In the first week of April, the Department of Asian Studies hosted the 2021/22 Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture, featuring guest speaker Dr. Ban Wang of Stanford University. The two-day event (research seminar and main lecture) took place in the Asian Centre at UBC, joined by UBC students, faculty, and alumni, as well as community members and scholars hailing from other educational institutions. The main lecture on April 5 was also live-streamed through YouTube, allowing attendees from all around the world to participate and engage in the discussion.
The main lecture, entitled “Going against the World by Joining It: Modern China’s Quest of Cosmopolitanism” was held on the evening of April 5. Professor Wang led the attendees to a meaningful discussion in the topics of how Chinese modernizers and revolutionaries adopted and revised Western nation-state form, cosmopolitanism, internationalism, and the concept of tianxia (all under heaven) and datong (great unity). Furthermore, the lecture delved into the two ongoing debates: on the embrace of the West vs. aspirations for a common world, and on the difference between liberal cosmopolitanism and socialist internationalism. Following Professor Wang’s presentation, a lively Q&A session was held where both attendees in-person and joining from online got the chance to bring their thoughts to the table and ask questions.
In conjunction with the main lecture, the research seminar entitled “Lu Xun’s Critique of Techno-Scientific Modernity” was held the day before the main lecture and was mainly joined by graduate students, faculty and community members who have a strong interest in the Chinese studies. At the research seminar, attendees read and discussed Lu Xun’s essay “Toward a Refutation of Malevolant Voices”, and stories “Mending Heaven, and “Curbing the Flood” in conjunction with Ban Wang’s essay, “Lu Xun as a Mytho-Ecological Writer” inspired by Lu Xun.
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.
We would like to thank our attendees, organizers, and volunteers who have made this event possible.