Chinese Studies Lecture Series 2018


The Domestication of Cosmopolitanism in Transnational Chinese Masculinities

Derek Hird (Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Lancaster University)

Tuesday, 25 Sept, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh

This talk explores how the impetus of globalization has resulted in the hybridization of Chinese masculinities. As part of a process that Lisa Rofel terms the “domestication of cosmopolitanism”, cosmopolitan desires have become imbricated with other more situated notions and practices of masculinity. Analysis of media representations and interview/ethnographic data reveals four salient trends in the formation of transnational Chinese masculinities: domestication of cosmopolitan and consumerist masculinities within historically embedded discourses; reconciliation of intellectuals with global business masculinities; acceptance of emotionally expressive and caring fatherhood practices; and relative stickiness of hierarchical intimate partner relations. An overarching theme emerges, which is Chinese men’s aspiration to a cosmopolitanism that does not preclude a strong sense of cultural and national Chinese identity. In this talk, I aim to show how Chinese men are forging transnationally inflected identities that draw simultaneously from historical Chinese masculinities and contemporary globally circulating masculinities. In wider perspective, this talk provides a masculinities angle on the fluidity of gender identities and relationships under the socioeconomic conditions of postsocialist China.

Kinky Booties: The Erotics of Shoes in the Ming Novel Jin Ping Mei

Paola Zamperini (Professor, Northwestern University)

Tuesday, 23 Oct, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh  

This presentation explores the layers of meaning attached to shoes, sex, sexuality, and the body in the Ming novel Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase). Shoes in general and female footwear in particular in Plum are integral part of characters’ class, wealth, and sex appeal (or lack thereof), and, as such, are a meaningful site to explore the writing of sex and desire in the world of late imperial Chinese fiction. We will concentrate in particular on one of the three main female protagonists of Plum, Pan Jinlian, whose very name, Pan Golden Lotus, connects her feet first, as it were, into the discourse of sexuality and fashion. Walking in Pan Jinlian’s shoes will, in other words, help us uncover the erotics of shoes, subjectivity, and gender identities in the imaginary of the time.

Understanding China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Jinghan Zeng (Senior Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London)

Tuesday, 13 Nov, 5 – 7 pm, 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh  

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been widely interpreted as Beijing’s masterplan to achieve its geopolitical goals. This talk will explain why this view is mistaken. Is Beijing really in charge of the Belt and Road Initiative? Will the Belt and Road Initiative build a Sino-centric world order? How will the Belt and Road Initiative unfold in the nearly future? How should the British government respond to the Belt and Road Initiative? The talk will discuss these questions in details.

All Welcome! No booking is required.