2019W Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture

Tuesday November 5, 2019
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

‘Where Silence Reigns,

Startling Claps of Thunder’


The 2019W Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture
with Dr. Geremie Barmé 白杰明 (Professor Emeritus, Australian National University)

In memory of P.K. Leung 梁秉鈞 (1949-2013).

Photos from the Yip So Man Wat Lecture:

Pictured are L-R: Professor Christopher Rea and Dr. Ross King from UBC Asian Studies dept, with 2019 speaker Dr. Geremie Barmé and donor Chi Shum Watt. Photo: Alex Smyth

Missed this year’s lecture? You can view it along with Dr. Barmé’s presentation here.

Held annually, the Department invites leading scholars to discuss topics in Chinese literature and culture. The 2019 lecture will feature Dr. Geremie Barmé 白杰明 Founding Director Emeritus of the Australian Centre on China in the World and Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University.

From late 2018, China has marked a series of major anniversaries and commemorations.  A century of political, cultural and social upheavals have been brought into sharp focus by tumultuous contemporary events. Today, the past is living in to the present in ways that are significant not only for the ‘Chinese commonwealth’, but also for China in the World.

This lecture — the title of which comes from a poem by the writer Lu Xun (d.1936) — will address the 2018-2019 ‘year of anniversaries’ in the context of ‘Voiceless China’, an expression Lu Xun used when addressing an audience in Hong Kong in 1927. Although today China is anything but voiceless, the 2018-2019 year of anniversaries has passed as much in silence as it has in commemoration.

In the 2019 Wat Lecture, we will introduce some of the voices, or ‘claps of thunder’, that have broken the silence at the two poles of China’s People’s Republic — to the north in Beijing and in Hong Kong far to the south. Like the men and women who demanded to be heard during the clamorous era of the May Fourth Movement, today China’s voices of conscience and resistance are also determined to ‘speak out of turn’.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

6pm Reception with light refreshments
7pm Lecture
Ponderosa Commons Ballroom, 6445 University Boulevard, Vancouver

About the speaker:

Dr. Geremie Barmé 白杰明 is the editor of China Heritage, a journal devoted to history, literature, translation and thought produced under the aegis of The Wairarapa Academy for New Sinology, which he co-founded with John Minford in 2016. He has also worked as a journalist, academic historian, editor, translator and film-maker. During his academic career Barmé founded and edited China Heritage Quarterly (2005-2012) and The China Story (2012-2016), as well as editing East Asian History (from 1990 to 2007). From 2010 to 2015 he was the founding director of The Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University. His An Artistic Exile: The Life of Feng Zikai (1898-1975) was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize in 2004. Other books include Seeds of Fire: Chinese Voices of Conscience (1986; edited with John Minford); New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices (1992; edited with Linda Jaivin); Shades of Mao (1996), In the Red: on contemporary Chinese culture (1999), and The Forbidden City (2008). He has also worked on a number of prize-winning documentary films, including The Gate of Heavenly Peace (Boston: Long Bow Group, 1995), and published two collections of Chinese essays in Hong Kong.


Research Seminar: Intersecting with Eternity

Monday, November 4th, 2019
4pm – 6pm followed by drinks reception
Allard Hall, Room 104, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver

Free & open to the public. Registration required. 

The Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lectures are made possible by the generous support of Messrs. Alex and Chi Shum Watt in honour of their mother, the late Mrs. Wat, and her passion for Chinese literature and culture. Previous speakers have included authors Yu Hua 余华, Leung Ping-kwan 梁秉鈞 (Ye Si 也斯) and Pai Hsien-yung 白先勇, public intellectual Lung Ying-tai 龍應台, Harvard professor David Der-wei Wang 王德威, and Duke professor Rey Chow 周蕾.


Documentary Screening: The Gate of Heavenly Peace and Discussion



Thursday, November 7th, 2019
5:30pm – 10pm
VPL Central Library, 350 West Georgia St, Vancouver

Free & open to the public.

What happened on the day of June 4, 1989 is still a banned topic in China today. On the 30th anniversary year of the Tiananmen Protests, join us for a screening of documentary film The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995), followed by a discussion with filmmaker Professor Geremie R. Barmé 白杰明

Conducted in English and Mandarin.

1989年6月4日的天安門到底發生了甚麼? 三十年後的今天在中國依然是不能公開討論的。1995年製作的《天安門》是一部反映”六四”的大型文獻紀錄片,全長三小時八分鐘,紀錄八九學運五十天內發生的事情,採訪了包括劉曉波、王丹、吾爾開希、韓東方、侯德健等參加者。該片放映後,副導演白潔明教授(Geremie R. Barmé)將與觀眾對談。


More details here.

About the Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture:

The Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lectures are made possible by the generous support of Messrs. Alex and Chi Shum Watt in honour of their mother, the late Mrs. Wat, and her passion for Chinese literature and culture. Please visit the full lecture list here.