Yearly Archives: 2009

Guest Lecture Eric Schwitzgebel – January 2010

Event Date: 19/01/2010

Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Riverside will present a talk entitled `An Empirical Perspective on the Mencius-Xunzi Debate about Human Nature`

Mencius and Xunzi were two of the early followers of Confucius with polarised opinions on the essential nature of humankind.
Our speaker, Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy at University of California at Riverside, is a prolific writer and a popular and accessible speaker. His areas of interest include philosophy of psychology; philosophy of mind; cognitive development; philosophy of science; classical Chinese philosophy; epistemology; perceptual and cognitive psychology; and metaphilosophy.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland is delighted to have secured him to present this talk on Tuesday 19 January in the Confucius Institute from 6pm. To reserve a seat please email

This talk while self-contained is linked to a seminar by Eric Schwitzgebel on the following evening, Wed 20 January. This will be held in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. Entitled `The Moral Behavior of Ethics Professors: Empirical Evidence`

Three Times a Winner

For the third year running, the Confucius Institute for Scotland has received an award of excellence for its work.

Professor Gentz, Director of the Institute, received this third award at the 2009 Fourth Worldwide Conference of Confucius Institutes in Beijing, chaired by the State Councillor Chen Zhili and the Minister of Education Yuan Guiren.

This Award is given to 20 Institutes from the 282 Institutes worldwide in recognition of their outstanding performance. Among them only the Confucius Institute for Scotland has received the award three times in a row which marks it as the most successful Confucius Institute worldwide.

Among the various activities of the Institute to promote engagement between Scotland and China across education, business and culture in 2009, was the spectacular performance by the Beijing Film Academy during the Fringe Festival in the McEwan Hall, a programme of 60 days marking the 60th anniversary of the PRC comprising of lectures, dance performance, a student career networking day, as well as activities at Aberdeen and across Scotland. The Institute has also begun to deliver video conference teaching of Chinese language in collaboration with UHI.

Three Times a Winner

China 60@60 – October – November 2009

A special programme of events arranged and supported by the Confucius Institute for Scotland to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the PRC has seen `house full` signs for our special lecture series, appreciative audiences for dance and music events, an international business conference, a student/business networking event and still to come, debates on China in schools across Scotland.

China’s Economic Transformation-Lecture – November 2009

Dr Felix Boecking, University of Edinburgh will present `Understanding China`s Economic Transformation` the last in our series of special PRC at 60 lectures series.

In the last three decades, the People’s Republic of China has experienced a successful market transition with impressively high GDP growth rates. As average incomes have risen dramatically, hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. Equally important is China’s new position as a key player in today’s world economy. However, the increased social inequality and environmental depredation associated with economic reforms in the PRC raise the question of their sustainability. In this talk, Dr Boecking will trace some of the key features of China’s economic development since 1978, and consider the question of China’s economic future.

Felix Boecking is Lecturer in Modern Chinese Economic and Political History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests focus on China’s political economy in its historical context, as well as material culture and consumption in 20th-century China. Felix’s PhD thesis “Tariffs, Power, Nationalism and Modernity: Fiscal Policy in Guomindang-Controlled China 1927-1941” fundamentally challenged the widespread idea that the key to the Communist seizure of power in China lies in the incompetence of the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-shek (1927-1949) by demonstrating the strength of Nationalist state-building in the crucial area of taxation and fiscal policy.

This lecture will take place in the Raeburn Room, Old College, North Bridge starting at 6pm. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

While bookings for this lecture have closed standby places are available to those without tickets from 6pm

China’s Rise in Africa-Lecture – November 2009

Professor Ian Taylor, University of St Andrews is our fifth speaker in the PRC at 60 Lecture Series.

China`s rise in Africa is arguably the most momentous development on the continent since the end of the Cold War. China is now Africa’s second most important bilateral trading partner, behind only the United States, with Sino-African trade hitting over $100 billion in 2008 (up from $5 billion in 1997). Yet this rise has been met with some criticism in the West and in Africa. This lecture seeks to discuss whether such scepticism is wholly justified.

Ian Taylor is Professor in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews’ School of International Relations and a Professor Extraordinary in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He is also Honorary Professor in the Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University, China and Joint Professor in the Centre for European Studies, Renmin University of China. He is interested primarily in Africa`s political economy and its international relations and in Chinese foreign policy. These two strands come together in an extensive body of work, conducted since 1994, on China`s emerging relationships with Africa. Ian Taylor’s most recent books include China’s New Role in Africa (2009) and China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise (London Routledge, 2006).

This lecture will take place in the Raeburn Room, Old College, North Bridge starting at 6pm. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

While booking for this lecture has now closed standby places are available from 6pm on a first come, first served basis.

China-Nigeria Relations: A Chinese Perspective – November 2009

Event Date: 11/11/2009

Dr. Li Wengang, a visiting fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences will present a lunchtime seminar entitled, `China-Nigeria Relations: A Chinese perspective` on Wed 11 Nov 2009.

The seminar begins at 1300 and the venue is Seminar Room 5, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square. All are welcome.

