Talk by Professor Anne Cheng

You are all invited
to a talk in English
Professor Anne Cheng
Chair in Intellectual History of China
Collège de France
Confucianism and the Concept of Greater China
Date : 10 April 2015 (Friday)
Time : 10:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m
Venue : ICS Seminar Room, 5th Floor, Za’ba Memorial Library Building, University of Malaya. Click here for map
Organizers : The Embassy of France in Malaysia, University of Malaya - Institute of China Studies & Malaysia France University Centre


Chinese universality is inseparable from a certain idea of civilization, informed mostly by Confucian sources, with a centre shining upon surrounding regions, and upon which the reality of imperial power superimposed itself. The geographical embodiment of this shining force is what is commonly called the sinicized world, which includes the entire East Asian region surrounding China itself, composed of cultures which have been influenced by China to different extents and at different moments in history. Conversely, each time China itself was encroached upon, invaded or occupied by “barbarians”, it was always assumed that the latter would end up being transformed, and adopt Chinese civilization. Imperial China thus depicted itself not only as the centre of the world but also as a sort of “civilization-world”, and it was not until the second half of the nineteenth century, under attack from Western powers, that it had to consider itself as being a nation amongst others. It is the same universality of “China as a world” which, after having been jeopardized by colonial powers at the end of the nineteenth century, is once again becoming a type of nostalgic self-representation and a unifying factor in the predominant ideology of a “Greater China”.

About the Speaker

Professor Anne Cheng was born in Paris in 1955 to Chinese parents, Anne Cheng was educated in the French state school system, focusing on classics and European language and literature, until she entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure, where she opted to devote herself exclusively to Chinese studies. For almost thirty years she has been involved in teaching and research on the intellectual history of China and Confucianism in particular, initially at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), then at INALCO (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations), before her appointment to the Institut universitaire de France and her recent election to the Collège de France.

She has written a French translation of the Analects of Confucius (Entretiens de Confucius, Seuil, "Points-Sagesses", 1981), a history of Confucianism in the early Imperial Era and a history of Chinese thought (Histoire de la pensée chinoise, Seuil, 1997, reprinted in paperback by "Points-Essais" in 2002), which has already been translated into several languages. She has also edited several joint publications, including the recently published La pensée en Chine aujourd’hui (Gallimard, 2007).


As the Institute of China Studies is located in a library building, seminar participants are advised not to bring in any briefcases or bags to avoid possible delay caused by the usual necessary library bag checks, or having to leave the bags or briefcases outside the library entrance. Please come in through the main entrance of the Za’ba Library. Also, please refrain from parking outside a parking bay to avoid having your vehicle clamped by campus security. (In case of serious parking problem, please call our office for assistance: 03-79565663, 03-79561695 or 03-79588173) Please do not hesitate to contact us for inquiry and to confirm your attendance.

Latest modification 03/04/2015

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