: 2018/01/23

A new course on “Hong Kong Literature (CHIN2172)” will be offered by the School of Chinese in semester 2 starting from 2017-2018.

For course infromation, please click the link here.