Dr. Li Wengang is on sabbatical with the Centre of African Studies from the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

For more information please email

Public Lecture: The Open Door, Edinburgh – November 2009

Event Date: 04/11/2009

Professor Natascha Gentz, Director of the Confucius Institute, will give a talk on `The influence of Confucianism on China and the modern world` at the Open Door, Morningside Road, Edinburgh on Wed 4 Nov 10.30-11.30.

Professor Gentz studied in Germany at Heidelberg University, where she took her MA (1994) and PhD (1998) degrees. She has also studied and conducted research at Fudan University, Shanghai (1988-1990), People’s University, Beijing (1995-6), and Tokyo University (1997).

After the completion of her PhD she was engaged in research projects and teaching in the Chinese Departments at Heidelberg University and Göttingen University.

Appointed as a junior professor at Frankfurt University in 2002, she moved to the University of Edinburgh to take up the post of Chair of Chinese in May 2006. In addition to her directorship of the Institute she is Head of Asian Studiea and also Dean International, China in the University of Edinburgh.

PRC at 60: The China Challenge: Models, Visions and Global Futures – October 2009

In this the fourth of six lectures in the `PRC at 60` series, Professor Jane Duckett`s topic is `The China Challenge: Models, Visions and Global Futures.`

China`s economic power and global influence have led commentators to suggest that it has a model of development and modernity that will challenge the West`s. This lecture looks at the models that China has embraced since 1949 and considers both their origins and very different economic and social outcomes. It argues that having rejected both Maoism and neoliberalism, China may now be at an important crossroads. As it reconsiders its development strategy its government has the opportunity to forge a new model. But will it have the vision and will to overcome formidable opposition?

Jane Duckett is Professor of Chinese and Comparative Politics in the Department of Politics at the University of Glasgow. She studied modern Chinese at Leeds University in the 1980s, and Chinese politics at SOAS, University of London, in the early 1990s. She first lived in China in 1984 and has travelled widely there. Her early work on the Chinese state under market reform included a book-length study, The Entrepreneurial State in China (Routledge 1998). Jane also (with Bill Miller) made a comparative study of public attitudes to economic openness in East Asia and Eastern Europe, published as The Open Economy and its Enemies (Cambridge, 2006). Her current research is concerned with China’s social and health policy and politics. She is now completing two books, The Chinese State`s Retreat from Health, and (with Beatriz Carrillo) China`s Changing Welfare Mix.

All lectures in the PRC at 60 series are fully booked. Standby places are offered to those without tickets subject to spaces being spaces due to no-shows.

Public Lecture: Opening Pandora`s Box – October 2009

In this third lecture of the `PRC at 60` series, Professor Natascha Gentz, University of Edinburgh will lecture on Opening Pandora`s Box: the Cultural Revolution and its repercussions on the ‘Reform and Opening Period’ of the 1980s.`

The Cultural Revolution (1966-76) has been described as a period of `ten chaotic years`. All governmental efforts after the death of Mao Zedong aimed at reuniting society and encouraging contribution to the new opening and reform policy. The lecture will discuss the intricacies involved in this process and why the Cultural Revolution still poses problems for Chinese society today.

Natascha Gentz is Professor of Chinese Studies in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh. Her publications include a monograph on the history Chinese journalism and two edited volumes, on transcultural knowledge transfer in Late Qing China, and on how global media are shaping cultural identities. She has also published a book on contemporary Chinese historical drama as well as dozens of articles on Late Qing and contemporary Chinese drama, literature and media. She has also translated a novel and two volumes of short stories by the Chinese nobel laureate Gao Xingjian.

This lecture will take place in the Raeburn Room, Old College, North Bridge starting at 6pm. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

All lectures in the PRC at 60 series are fully booked. Standby places are offered to those without tickets subject to spaces being spaces due to no-shows.

Dr Kimho Ip – Lunchtime Seminar – October 2009

Dr Kimho Ip, musical curator at the Confuicus Institute for Scotland, will examine one of his latest compositions `Requiem for Travellers` in this lunchtime seminar.

`Requiem for Travellers` will be examined as a symbol and model for the process of translocation of cultural identity.

The talk takes place on Friday 23rd October from 1.10pm-2.00pm in the Conference Room at 27 George Square. No booking is required.

Kimho Ip works as a composer, director, cellist and Yangqin performer. He has worked extensively with the Confucius Institute for Scotland since its opening. In addition to organising various musical recitals and concerts, he also is involved in the promotion of Chinese music and instrumentation to schools and the wider community in conjunction with the Institute.

In 1997 he received a fellowship from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) which enabled him to study composition in Germany. With the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship and the Composers & Authors Society of Hong Kong Fellowship he furthered his study and research in Edinburgh and London.

Ensembles which have performed his works include the Edinburgh String Quartet, Emperor String Quartet, Shanghai New Ensemble, the Paragon Internationals, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Bach Choir and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

He composed the music for `Spirit: A Chinese Lantern Festival` the opening event for China Now in Scotland and he performs regularly both solo and with other musicians in China, London, Edinburgh and elsewhere.

To visit Kimho`s own iMAP (Intercultural Music & Arts Project) website please click here. To sample some of Kimho`s compositions and collaborations click here.