European Studies SMLC HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU
HomeAbout UsStaffProgrammeResearchNews & EventsLinksContact Us

News & Events

Talk: The Holistic Ideal of the Humanities and Religious Revelation: Linguistic-Cultural Diaspora or a New Universality?
Speaker: Prof. William Franke, Vanderbilt University
This paper proposes an epistemology of the humanities which places knowledge into a framework of 'revelation' in both a literary and a theological sense. Classics of literature such as the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Augustine, and Dante present whole visions of human life and the cosmos in relation to a transcendent and divine order. Such totalizing aesthetic visions have been severely censured in recent criticism, particularly in the wake of Walter Benjamin, yet a universal vision, open without restriction to others and even to a transcendent Other, can also be discerned in principle in these founding texts of Western civilization. This vision connects with a new sense of universality based on 'revelation' of singularity that is not rationally masterable or categorically definable, in a critical perspective deriving from Franz Rosenzweig and currently being pursued by the likes of Eric Santner, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Zizek. This perspective provides a basis for extending general humanities education from founding texts of Western civilization into global dialogue with their counterparts in other, especially Eastern cultures.
Research Colloquium: Man in the modern world: the paradoxical existence in the works of Italo Calvino.
Speaker: Miss Jenny Wong
In the age of cybernetic, contemporary man experiences an ever greater degree of alienation with himself, the society and the universe. The Italian writer, Italo Calvino, characterised this phenomenon as “laceration” or “dimezzato” in Italian. The aim of this study is to highlight Calvino’s response to this challenge. With the assistance of some of his work, both fiction and non-fiction, I will demonstrate how man is getting increasingly perplexed and mutilated in this labyrinth-like world, and how literature acts as an important instrument in mapping the world, thus aiding our understanding in the man-universe relationship and the possibility of a hidden order in which harmony can be found.
Seminar: “We are victims, aren’t we?” Self-victimizing nationalism as an obstacle to Sino-Japanese reconciliation
Speaker: Martin Chung Chi-Kei, PhD. Candidate
In late 2010, anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese protests erupted in Japan and China respectively. The ostensible “cause” was the sovereignty dispute over Diao Yu Tai/Senkaku Islands (釣魚台/尖閣諸島), which few, if any, of the protesters, have actually seen with their own eyes or personally set foot on. What does this tell us about the state (and the problems) of the relationship between the Japanese and the Chinese? What are the predominant perceptions and misperceptions? Are there common characteristics among them? How can comparative research bring in new perspectives that may point to new ways of talking about the myriad of issues?
Talk: Sex and the City : German Culture after the Fall of the Wall
Speaker: Prof. Sander L. Gilman
After reunification in 1990 the new Germany sought models to reestablish itself in an imagine “world culture.” The talk will look at three moments in fiction, film, and popular science where German culture suddenly became of interest to global culture and the models — for good or for ill — that dominated these successful post-Wall creations.
Research Colloquium: The Spirit of Repentance - A German-Jewish Legacy in Postwar Europe
Speaker: Martin CHUNG Chi-Kei, PhD. Candidate
Following the speaker's previous research on the historiography of "postwar Europe", in which he argued that the predominant "interest-driven" paradigm does not lend itself readily to the observation and narration of historical changes such as "repentance" and "reconciliation", this talk will focus on building an historiographic principle (while applying it at the same time, albeit tentatively) based on biblical conceptions of "repentance" in the German-Jewish context, namely, repentance as "mutual turning", "repentant disagreement" and the "triad of repentance". Selected historical specificities will be cited to demonstrate the correspondence (in appearance) between such manifestations and their source conceptions.
Conference: The Power to Heal - Ways and Obstacles to Collective Reconciliation in Eastern and Western Traditions
From 13th to 15th January, 2011, the School of Modern Languages and Cultures of the University of Hong Kong will be hosting an interdisciplinary conference on “collective reconciliation”. Participants are coming from different academic disciplines and backgrounds ranging from areas studies to Eastern philosophy, from literature to international relations, to sociology and theology, united only by the shared research focus on the problems of reconciliation among nations, ethnic groups and religions in the East and in the West. Major themes of the conference revolve around the problems of reconciliation in East Asia, the problems of German-Jewish reconciliation after the Shoah, and how these might shed light on the related problems in contemporary China.
Talk: Britain in the 1960s: Happy Days or Prelude to a Long Road down?
Speaker: Mr. Terence Yeung
The social and cultural revolution of the 1960s was a crucial turning point in modern British history. In his talk, Terence Yeung tracks the transformation of British society in the 1960s and examines its impact on the way Britain has come to understand itself and its role in the world.
Talk: Beyond the Gulag - Solzhenitsyn and Dissent in the Soviet Union
Speaker: Prof. Brian Bridges, Head of Dept of Political Science, Lingnan University,
Seminar: European and Chinese thoughts on diplomacy, statecraft and international law
Spearker: Dr. Wang Li, Nankai University
After a period of self-isolation in the 1960s, China has once again shown its eagerness hence to modernize along Western lines and to be a part of the international political order. Indeed China’s modernization and its internationalization are intrinsically connected. However, it is also the case that the international order finds itself deeply in need of China's presence and cooperation. In this talk my central question will be: How can China involve itself peacefully in global politics? I will argue that the answer to that very much depends on the attitude of Western powers to the rise of China. My argument takes into account China's humiliation in the late 19th and 20th century at the hands of Western powers and the changing conditions which make China’s participation in the international order so important.
Seminar: Creating a Colonial Home: Domesticity in the East Asian Colonies
Speaker: Dr. Laura Victoir
Talk: One Woman, ‘Five Lives’ - A Trajectory through 20th Century German Art, Politics and Pop
Speaker: Prof. Werner Hess, Professor of German Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
Conference: Harmony and Order vs. Spontaneity and Revolt in Eastern and Western Philosophies
While all lives and social formations involve degrees of harmony and order vs. spontaneity and revolt, their respective significance and how to adequately combine them is an ongoing question full of important personal, political, economic and social implications. Confucianism and Pragmatism are, inter alia, attempts to integrate contradictory forces and novel experiences in order to achieve the goal of harmony and order within an environment.
International Research Workshop: The Built Environment of East Asian Colonial Coastal Cities: 1840-1925
Participants conducting innovative research in comparative urban planning, architectural history, cultural geography and colonial history will examine the complexities surrounding the rapid transformation of architecture and space of China and Indochina’s coastal regions, predominantly affected by European, but also Japanese and American intervention. The focus is to explore spaces of power, trade, communication, education, transportation, public health, as well as visions of empire, class and race.
Talk: Leadership and Diplomacy in European Integration
Speaker: Dr Roland Vogt
The seminar explores the interrelation of political leadership and diplomacy in the context of postwar European integration. It analyses the extent to which specific constellations of leaders shaped the critical junctures of the integration process. It also highlights how current dynamics constrain the exercise of political leadership at the European level and how this is likely to impact on future developments in Europe.
Conference: Revolutions - Finished and Unfinished, From Primal to Final
In Out of Revolution, an extraordinary account of the history of European revolutions, the German émigré social philosopher and sociologist Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy argued that the European nations were the products of revolutions, and that the European revolutions formed a sequential relationship in that “the pedigree of revolutions shows that each tried to realize one neglected or imperilled potentiality of the life-cycle, and stressed its importance by establishing one great national institution to take care of the reproduction of these special processes and types. Each Revolution started permanent cultural processes to mould a specific character out of plastic humanity.
Seminar: The Radical New Speech Thinking Paradigm of Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
Speaker: Dr. Wayne Cristaudo
Franz Rosenzweig is the most important figure of German Jewry between the World Wars, and, along with Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, one of the most important Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. His decision to embrace his Jewish faith and develop a philosophy in which the West could appreciate its dependency upon Judaism and Christianity was inspired by his best friend and teacher, the far less well known, 'Christian' friend Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. In this talk, Dr. Cristaudo will discuss what they called the New Thinking or Speech Thinking. He will contrast this paradigm with the post '68 paradigm, a paradigm devoted to the identification and elimination of all forms of social fascism. Dr. Cristaudo will argue that Rosenzweig and Rosenstock-Huessy's insights into social formation and their Jewish and Christian socio-historico-anthropology is particularly pertinent to the break-down of the Cold War period, at a time when peoples are increasingly reflecting upon the important role that their religious legacies have played in shaping their identity.
EUST footer